Budget 2021: Over six per cent drop in allocation despite ambitious plans for education sector

In her budget speech, Sitharaman proposed 15,000 schools be converted to “exemplar schools” in the next fiscal and added that 100 Sainik schools will be established.

Published: 02nd February 2021 05:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd February 2021 09:49 AM   |  A+A-

Schools, Students, COVID-19

A municipal worker sanitises a classroom as per COVID-19 norms. (File Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Nine cities will have a higher education cluster each for better coordination among institutions and aiding collective growth without infringing their individual autonomy, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Monday.

In the Budget 2021-22, a sum of Rs 93,224 crore was proposed for the Ministry of Education of which Rs 54,874 crore is for the Department of School Education and Literacy and Rs 38,350 crore for the Department of Higher Education.

The budget proposed for the crucial ministry in social sector is over 6 per cent lesser than last year when the government committed Rs 99,312 crore and later revised to Rs 85,089 crore.

In her budget speech, Sitharaman proposed 15,000 schools be converted to “exemplar schools” in the next fiscal and added that 100 Sainik schools will be established in collaboration with private players.

The minister also reiterated a proposal to create a higher education commission by merging education regulators to oversee standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding.

For higher education in Ladakh, the Centre proposed to set up a central university at Leh.

As per the proposal in the budget, the National Professional Standards for Teachers will be developed to set standards for school teachers and is expected to impact around 92 lakh teachers currently in public and private schools.

In a boost to education for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities, 750 Eklavya model residential schools will be set up at tribal areas for which the cost of each facility will be increased to Rs 38 crore. For schools in hilly and difficult areas, the unit cost will be Rs 48 crore.

The government has also decided to provide central assistance of Rs 35,219 crore for the Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for students from scheduled castes for six years or till 2025-26.

It has also allocated Rs 3,000 crore for apprenticeship initiatives and opportunities for graduates and diploma holders in engineering and a National Digital Educational Architecture will be set up to support teaching and learning activities.

“The digital architecture set up under this will also help in educational planning, governance and administrative activities of the Centre and the states,” said Sitharaman.

The Centre will work on standardising Indian sign language across the country and develop curriculum to be used in this language. Under the National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers for Holistic Advancement (NISTHA), 56 lakh school teachers will be trained digitally in 2021-22.

The CBSE Board exams reforms will be introduced in a phased manner from 2022-23 and students will be tested on conceptual clarity, analytical skills and application of knowledge, she said. 


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