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Union Budget 2018: Education to get a fat pay check; over 250 million students to receive benefits

New Year seems to be bringing a series of good news for the education sector in the country as the Union Budget allocation for school education likely to rise by up to 14 per cent in the fiscal year 2018-19 with the government planning to improve the quality of education.

To be presented on February 1, the new Budget is likely to give a boost to many Central schemes such as mid-day meals and right to education with the focus to improve the quality of education in the country.

“It will be much less than what the ministry demanded, but higher than the previous year’s allocations in the range of 11-14 percent,” a government official was quoted as saying by Mint.

According to reports, the increase in budgetary allocation will benefit nearly 250 million students pursuing education across 15 lakh schools in India.

As per media reports, the country at present spends around four percent of the GDP on education –both school and higher education.

A budget worth Rs 46,356 crore was allocated for school education in 2017 with the focus on learning assessment in schools and revamping UGC structure to allow more autonomy for setting up of a national testing agency to conduct higher education entrance exams.

Overall, the Union Budget 2017 had allocated Rs 79,685.95 crore for the education sector for financial year 2017-18, up from Rs 72,394 crore in 2016.

Innovation in schools, mapping of learning outcomes and school assessments like the national assessment survey will be prioritized in the new budget.

Having achieved nearly 100% enrollment, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, (SSA) will focus on teaching-learning outcomes.

“By next financial year, the SSA may be spending around 40% of its budget on improving quality of school learning,” the government official said.

Manmath Nayak

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