Thursday, March 6, 2014

Education Sector Scores Big With Rs 21K Crore Allocation

Education Sector Scores Big With Rs 21K Crore Allocation

Published: 15th February 2014 09:48 AM
Last Updated: 15th February 2014 09:48 AM
The education sector has got the highest allocation for any domain in this year’s State Budget presented on Friday, with Rs 21,305 crore set apart for it.
The allocation is Rs 2,639 crore more than that in the 2013-14 budget. Primary and secondary education has been the biggest beneficiary, having received Rs 17,425 crore of the total outlay. Additionally, the primary education sector is expected to benefit from a slew of innovative measures in the next academic year.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also announced that importance would be given to improve infrastructure and quality at government schools and colleges. To provide quality education, the government has proposed to fill all vacant faculty posts at government primary schools (9,405 vacancies), high schools (1,137) and Pre-university colleges (1,130 vacancies).
The government will set up education quality monitoring cells under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan at a cost of Rs 2 crore to enhance the quality of education.
Experts Unhappy
Despite the declarations, education experts are apparently unhappy with the Budget provisions. Dr VP Niranjanardhya, fellow and programme head for Universalisation of  Equitable Quality Education Programme , Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, said, “The Budget in relation to school education is highly disappointing and lacks perspective. It does not propose any concrete steps to address the present inequalities and stratification.”
He claimed no measures have been proposed to curb increasing privatisation and commercialisation.
Even government education officials were not enthusiastic about the budgetary provisions.
“The Primary and Secondary Education Department has the highest number of employees and needs at least Rs 10,000 crore to pay salaries,” a senior official said.
However, the officials agreed that most proposals given to the government had been taken up in the  Budget.
While it has been allocated Rs 3,880 crore, the Higher Education Department is expected to benefit mostly from a host of innovative proposals.
This includes plans for a Central university under the Rashtriya Uchathar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) at Karwar and a centre of excellence for skill development at Dandeli which will be established with the help of Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU).
The government is also instituting awards for 30 best teacher and best researchers with prize money of Rs50,000 and Rs 1 lakh.
Lauding the plans, Prof M S Thimmappa, former Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University, said, “For the first time, higher education has got more importance in the Budget. The awards for best teachers and researchers are welcome and will motivate faculty members to improve quality.”
H-K Region Gets Spl Mention
The government has earmarked many new education programmes to the Hyderbad-Karnataka region. To promote economically-backward students, a new programme will be implemented with the help of Hyderabad-Karnataka Area Development Board. Gnana Kendras at 250 Grama Panchayats will be set up at the region under MGNREGS.
A special programme to make learning of mathematics easy for Class 4 and 5 students will be launched in partnership with the Akshara Foundation.
Siddu Fails on Laptop Promise
The CM has failed to deliver on his promise to provide free laptops for PU students in the State Budget. The promise, one among a slew of assurances in the Governor’s address to the joint legislature house, would have put an additional burden of over `600 crore on the state exchequer, which is already weighed down by subsidies to the tune of over `15,000 crore.  Instead, a scheme providing free laptops for just SC/ST students pursuing engineering, medicine, journalism and doctoral studies has been incorporated.

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