Budget is nowhere close to our expectation’ Insufficient Allocation for Education: Ambarish Rai

Shrinking Government’s Responsibility towards School Education and Implementation of RTE Act 2009 will not serve any good...

Shrinking Government’s Responsibility towards School Education and Implementation of RTE Act 2009 will not serve any good

1st February, 2018, New Delhi, RTE Forum. “The budget again fails to provide for investment of 6% GDP on education. A mere 11.19 % (Rs. 3128 crore) increase of Budget of SSA  from Rs. 23,000 crore in year 2017-18  to  Rs. 26,128 crore for year 2018-19 , and 7.61% (Rs. 298 Crore) increase  from Rs. 3,915 crore in year 2017-18 to Rs. 4,213 crore for year 2018-19 is still far below the required adequate resources for universalisation of school education,” said Ambarish Rai, National Convenor, RTE Forum.  

Expressing his disappointment over the provisions related to education in the budget, Mr. Rai said, “Instead of increasing the GDP share education cess has been increased to 4% from 3% to collect additional Rs.11,000 crore which again shifting the state responsibility on education. Till last year of total amount, 65% was financed through education cess, 29% as gross budgetary support and 6% through externally aided projects.” 

Mr. Rai said that the present shift has merged elementary and secondary education diluting the provisions of the RTE Act which strengthened and legitimised the need for a strong primary education for development of the country. The Finance Minister has proposed in his budget speech, to treat education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to Class 12. This will be possible only through complete implementation of the RTE Act 2009 and its extension up to higher secondary level, he added.

Mr. Rai strongly reminded that The budget fails to address the issues like increasing number of out of school children (84 million as census 2011), recruitment of teachers still staggering at 17.51%, closure of government schools (nearly 2 lakhs) across the country and only 10% of schools compliant with RTE norms till now while the contrary mentions of ‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education by 2022’ and digital intensity in education. This neglect will impact children particularly from poor and marginalised communities extremely and add to the already increasing number of Out of school children in the country. We, hope that the focus on technology and IT would not be at the expense of addressing existing basic facilities in schools and implementation of norms & standards for each school mandated by RTE Act.

“The budget introduces high quality of Eklavya schools in Tribal dominated areas. However it fails to address the huge neglect and the reports of children dying due to their locations in difficult, isolated terrains again raises doubt on the intended achievement through these ventures and who will benefit from such ventures. It should have proposed to strengthen all government schools in the tribal areas and transform them to neighbourhood schools as mandated in the Act,” Mr. Rai commented.

Ambarish Rai, National Convenor, RTE Forum, concluded that the budget is nowhere close to our expectation. We expected an increased budgetary allocation in secondary education and universalise education for children up to 18 years. But the budget fails to address the nuances of looking at education holistically without segmentation considering that access to secondary school is severely limited and the task of providing this access is no less if not more important than the task of improving quality. “Such lopsided development without a new dateline for fully implementing RTE Act 2009 with a financial memorandum will impact all children and particularly belonging to marginalised sections of the society,” he observed.

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