​​​
  1. Education in Budget 2018: Back to basics

Education in Budget 2018: Back to basics

Budget 2018: Integrated curriculum, learning outcomes, teacher development, skilling in digital domain, boost for formal employment, focus on research, inclusiveness (Eklavya schools) … all point to a positive shift in the approach towards education spending in this Budget.

By: | Updated: February 12, 2018 2:12 AM
Budget 2018: Arun Jaitley presented union budget on feb 1 Budget 2018: Technology will also be used to upgrade skills of teachers through DIKSHA digital portal.

Budget 2018: While presenting this year’s Economic Survey, the Chief Economic Advisor had pre-warned there was not enough fiscal space to increase public spending in the social sector. So our expectations from the Union Budget 2018 were rather muted from education and skill development perspectives, even though a large number of people were expecting an ‘election’ Budget. Quite commendably, the finance minister has stuck to market-orientation, in alignment with his previous editions, and still manages to bring in an inclusiveness and social flavour.

But the defining feature of this project, though subtle, is the attempt to address and strengthen the basic elements or building blocks of the economy and society—agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, employability, etc. At the outset, the allocation to social sector seemed very little—almost a customary reference—but a deeper analysis would reveal that Budget 2018 has a social orientation in almost all expenditure items announced. Let us see some of the differentiating approaches in this Budget.

Income tax Calculator: Calculate impact of Arun Jaitley’s Budget 2018 on your tax liability

Traditionally, Budget 2018 allocation to education has been more input-oriented than outcome-based. It marked the much-needed divergence and focused on quality of education. The government has defined learning outcomes and a national survey of 20 lakh children has been conducted to assess the status on the ground. This can help in devising a district-wise strategy for improving the quality of education. Integrated approach to K12 education with no segmentation from pre-nursery to Std 12 could mean students receive a structured curriculum. I guess there was practical wisdom in having nursery, primary, elementary, secondary and higher secondary divisions.

WATCH | 5 Must-Know Budget-Related Terms

Five to six decades ago, it was critical to have basic enrolment; more primary schools were commissioned and they became the source to elementary and secondary schools. Higher secondary was, in fact, seen as a selection criteria for tertiary education. In many parts of India, even today, the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) is called matriculation—the qualifying exam for college admission. Now, with GER rapidly getting into early 20s and showing signs of improvement, it is time we ensure the students do not drop off due to readmission into a different school. Having said that, we need to see what does this mean practically—would all primary schools be upgraded?

READ | Budget 2018: The ‘education’ we can take from Budget FY19

The challenge of quality of teachers has plagued the education system and Budget 2018 mentioned that the government has amended the Right to Education Act (2010) to enable over 13 lakh untrained teachers to get trained. However, sustainability of these trainings and provisions for in-service trainings have been left out. The Union Budget 2018 proposed to move gradually from blackboard to digital board. Technology will also be used to upgrade skills of teachers through DIKSHA digital portal. We hope this will not become another ‘hardware’ upgrade, but a genuine transformation in pedagogy, assessment, etc. Adopting an inclusive approach, Budget 2018 announced that, by 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons will have an Eklavya Model Residential School, at par with Navodaya Vidyalayas, and have special facilities for preserving local art and culture, besides providing training in sports and skills. This is admirable, given that we still have reservation after seven decades of independence. Clearly, the approach of having quotas in mainstream schools has not been an unqualified success since we have large pockets of tribal population without access to education.

Higher education

To boost R&D in higher education and step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health, the Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) scheme with an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore over four years was announced. The Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) would be suitably structured for funding this initiative. Lack of incentives to pursue research has been a problem and the Prime Minister’s Research Fellows scheme, which will be launched in FY19, is partly to address this. Under this, 1,000 BTech students will be identified each year from premier institutions and facilities will be provided to pursue PhD in IITs and IISc, with a handsome fellowship. It is expected they will voluntarily commit few hours every week for teaching in institutions, in return. No new universities—save the two Schools of Planning and Architecture and 18 SPAs in IITs and NITs as autonomous schools—were announced. The previous concept of upgrading existing district hospitals to government medical colleges was proposed in 24 districts.

WATCH | Budget 2018: Acche din for aam aadmi or not?

Skill development

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra scheme was reinforced and the National Apprenticeship Scheme with a stipend support and sharing of cost of basic training by the government to give training to 50 lakh youth by 2020 was announced. Around 450 farm-level training centres under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education were announced. Skill training in domains such as AI, robotics, digital manufacturing, Big Data Analytics, quantum communication and Internet of Things will take place through a centre of excellence established under the Mission on Cyber Physical Systems. To boost employment in the formal sector, the government will contribute 12% EPF for new employees joining the formal sector and 8% EPF for women employees for the first three years.

READ | Budget 2018: Education get a fillip, and a rethink

From all angles, Budget 2018 dealt with basic aspects. Learning outcomes, integrated curriculum, teacher development, digital literacy, inclusiveness (Eklavya schools), research focus, agriculture training, skilling in digital domain, boost for formal employment … all point to a positive shift in the approach towards education spending in  Budget 2018. As always, the implementation at grass-roots level and sustenance of these initiatives will define the benefits from these announcements.

The author is partner & head, Education & Skill Development, KPMG in India

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

  1. DRLARRY Keerthi
    Feb 22, 2018 at 6:30 am
    Are you in debt? Do you need to raise cash for health care costs or paying debts or in a state of financial breakdown? Wait! Consider as an Option. If you wish to today. Message us immediately. A is bought for a maximum amount of $600,000.00 US Dollars.The National foundation is cur ly ing healthy .My name is Dr. Jones Simon, am a Nephrologist in the apolloho hospital.Our Hospital is specialized in Surgery and we also deal with ing and ation of s with a living an corresponding . We are located in Indian, Canada, UK, Turkey, USA, Malaysia, South Africa etc. If you are interested in ing or ing ’s please don’t hesitate to contact us via Email : drlarrrymoore71 and whatsapp 919555536375 Need Geniune Waiting for your responds…. Best Regards…. Dr. MOORE,
    Reply
    1. sreejith murali
      Feb 18, 2018 at 12:09 pm
      As Human rights organisations like NCDHR etc have highlighted there is decreasing allocation to the Pre and post-metric schemes. There is also a decreasing allocation to central and numerous state universities where the majority of students study and unduly focus on few 'premier' ins utes. In summary, this budget as others before is truly anti-social budget, no amount of white washing shall make it less so. SSA alllocation is positive sign but, as others pointed out, the enormity of undertrained teachers and lack of permenent teaching faculty exceeds the allocation by many times.
      Reply
      1. sreejith murali
        Feb 18, 2018 at 12:03 pm
        That this comes from KPMG which is heavily invested in what the author mentions as 'market orientation' of welfare programmes is significant to understand the over the top praise. The author's comment about affirmative action is misplaced because his starting point is that why there is still reservation, affirmative action is a cons utional right, the reason for which is a social character of caste and ethnic divided Indian society which sends in disproportionate upper caste Hindus to HE ins utions because of inhe biases in and also outside educational ins utions. That only 20000 Adivasi/Tribal children's good education could be considered is shameful to the least. It is another matter that residential school are acting like cultural hegemonic ins utions and where innumerable atrocities are happening, please refer to the murder of hundreds of children in Maharastra Ashramshalas, sexual harassment of children in Chattisgarh by paramilitary forces etc.
        Reply

        Go to Top