Karnataka budget 2023: Many long-standing demands of education sector met

In order to address learning deficiencies in the state, Rs 80 crore has been allotted for the implementation of the Kalika Balavardhane programme
File photo of Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah | (Pic: EdexLive)
File photo of Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah | (Pic: EdexLive)

Despite a decrease in the budget allocation towards education, the February 2023 state budget presented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has addressed several long-standing appeals, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

The education sector accounted for 11 per cent of the state budget, with a total of Rs 37,587 crore allocated across both the higher education and school education sectors. Compared to the last state budget presented by then Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, it has dropped by 1 per cent, with the last budget accounting for 12 per cent, or Rs 37,960 crore of the budget. However, the allocation towards school education has doubled from the previous budget.

Long-standing demands addressed
Experts opine that the budget has addressed several long-standing demands made over the last two years, including the development of schools and universities, especially for UVCE, addressing learning difficulties and reinstating scholarships. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also stated that measures are being taken to drop alleged controversial content added to the textbooks last year by the previous government.

While presenting the state budget on Friday, July 7, Siddaramaiah announced separate funds for renovating and developing government classrooms across the state. The funds, amounting to a total of Rs 850 crore, will go towards renovating dilapidated and rain-damaged buildings, construction of new classrooms in schools and pre-university colleges, and building new toilet complexes.

Attention to midday meal
Meanwhile, the Midday Meal Scheme (MMS) will be extended to Classes IX and X, which previously only catered up to Class VIII. In addition, students will once again be served supplementary nutrition through eggs, peanut chikki or bananas twice a week, instead of once. Two weeks ago, due to budget constraints, the distribution had temporarily been reduced to once a week.

“It is an encouraging budget for education, as it prioritises many things, especially with innovating labs and renovating classrooms. However, more needs to be done to extend the egg, chikki and banana distribution to five days, rather than just two,” said Dr VP Niranjanaradhya.

In order to address learning deficiencies in the state, Rs 80 crore has been allotted for the implementation of the Kalika Balavardhane programme, as well as an additional programme called Marusinchana, to help students with learning deficiencies prepare for secondary level examinations.

“Disruption of education systems during the pandemic had disproportionately affected the students with long-lasting implications. The decision to address learning deficiencies in children and prepare students for secondary level examinations through a special programme will be helpful to address this concern,” said Shweta Sastri, MD, Canadian International School.

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