Lok Sabha TV- Public Forum: Spending on Education Stagnant
Education in India is provided by both public and private sector with the control and funding coming from three levels i.e. centre, state and local bodies. In various Articles of Indian Constitution free and compulsory education is provided as a Fundamental Right to children in the age of 6-14 years. The ratio of public schools to private schools is considered 7:5 approximately. The Indian education sector has been in the centre stage for success of Governments.
The Government is trying to change the status quo and the Union Budget holds a significant importance for Indian education sector to tackle mammoth challenges Indian education is facing with respect to enrolment, excellence and employability. Budgetary allocation is not in accordance of the needs of education sector. Reduction of funds in this sector in the last budget was widely criticized by all the segments. Allocation of planned funds for the states was increased in the last budget but the total planned allocation has come down for this year which implies lesser funds for development in the hands of states despite higher devolution of funds.
1. CBGA (Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability) and CRY released a study on budgetary spending in education after studying education budgets in 10 general category states. India’s prevailing quantum of budgetary spending on education is inadequate.
- 1% of funds spent on training teachers with Bihar spending 1.6% as highest in teacher’s training and Uttar Pradesh 0.28% as lowest. Teacher training in budget was 1.6% in 2015-16.
- More than 98% schools in 10 states formed school management committees.
- Teacher’s salaries claim the largest chunk of the budget.
Education is the biggest enabler which changes lives. How the money is spent in this sector is something that should be focused upon. Quality of education has to be given prime importance. RTE, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan and State governments have also focused on it. These days, parents are not choosing Government schools and prefer low cost private or public schools because people do find quality here. For quality, teacher’s training is significant and it has to be ensured that everything learnt through training is implemented along with accountability. More autonomy should be given to these schools to decide in what manner they want to organize and reorganize their functions and fix their own accountability. Based on their performance, the entire budgeting exercise should be linked.
There is also a need to look into the recruitment process of teachers and talk to the candidates applying for this job if they really want to be a teacher or are just looking for safe and secure jobs. The motivation here is not to be a good teacher but the nature and security of job. It is an unfortunate situation that our society does not value a teacher’s role in building of the future of younger generations.
Teacher absenteeism and politicization of our education system are some of the deep rooted problems. The more the management and functioning are taken closer to the people, the more it will improve. For example: When mothers of children were involved in mid-day meal schemes, the quality of food improved because no parent would want to serve their children contaminated food that affects their child’s health. School management committees should comprise of parents, teachers and principal and not politicians to take decisions that is best for the children. More autonomy in terms of decision making should be given to them.
It is said that much of the country’s progress especially in higher education and scientific research has been because of various public institutions. While enrolment in the higher education has increased in the past decade or so, there still remains a significant distance to catch up for the elementary education to reach every child of the country.