Union Budget 2021: Govt slashes allocation for education by 6.13%

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The Union Government decreased the budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Education by 6.13% when compared with the allocation in 2020-21. The announcement regarding the budgetary allocation for the financial year 2021-22 was made in the Union Budget 2021-22 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday.

According to the Finance Minister’s speech, for 2021-22 a total amount of Rs 93,224 crore will be allocated for the Ministry of Education. This consists of Rs 54,874 crore for Department of School Education and Literacy and Rs 38,350 crore for the Department of Higher Education. The allocation for 2021-22 in respect to Education is 6.13% less than the allocation made by the Union Government in 2020-21. In 2020-21, the budgeted estimate for the Ministry of Education was Rs 99,312 crore, which was revised to Rs 85,089 crore (Revised Estimate).

Among the most prominent announcements concerning education in the country are the 100 new Sainik schools that will come up across India in partnership with NGOs and Private schools and a Central University in Leh.

Here are the other announcements on education that were made in the Union Budget 2021-22.

>The legislation to implement a Higher Education Commission will be introduced in the coming year. It will be an umbrella body with four verticals to oversee standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding.

>15,000 schools across the country will be strengthened quality wise and will serve as exemplar schools in that region. These schools will lead the way in helping other schools to achieve the goals of the National Education Policy.

>National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed to set standards for school teachers. This will impact around 92 lakh teachers currently in the public and private schools in the country.

>Formal umbrella structures will be set up to bring research institutions, colleges and universities in nine cities. These will help institutions have better synergy and also retain their internal autonomy. A ‘Glue Grant’ will be set up for this purpose.

>750 Eklavya Model Residential Schools will be set up in Tribal areas. The cost of each school will be increased to Rs 38 crores and for those schools in hilly and difficult areas, the unit cost to set it up will be Rs 48 crores.

>Central Assistance for Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for students from Scheduled Castes will be Rs 35,219 crores for six years (till 2025-26).

>Rs 3000 crore allocated for apprenticeship initiatives and opportunities for graduates and diploma holders in Engineering.

>A National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) will be set up to support teaching and learning activities. The digital architecture set up under this will also help in educational planning, governance and administrative activities of the Centre and the States/ Union Territories.

>Union Government will work on standardising Indian sign language across the country and develop curriculum to be used in this language.

>National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers for Holistic Advancement (NISTHA) will train 56 lakh school teachers in 2021-22 digitally.

>CBSE Board Exams reforms will be introduced in a phased manner from 2022-23. Students to be tested on conceptual clarity, analytical skills and application of knowledge to real-life situations.

>Partnerships with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to benchmark the skill levels of workforce and with Japan for skill transfer.