Thursday, February 13, 2014

Centre slashes Rs 900cr education grant to state

Centre slashes Rs 900cr education grant to state

Sruthy Susan Ullas, TNN Nov 18, 2013, 02.50AM IST

BANGALORE: Karnataka could open no new schools this year. There are no new classrooms being built. Children are not going on tours and taking part in adventure sports. Teachers are not getting grants to buy teaching material. If Rs 3,000 was spent on each special child last year, it's Rs 1,200 now.
All because the Centre says there's a fund crunch.
Karnataka was sanctioned just Rs 1,182 crore this year when the Project Approval Board had okayed Rs 2,064 last year - a cut of Rs 882 crore. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had no choice but to scrap many programmes. Among them were funds for girls, teachers and special children.
Karnataka wanted five new schools, upgrade 17 schools while other schools needed additional classrooms and maintenance. Everything is in limbo due to the funds crunch.
Also badly hit was teacher training -- programmes were reduced from 20 days to seven days. While Rs 3,000 was spent on every teacher till last year, it was slashed to Rs 700 and the Rs 500 teacher grant meant for training material was scrapped.
Innovative programmes affected were taking children to zilla darshan and agri darshan, sports, adventure camps and nature study. Every district would get Rs 50 lakh for these programmes. Computer education also came to a standstill when Rs 50 lakh allotted for it per district was denied to the state.
The special thrust for girls' education through the National Programme for Girls in Elementary School also is hit. This included providing vocational skills, setting up clubs and organizing neighbourhood visits.
While the unit cost for every special child in the state was Rs 3,000, it was brought down to Rs 1,200 this year. Karnataka has 1,27,553 special children in its programmes. SSA has managed not to let the fund crunch affect activities meant for these children. Instead, the change was made in the source that pays the salary for special educators.
What's taken a hit
Rs 3,000 spent on every teacher till last year down to Rs 700
Rs 500 teacher grant meant for training material scrapped
Children's educational trips, adventure camps hit
Computer education grant stalled
Rs 3000 for each special student slashed to Rs 1,200
No new govt schools
Expertspeak
* Right to Education is a social legislation. Unless there's financial backup, it cannot take off. That the Centre has reduced its funds is a very negative development. It's a violation of the Act in many ways. It can cause hindrance to the entire implementation of the Act and the quality of education in the state. Even the meagre Rs 500 that teachers were getting as grant was useful as they were coming up with innovative ways of teaching This is so disheartening.
VP Niranjanaradhya | Fellow and Programme Head for Universalisation of Equitable Quality Education Programme,
Centre for Child and the Law, NLSIU
* It will not just affect the quality but also momentum of change. When there is a new programme like continuous and comprehensive evaluation, teachers need to be trained. For something started last year, the reduction in funds can affect quality badly. Now, there is greater excuse for not getting things done. Every state now has to look at innovative ways of raising funds, including approaching corporates, donors and others.
Maya Menon | co-founder, Teacher Foundation

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