Misplaced priorities for Edu sector in Budget, say experts

Prajakta Joshi
Thursday, 1 February 2018

“There should be a mechanism to analyse the implementation of these provisions and a system to review them regularly. There is need to train and empower teachers and the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) doesn’t show it to be very good,” Velankar said.

Pune: While digital learning is certainly a great step in improving country’s education sector, the government should first aim at providing schools with better basic infrastructure, said city-based education experts, reacting to the Union Budget 2018. They feel it’s a case of misplaced priorities. 

Empowering teachers
Experts have applauded the provision to train 13 lakh teachers under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, to improve the quality of education.

Speaking to Sakal Times, educationist and social activist Vivek Velankar said while the provisions in the Budget are good, they would be useful only if they are implemented properly.

“There should be a mechanism to analyse the implementation of these provisions and a system to review them regularly. There is need to train and empower teachers and the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) doesn’t show it to be very good,” Velankar said.

RTE activist Mukund Kirdat said, “While provision has been made to train teachers, only in Maharashtra around 65,000 schools don’t have Headmasters, while 30,000 schools have no female teachers. And BEd students are unemployed.”
Digital learning platform

Digital learning is being promoted by the government on a large scale. An e-learning initiative ‘e-Shiksa’ has been launched in Maharashtra by Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar in collaboration with Rotary India Literacy Mission (RILM) to empower 18,500 government schools in the state.

However, educationists feel that what the rural schools need first are improved basic facilities like well-built school building, playground, benches and electricity.

“E-learning is very promising, but we haven’t yet seen examples of this platform working huge wonders even in urban areas. It should have first been run on an experimental level and then implemented nation-wide,” Velankar said.

What’s in store for the education sector in Budget 2018-19?
 B Tech students from premier engineering institutes will be identified, providing them higher-education opportunities in the IITs and IISc. These students will receive handsome fellowships and will be expected to dedicate a few hours to teach in higher education institutions weekly.
 There will be an integrated BEd programme for teachers, during service.
 National Apprenticeship Scheme with stipend support and sharing of the cost of basic training by the Government will be launched to give training to 50 lakh youth by 2020.
 24 new medical colleges will be set up in 24 districts across the country.

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