‘More funds needed for edu sector’

Pranita Roy & Prajakta Joshi
Thursday, 31 January 2019

“India has seen unrest among youths due to education and employment opportunities. The State has offered a solution through quota, but this is not really the solution.” said Mukund Kirdat, education activist.

PUNE: Skill development, teachers training institutes, sports universities and creation of skilled manpower are some of the budget expectations of experts from the education sector in the city. 

They feel last year’s Union Budget 2018-19 failed to live up to their expectations and the budget allocation for the education sector has declined over the years, affecting its quality. 

Experts said there is a need to strengthen skill development, teachers’ training facilities, opportunities in education and employment which can be possible only after having adequate budget allocation for the sector.

“India has seen unrest among youths due to education and employment opportunities. The State has offered a solution through quota, but this is not really the solution. There is a need to create opportunities of higher education and skill development for youth from all social and financial classes. For which, a huge budget allocation for higher education is required,” said Mukund Kirdat, education activist.

“Similarly, Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) report shows that one in every four students of Std VIII from rural areas cannot read a book of Std II. Sufficient funds are needed to strengthen efforts to impart quality education, he said.

“The Central Government should include pre-primary sections in Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) provisions and funds for the same should be extended from Pre-Primary to Std X. We expect the government to compensate for the declined expenditure in education sector in past two years in upcoming financial year,” Kirdat added.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Ravindra Talpe, tribal activist, said there are many expectations from the budget. However, the implementation of the announcements is a huge problem. 

“This time, as far as tribal education sector is concerned, there is a need to invest more in skilled manpower to teach and work at the Ashram Schools. There is a need for funds to expand the skill development programmes for tribals that will enhance their employability,” said Talpe.

“Out of the funds allocated for  tribal development, around Rs 1,000 crore were used for farmers’ loan waiver. I believe the funds should strictly be used for what they are allocated in the budget. Also, the utilisation must take place on time. Right now, hardly 35 per cent of the funds allocated for tribal development have been utilised. How will they spend the rest of the amount in the last month of the current financial year? Political as well as administrative willpower in implementation is lacking, so there is a need to plan projects that can be implemented immediately,” said Talpe.

Divya Jain, CEO and Founder, Safeducate said, “We expect the government takes steps in raising the quality of skill-based education to levels demanded by a potential employer or required to start one’s own business. Skill development initiatives should be integrated with nation-building mission programmes. As technology is changing, the government needs to allocate more funds to improve the quality and develop excellence in skilling centres.”

“As a skilling centre, we require a lot of physical material which is being charged with GST, which cannot be reclaimed. The organisations providing skilling education expect some tax benefits,” said Jain.

AL Deshmukh, educationist, said “The government needs to emphasise on allocating funds for teachers’ training. We have some good schemes for the progress of the education sector, however, due to the lack of trained and well-qualified teachers, they end up as failures.” 

Elaborating on the need of training institutes for teachers, Deshmukh added, “There are hardly any good teachers’ training institutes. The government should allocate funds to set up up-to-date training centres for teachers at the district level.” 

“There should be a provision for establishment of sports universities. Each state should have at least two to three sports universities, as it will help players to shine at international level,” he added.

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