Every year, the Finance Minister of India presents the Union Budget in front of the legislature, detailing the sources of government’s revenue and the planned expenditure for the coming financial year. This is an opportunity for the government to set out its policies and introduce new schemes for public welfare. This year’s budget saw a special focus on health, education and social services with the government taking a host of measures to improve the quality of education in the country.
Here are the key highlights for the education sector from this year’s union budget:
In view of the government’s proposal to treat education holistically, an integrated B.Ed. programme for teachers has been initiated. Through an amendment to the Right to Education Act, over 13 lakh untrained teachers will be trained.
From ‘Blackboard’ to ‘Digital Board’:
The government has recognized technology as the biggest driver in improving the quality of education and resolved to increase the digital intensity in education. The recently launched digital portal ‘‘DIKSHA’’ will be utilized to upgrade the skills of teachers through technology.
In furtherance of its commitment to provide the best quality education to tribal children in their own environment, the government announced the setting up of Ekalavya Model Residential Schools for ST students. These schools shall have special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development.
A major initiative dubbed RISE, or Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education, was launched to step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions. A total investment of `1,00,000 crore over the next four years has been proposed for this initiative.
The government proposed the setting up of a specialized Railways University at Vadodara, as well as two full-fledged Schools of Planning and Architecture. 18 additional Schools of Planning and Architecture have been proposed to be established in the IITs and NITs as autonomous Schools.
A fellowship scheme was announced, named the ‘Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF)’ Scheme, through which 1,000 of the best B.Tech students from premier institutions would be selected and awarded a fellowship to pursue their Ph.D in IITs and IISc.
To enhance accessibility of quality medical education and health care, the government proposed to set up 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country.
A total of Rs. 85,010 crores have been allocated to the education sector for the coming financial year, an indication that education remains a top priority for the nation. If they bear expected results, the initiatives announced could prove beneficial to millions of students in India.