Education allocation down to 0.62% of Indian national income in 2017-18

The education allocation by the Union Government was down to 0.62% of national income in 2017-18, says an indiaspend.com report. The Union Government has been reducing spending on education (Budget estimates): It has declined from 1% of India’s income in the Government’s maiden Budget in 2014-15 to 0.62% in 2017-18. What is more, its share in the Budget has been reduced from 6.15% to 3.7%, noted the report. Allocation to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the National Programme for universal elementary education, as a share of total allocation was 33% in 2015-16, 31% in 2016-17 and 29% in 2017-18, citing an analysis by the Delhi-based think tank, Centre for Policy Research (CPR), the report said.

The per student allocation (based on the 2015 enrolment) to the programme increased by 17% in 2016-17 to Rs.6,350 from Rs.5,424 in 2015-16 as government school enrolment dipped by 2% between 2014 and 2015, quoting the CPR analysis, the report pointed out. The allocation remains far below the estimate made by the HRD Ministry, with the Union Government releasing Rs.22,500 crore in 2016-17 against a demand of Rs.55,000 crore.

Funds released as a share of approved Budget on Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan–an integrated national programme for secondary schools–had decreased from 78% in 2015-16 to 54% in 2016-17 (till December 5, 2017), showed an analysis of the programme by the CPR. Consequently, expenditure as a proportion of funds available rose from 74% in 2015-16 to 94% in 2016-17 and 78% till November 30, 2017.

Vacant Teaching Positions

Of the six million teaching positions in government schools pan India, around 900,000 elementary school teaching positions and 100,000 in secondary school–put together, one million were vacant, IndiaSpend reported on December 12, 2016.

“India will account for more than half of the increase in Asia’s workforce in the coming decade,” Anis Chakravarty, lead economist at global consultancy Deloitte India, said on September 18, 2017. “With the invasion of machines and improvement in robotics, India needs to pay special attention to skilling and re-skilling its workforce with a focus on the changing nature of today’s jobs.”

Stating that the factors such as fund cuts, a learning crisis, poor assessment practices and a shortage of teachers are weakening India’s demographic dividend, the growth potential a country enjoys when its population has a high share of those in the working age (15 to 64 years), the report went on to say that with a median age of 27.9 years, India has one of the world’s youngest population, with 66% of its 1.3 billion people in the working age of 15 to 64 years.

Blind Spots

An estimated 12-15 million of them will join the workforce every year in the next five years, citing to a March 2017 study by global consultancy Boston Consulting Group and industry body Confederation of Indian Industry study, the report said. As Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley prepares to deliver his government’s last full Budget before the general elections in 2019; IndiaSpend highlights the blind spots in the country’s education policy. India has enrolled more children than ever before in secondary schools, but it is failing to teach them what they should be learning, according to an ongoing international study, funded by the University of Oxford, UK, IndiaSpend reported on September 20, 1017.

Students throughout their school years in rural India are failing to retain skills learned in lower classes, showed education advocacy Pratham’s Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) of 2016 and 2017. One in every ten and every four rural Indians aged 14-18 years could not read a standard I and standard II (meant for children aged 5-7 years) text in their own language, according to the 2017 ASER report, as IndiaSpend reported on January 16, 2018. In 2017, only 43% of adolescents were able to divide a three-digit number by a one-digit number, only 23% were able to subtract and only 34% recognized numbers below 99.

India’s school examinations focused on recall of very specific rote-learnt knowledge and actively discouraged higher-order skills, with some material being worse than in Nigeria and Uganda, revealed a December 2017 study of assessment materials by Research on Improving Systems of Education, a multi-country education research programme based in Oxford, the UK, the report added.

 

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