Union Budget 2021-2022 - What is in store for the Education Sector?
“The National Education Policy (NEP) announced recently has had good reception”, said the Hon’ble Union Finance Minister (FM) Smt Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech for the year 2021-22.
Public attention was more on the education budget this year, thanks to the announcement of NEP in July 2020. With a total outlay of 93.224 crores (2.67% of the total budget expenditure that is 34,83,236 crores), the FM has tried to propose an inclusive education budget considering all major fields in the education sector. To name a few, academic collaborations, student empowerment, research, training, skilling, upliftment, policy & implementation, digitisation, etc. are some of the larger heads under which the FM has allocated funds. This blog highlights the major educational announcements proposed in the budget 2021-22.
- Implementation of NEP - More than 15,000 schools will be qualitatively strengthened to include all components of NEP. In turn, they shall emerge as exemplar schools in the regions, handholding, and mentoring other schools to achieve the ideals of the policy.
- Higher Education Commission of India - The FM assured that legislation would be introduced to set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). It will be an umbrella body having four separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding.
- New Schools & University - 100 new Sainik schools will be set up in partnership with NGOs/private schools/states, 750 Eklavya model residential schools will be opened in tribal areas. A central university will be set up in Leh (Ladakh) for accessible higher education in the Ladakh region.
- Collaboration - In 9 cities, the Government will create formal umbrella structures to have better synergy between institutions that are run by the central Government.
- Scholarship for Scheduled Caste students (SC) - The central Government has revamped the ‘post metric scholarship scheme’ for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and enhanced central assistance. In this regard, the Government is allocating 35,219 crores for 6 years which is expected to benefit 4 crores students.
- Skilling - The FM proposes to amend the existing apprenticeship Act. An initiative is underway, in partnership with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to benchmark skill qualifications, assessment, and certification, accompanied by the deployment of a certified workforce. The FM also proposed A collaborative Training Inter Training Programme (TITP) between India and Japan to facilitate the transfer of Japanese industrial and vocational skills, techniques, and knowledge and the Government will take forward this initiative with many more countries.
- Research and Innovation - The Union Government has worked on the modalities of “National Research Foundation” and the outlay will be 50,000 crores over 5 years. ‘It will ensure that the overall research ecosystem of the country is strengthened with focus on identified national-priority thrust areas.”, the FM said.
- Standards & Training - Standards will be developed for all schoolteachers by forming National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST). For children with hearing impairments, the Government will work on the standardisation of Indian Sign language across the country and develop National and State Curriculum materials for use by them. Senior and retired teachers will be engaged for individual mentoring of schoolteachers and educators through constant online/offline support on subjects, themes, and pedagogy. In 2021-22, the Government is expected to roll out a training program for 56 lakh schoolteachers through the National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers for Holistic Advancement (NISTHA).
- Joyful Learning - Toys are both an expression of entertainment and learning. A unique indigenous toy-based learning pedagogy for all levels of school education will be developed. This will transform classroom transactions from mundane and rote learning to an engaging and joyful experience.
- Digitisation - A National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) will be set up within the context of a Digital First Mindset where the Digital Architecture will not only support teaching and learning activities but also educational planning, governance, and administrative activities of the Centre and the States / Union Territories.
- Reforms in CBSE Board exam - Government will introduce CBSE Board Exam reforms in a phased manner to be effective from the 2022-23 academic session. Exams will move away from rote-learning and students shall be tested on their conceptual clarity, analytical skills, and application of knowledge to real-life situations.
- Regulation for Foreign Collaborations - To promote enhanced academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions, it is proposed to put in place a regulatory mechanism to permit dual degrees, joint degrees, twinning arrangements, and other such mechanisms.
The Hon'ble Union Education Minister, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ appreciated the union budget 2021-22 and expressed his gratitude to the Finance Minister for giving a major boost to the education sector. “I thank FM Smt. @nsitharaman Ji for increasing the Budget allocation in the Flagship scheme of Samagra Shiksha” - tweet: https://cutt.ly/7k0p7Uy.
To conclude, there is no doubt that the budget amidst lesser budgetary allocation to education, when compared to the previous year (around 6 percent), has channelized the spending on education in a better way. The new National Higher Education Commission is expected to streamline the processes and gaps associated with Higher Education in India and push higher education institutions to be future-ready.
The views & opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent those of QS-ERA India Private Limited and/or its employees, partners, shareholders, or other stakeholders. The source of the blog is a news article that is in the public domain.
Image Source: https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/bh1.pdf