The Right to Education (RTE) Forum on Wednesday expressed its concern over the education budget for the country which, it said, continues to fall short of the global average and the recommendations of the Kothari Commission.
The forum, which invited several parliamentarians to discuss the funds for education in the Union Budget 2018-19, pointed out the reduced allocation for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the other one meant for secondary education.
Asking for a increased "transparency and accountability", Forum's convener Ambrish Rai said government reduced SSA's allocation by 17 per cent in last three years (not including this year).
About funds for secondary education, he said that the Union government "has reduced its current share on Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan from 75 per cent to 60 per cent for all states and that if the states do not allocate their share "secondary education will be a serious concern".
Communist Party of India's D. Raja said despite more than five decades of Kothari Commission tabling its report, they still haven't been able to allocate six per cent of GDP for education -- one of the committee's key recommendations.
"By now we should not have been asking for six per cent, but 10 per cent," he said.
Referring to the Human Resource Development Ministry's target of making all classrooms digital by 2022, he said: "It will take some time before we move from blackboard to digital board.
But let there be classrooms, let there be teachers first."
Ravi Prakash Verma of Samajwadi Party, Oscar Fernandes and Pradeep Tamta of the Congress, Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party, Geetha Kothapalli of the YSR Congress, and C. P. Narayanan of Communist Party of India-Marxist, were other members of Parliament, who attended the meet.