Union Budget 2015: Mixed reactions to education budget

While educationists are applauding the focus of the budget on higher education, others are ruing the lack of attention given to basic education

As Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, announced the budget for the financial year 2015-16, people across the country waited to find out if the common man benefited from it or not. While much importance has been given to skill development and making more jobs available to the youth, and many are happy with the provisions being made for higher education, some felt that the basic issues being faced by educationists across the country haven’t been addressed.

Experts feel enough has not been done to upgrade basic education in the country. PIC FOR REPRESENTATION PURPOSE ONLY
Experts feel enough has not been done to upgrade basic education in the country. Pic for representational purpose only

Focus on higher education
What has impressed many educationists is setting up of higher education institutions, providing educational loan schemes for higher education and emphasis on quality education. Keeping in mind the need for augmented medical sciences in the country, new All India Institutes for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have been proposed in Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Bihar. A proposition has also been made to set up new Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in Karnataka and other higher education institutes across the country.

“Innovation, research and development will ensure skilled youth who can bridge the demand and supply gap faced by the industry. Allocation of Rs 1,000 crore to enable start-ups and creation of incubation centers will aid in building an entrepreneurial ecosystem, which will encourage the youth to be job creators rather than job seekers,” said Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool. Many others lauded the government’s plan on upgrading vocational skills amid the youth.

Basic education ignored
Jaitley highlighted the government’s vision for the year 2022, which focused on provision of a senior secondary school within every five kilometers of every child and the need for upgradation of 80,000 secondary schools, as well as making provisions for more schools across the country. The need for improvement in quality of education as well as learning outcomes was also stressed upon. However, many thought there was little or no mention of how to make education accessible to all at the grassroot level.

Madhav Chavan, CEO and co-founder of educational non-profit organisation, Pratham told sunday mid-day, “I don’t see any new or interesting facts in the budget, in terms of the education sector. While much has been discussed for higher education, the fact that very little focus has gone into basic education is appalling. I hope the government will come up with new policies that could help upgrade the education sector.”

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