After HRD Minsiter, Kapil Sibal’s strong urge to allocate more funds to the education sector in 12th Five Year Plan, the planning commission seems to have accepted the plea. The commission has decided to increase the funds from Rs 40,000 crore for secondary education to Rs 55,000 crore against the demand of Rs 65,000 crore. The increased allocated fund is likely to boost the initiatives taken to universalize the secondary education. The HRD ministry aims to reach the enrollment ratio of 65% at higher secondary (Class XI and XII) and 90% at the secondary (Class IX and X) by 2017.
The HRD Minister had strongly appealed to increase the funding for education sector at Planning Commission meeting held last week. Though the amount allocated initially for both higher and school and higher education was significantly higher –between 100-125% increase in the funds over 11th Five Year Plan. Sibal stated that though the amount allocated was substantial, it could not meet the business requirements. He further held that more amounts can be spent on skill development and expansion of Navodaya Vidyalaya and Kendriya Vidyalaya. The ministry intends to establish 378 new Navodaya Vidyalayas and 500 Kendriya Vidyalayas in the 12th plan period.
He further argued that the educational institutes in various states and student financial support system need to be improved. Sibal also asserted that in order to maintain a growth rate of 8.2% India needs to invest more in research and innovation.
Sibal however failed to convince the commission for approval of an additional fund of Rs 100000 crore for the next four years to introduce RTE, improve residential school system in SC, ST and minority blocks and condition for one year of pre-school. The panel also rejected the demand of another Rs 30000 crore for mid-day meal scheme.
The minister managed to get approval for a differential fund sharing format for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to meet the crucial requirements of states lagging behind. Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh were added to special category states (Jammu & Kashmir and North Eastern states) and 90% of the funding will be borne by the center. The center will also bear 75% of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan funding for the 9 states that have educational indices below the national averages. These states include Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The other states will continue to follow 65:35 sharing pattern.
The funding to higher education sector has been increased from Rs 110000 to Rs 166000. The increased funds will be employed to strengthen the student financial support system, improve funding to research and innovation and state institutes. The ministry aims to formulate comprehensive financial aid programs for all levels and set up the Credit Guarantee Fund for loans in the 12th Five Year Plan period.
The recommendations have been sent to Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
Source: Economic Times
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