Hailing a hike of Rs 6,000 crore in allocation for education in the 2017-18 budget, union minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said the government’s focus was to improve the overall quality of education.
“From Rs 64,000 crore, the allocation has been increased to Rs 70,000 crore. There is a clear increase of Rs 6,000 crore,” the Minister for Human Resource Development said.
“Earlier, we use to fund many schemes at the 75-25 (Centre-state share) basis. Following the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, the funding pattern has changed to 60:40. If we factor that into the budget, we have been given nearly 25 per cent more budget,” he said.
“Now we will be spending 4.5 per cent of our GDP on education,” he added.
Emphasising that the Modi government’s vision was to improve the overall education quality at all levels, he said the government will introduce a system of measuring annual learning outcomes in schools this year.
Learning Outcomes will tell what should be the knowledge of a student in each subject for every standard.
This will help teachers to make necessary changes to teaching practices and to ensure that all children achieve the desired level of learning outcomes.
Speaking on the need for a single examination agency, National Testing Agency (NTA), he said “CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) is overburdened with examination works” and last year it conducted various examinations for more than one crore students.
“We want to create a separate examinations agency.”
On the University Grant Commission (UGC) reforms, the minister said: “The thrust of UGC reforms is to give more autonomy to good institutes.”
The details and modalities of the reforms will be worked out in the coming months. The government is committed towards more liberal measures with provisions for self-regulations and peer reviews, he added.
The innovation fund will receive Rs 100 crore from the provision for the Rashtriya Madhyamik Sikhsha Abhiyan scheme.
With the objective to achieve anytime learning, anywhere learning and forever learning, Javadekar said ‘Swayam’ was ready and will be launched next month.
Swayam is an indigenously developed IT platform that facilitates hosting of all the courses taught in classrooms from class 9 to post-graduation.