Budget 2018: India is a diverse country with a complex education structure. There are central boards like CBSE, ISC, ICSE along with schools and institutions run by state governments. From curriculum to academic infrastructure, it varies from board to board. While there are much hue and cry over students of certain boards getting an advantage over others, the Modi government can bridge this gap by taking a few steps in the upcoming Union budget. The central government, however, has taken a few measures to uplift standard of the education across India. FICCI wants the Centre to use central funds strategically to spur policy reform in states. “The Centre can create a Rs. 1000 crore ‘State Policy Reform Fund’ to incentivise states that implement measures such as merit-based headmaster selection, transparent process for teacher recruitment, allotment and transfers and merit-based teacher promotions,” the industry body says. It has also said, “Central schemes such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) have successfully used a similar approach for influencing states’ policies. Under JnNURM, 75% of the grant was subject to achievement of policy reforms.”
There is a shortage of faculty across the country, according to reports. “To address the shortage of faculty in the country, the Government should expedite the launch of National Mission for Faculty Development and provide a tax relief to the tune of 50% to Universities/Higher Educational Institutions that spend on the capacity development and training of their staff,” FICCI report says.
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Recently, Centre had appealed to the state education boards to end the practice of inflating marks of Class XII. And as many as 17 states have agreed to Centre’s plea. Anil Swarup, the school education secretary on October 6 wrote to the heads of all state education boards.
The state’s education boards who have agreed with centre’s advice are Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Telangana and Goa. The states that are yet to respond are Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.