While quoting Rabindranath Tagore at the beginning of the Union Budget 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday marked the start of post COVID world in her budget speech -- she termed as the ''dawn of a new era".
From strengthening of schools in accordance with the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 to a central university in Leh, the Finance Minister has announced few major initiatives for the education sector. We have collated the highlights of the education sector from the Budget 2021.
Central University in Leh
For accessible higher education in Ladakh, the Finance Minister proposed to set up a central university in Leh.
100 new Sainik schools
100 new Sainik schools will be set up in partnership with NGOs, private schools, and states. The Sainik Schools are a system of schools in India established and managed by the Sainik Schools Society under the Ministry of Defence. There are over 30 Sainik Schools in the country at present.
Higher Education Commission of India
In her speech, Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government would be introducing the legislation this year to implement the setting-up of the Higher Education Commission of India. There are other 'umbrella' structures to be created for higher education, she added.
Strengthening of schools as per NEP
Over 15,000 schools will be qualitatively strengthened as per reforms proposed in the new National Education Policy (NEP), which will help in handholding and mentoring other schools, according to the Union Budget for 2021-22 announced.
"More than 15,000 schools will be qualitatively strengthened to include all components of the National Education Policy. They shall emerge as exemplar schools in their regions, handholding and mentoring other schools to achieve the ideals of the policy," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her budget speech.
Making board exams easy, reduction of the curriculum to core concepts, replacement of 10+2 structure of school curricula with a 5+3+3+4 structure and teaching up to at least class 5 in the mother tongue or a regional language, are among the many school education reforms outlined in the new National Education Policy, which was announced last year. This is the first budget after the notification of the new NEP.
The Ministry of Education's Department of School Education and Literacy will receive Rs 54,873.66 crore for the upcoming financial year as against Rs 59,845 crore last year.
The funds for the Kendriya Vidyalayas saw an increase as the KVs have been issued Rs 6,800 crore for the upcoming financial year as compared to Rs 5,516 crore last year.
The budget allocation to Navodaya Vidyalayas has been increased by Rs 500 crore. Last year, Rs 3,300 crore were allocated to Navodaya Vidyalayas while for this year, the funds have been raised to Rs 3,800 crore.
The mid-day meal scheme saw an increase of Rs 500 crore as the total allocation has been raised to Rs 11,500 crore from Rs 11,000 last year.
The Union Budget 2021-22 proposals rest on six pillars: Health and well-being, physical and financial capital and infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India reinvigorating human capital, innovation and R&D, minimum government and maximum governance.
While presenting the Budget, Sitharaman said, only three times has the Budget followed a contraction in the economy this time, unlike before, the situation is due to a global pandemic Budget-2021 provides every opportunity for the economy to capture the pace and grow sustainably.
(With inputs from agencies)