On February 01, nearly six months after the New Education Policy 2020 was unveiled by the Government of India, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2021. What the Budget entails for the Education Sector would be interesting to note after the unfurling of the NEP 2020 and post Covid-19 world.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned of an 'Educational Catastrophe' injected by the Coronavirus, one that affected 94% of the world’s student population, nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries, according to the UNESCO data. Thus, in the field of education, Budget 2021 holds key significance as the education sector was one of the worst-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Let's take a look at some of the key highlights.
Budget 2021 Allocation for Education:
In the 2020 Budget, an amount of Rs 99,300 crore was earmarked for the Education sector. However, in the Union Budget 2021, this amount has been lowered to a 6.1 percent lower allocation of Rs 93,224.31 as compared to last year.
Expenditure in Various Government Schemes:
The allocation of budget to the Mid-day scheme has gone down to Rs. 11500 crores from the last year's allocation amount of Rs. 12900 crores.
Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan:
Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan is the government’s flagship program to promote school education. The allocation for this scheme has also dropped to Rs. 31,050 crores from Rs. 38,751 crores in the last year.
National Education Mission:
The budget for this scheme, which includes teacher education as well, is down to 31300.16 crores from the revised budget of Rs 38860.50 crores.
Implementation of the NEP:
In line with the NEP implementation, the Finance Minister proposed that, in the initial stage, 15000 schools will be strengthened.
Furthermore, in collaboration with NGOs and private organizations, 100 new Sainik schools will be set up.
Other Important Highlights:
For the development of students under SC/ST categories, the government will set up 750 Ekalavya residential schools in the Tribal Areas. The fund allocated for the same is Rs. 20 crores and for Hilly areas, it is Rs. 48 crores. Till 2026, a total of Rs. 35219 crore is allocated for the welfare of SC students for 6 years.
It will also set up a Higher Education Commission that would be responsible for the accreditation and regular funding of the Colleges and Universities. This commission would be entrusted with the task of bringing better synergy to the institutions. A central university would also be established in Leh for the purpose of making higher education accessible to the Ladakh region.
In the Budget 2021, a sum of Rs. 50,000 has been earmarked for the setting up of a National Research Foundation for over the 6 years. The foundation would be an umbrella body that would be responsible to conduct research across several disciplines, bolstering the overall research infrastructure of the country.
The government is also set to collaborate with UAE for skill development and deployment on successful completion of courses as the realigning of apprenticeship for students from Diploma in Engineering has received the allocation of Rs. 3000 crore.
Emphasizing the creation of content and its delivery in various regional languages, National Language Translation Mission will translate policy-related information available on the internet in regional languages.
To support teaching and learning activities by strengthening a digital infrastructure, a National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) will be set up, promoting a digital-first mindset.
The senior and retired teachers will act as mentors of school teachers and educators and will provide constant online and offline support to them on subjects, themes, and pedagogy.
Tell us in the comment section, what do you think about the budget allocation for education, especially with the new National Education Policy? Also, tell us your opinion on how it will impact the current quality of schooling?
Udisha Srivastav is currently working as a Content Writer with MakeShift.