"The government completely missed out on a roadmap for education technology in this budget, which had a prominent role to play in ensuring education continuity in the state during the coronavirus pandemic and in the future of creating equitable opportunities in education and improving delivery standards," Rustom Kerawalla, Chairman, Ampersand Group said while speaking about the Budget 2021-22 presented in Maharashtra state legislature recently.
The Maharashtra government’s Budget 2021-22 has several measures in it to improve the overall quality of school education and modernise higher education facilities available in the state.
Rustom Kerawalla said, "With measures like allocation of Rs 1,391 crore for higher and technical education and plans of setting up Science and technology parks and a Skill University, the government provided the right fillip for building scientific and technical capabilities, as well as skill development of the youth, which are essential components for creating a larger base of the employable workforce of the future."
Kerawalla added, "However, the government has allotted Rs 2,270 crore for the women and child development department and Rs. 2,461 crore to school education and sports. This support is less than expected and falls short in meeting the goal of quality education for all."
These measures such as the proposal to introduce 1,500 buses along with free MSRTC bus rides for girls will create better accessibility for school education. This will resolve part of the logistical challenges for girl students in rural areas to reach their schools safely, which is a big reason for the high dropout rates of girl students.
Kerawalla said, "The government has proposed to introduce CBSE curriculum in Ekalavya schools from Standard 1 to 5 in three years. If the government also implements the proposals in the new National Education Policy (NEP) on improving Early Childhood education along with this, it will markedly improve the pre-primary to primary school education available to the poor and backward sections of people."
The STARS Scheme with the World Bank would also give the quality of school education a boost, provided the government ensures quick and wider implementation with effective partnerships with the private sector players.