Published: 02nd February 2023
Union Budget 2023-24: What do experts opine about allocation for education sector?
The budget was criticised by experts because they felt that it overlooked several important issues in the education sector
Reactions to the education and child-centric portions of the Union Budget have been mixed, as a few termed it as disappointing and lacking. Experts criticised the budget, stating that it failed to recognise several key issues in the education sector.
Development educationist and Chief Convenor of the People's Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education, Niranjanaradhya VP, said that the budget failed to recognise the Right to Education (RTE) as a fundamental right.
"While the finance minister acknowledges the importance of quality education, she has failed to allocate a fair budget to realise the same. The pandemic has disproportionately affected the education of children from marginalised communities, especially girls and the system is yet to recover from the learning deprivation. Though the Budget speech acknowledges the pandemic-era learning loss and proposes a programme to build the culture of reading, what is distressing is that instead of looking at learning loss from a holistic learning process through systemic reforms by providing substantial budget allocation to address the situation, it proposes for mere reading culture as a knee-jerk response," he opined stated a report by The New Indian Express.
Meanwhile, he also pointed out that the percentage of GDP spent on education has remained static at 2.9%, while enrolment in government schools declined and teacher posts remain vacant. "The current budget, instead of addressing this burning issue which weakens the system by paving way for privatisation and commercialisation of education, the finance minister proposes to appoint 38,000 teachers for Eklavya Model Residential Schools in the next three years as against 12.5 lakh teachers' vacancies in government schools across the country, where children from marginalised sections learn," he said.
"At the outset, this budget did not bring in anything significantly new for education. The big-bang items portrayed as highlights for the sector can only be looked at as merely maintaining the status quo and, by extension, can be seen as no major vision/effort being put in to improve the education sector. The few activities announced, in terms of Digital Library, youth skilling and revamped teacher training are ongoing activities and cannot be expected to revolutionise the field," said Manek Daruvala, Founder and Director, Triumphant Institute of Management Education (T.I.M.E).
However, a few also pointed out the positives of the budget. "The Indian education system has always struggled with the non-availability of quality teachers. The current thrust on recruiting many teachers and creating a sustainable teachers' training programme, equipping them with multilateral skills, will go a long way in improving the quality of education in Indian schools," said Jai Decosta, Founder and CEO of K12 Techno Services, as reported by The New Indian Express.