Ensure 20% of budgetary allocation for education: Finance minister told
In a representation to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Right to Education (RTE) Forum national convener Ambarish Rai has said that the forthcoming Union budget must put into effect the draft New Education Policy 2019 view that 6% of GDP and 20% of the budget should be allocates as public investment in education.
Deliberating at a pre-budget consultation with the minister, Rai said, an incremental increase on education over a period of 10 years will not address the immediate crisis in terms of quality and equity in education, underling, financial crunch was thr reason why the RTE Act couldn’t be realized on ground.
Pointing out that only 12 per cent schools of the country adhere to the minimal norms of RTE Act, Rai said, “The investment for learning outcomes (soft and numeracy skills) cannot be looked at in isolation from the framework of quality and equitable education as laid down in the RTE Act 2009.”
Noting that 38 million children of 6-13 age group and 27 million children of 14-17 age group were out of school, of which 12.5 million are Dalits 7.9 million Adivasis, Rai “Of these 65 million children, more than 80 per cent have never attended any educational institution. He added, girls are twice as likely as boys to have less than four years of schooling and nearly 40 % of adolescent girls aged 15-18 are not attending any educational institution.”
The reason, according to him, is, environment is not conducive to learning. “The government needs to invest in teachers, the biggest determinant of quality education in a big way. Filling teachers’ vacancies and strengthening teacher training and onsite support to teachers is the need of the hour.”
Seeking “adequate and timely availability of teaching learning materials, including textbooks and libraries”, he said, “Fund transfers to parental accounts should not replace provision of textbooks and uniforms” adding, “The government should invest more in the education of out of school children, migrants and child labourers, especially those in educationally lagging areas and from marginalized communities.”