By Our Representative
The Union budget has "failed" to provide for investment of 6% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education, Ambarish Rai, National Convenor, Righ to Education (RTE) Forum has said, adding, “Instead of increasing the GDP share education cess has been increased to 4% from 3% to collect additional Rs 11,000 crore, which shows that the state is shifting its responsibility on education."
Mr. Rai said, "The budget fails to address the issues like increasing number of out of school children (84 million as census 2011), recruitment of teachers still staggering at 17.51%, closure of government schools (nearly 2 lakhs) across the country, and only 10% of schools compliant with RTE norms till now."
He noted, there have been "mentions" only of ‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education by 2022’ and digital intensity in education, adding, "This neglect will impact children particularly from poor and marginalised communities and add to the already increasing number of out of school children in the country."
He hoped, "The focus on technology and IT would not be at the expense of addressing existing basic facilities in schools and implementation of norms & standards for each school mandated by RTE Act."
Rai further said, “The budget introduces high quality of Eklavya schools in tribal dominated areas. However, it fails to address the huge neglect and the reports of children dying due to their locations in difficult, isolated terrains again raises doubt on the intended achievement through these ventures and who will benefit from such ventures. It should have proposed to strengthen all government schools in the tribal areas and transform them to neighbourhood schools as mandated in the Act.”
According to Rai, the budget is "nowhere close to our expectation", underlining, "We expected an increased budgetary allocation in secondary education and universalise education for children up to 18 years. But the budget fails to address the nuances of looking at education holistically without segmentation."
Such lopsided development without a new dateline for fully implementing RTE Act 2009 with a financial memorandum will impact all children and particularly belonging to marginalised sections of the society,” he observed.