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Union budget "dilutes" Right to Education by merging primary, secondary schooling, fails to allocate 6% of GDP to it

By Our Representative
The Union budget has "failed" to provide for investment of 6% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education, Ambarish Rai, National Convenor, Righ to Education (RTE) Forum has said, adding, “Instead of increasing the GDP share education cess has been increased to 4% from 3% to collect additional Rs 11,000 crore, which shows that the state is shifting its responsibility on education." 
In a statement, he said, "A mere 11.19% (Rs 3,128 crore) increase of Budget of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) -- the government's flagship programme for implementing RTE -- from Rs 23,000 crore in year 2017-18 to Rs 26,128 crore for year 2018-19 , and 7.61% (Rs 298 Crore) increase from Rs 3,915 crore in year 2017-18 to Rs 4,213 crore for year 2018-19 is still far below the required adequate resources for universalisation of school education.”
Rai contended, the Union budget has sought to merge "elementary and secondary education, diluting the provisions of the RTE Act which strengthened and legitimised the need for a strong primary education for development of the country", adding, "The Finance Minister has proposed to treat education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to Class 12."
Mr. Rai said, "The budget fails to address the issues like increasing number of out of school children (84 million as census 2011), recruitment of teachers still staggering at 17.51%, closure of government schools (nearly 2 lakhs) across the country, and only 10% of schools compliant with RTE norms till now."
He noted, there have been "mentions" only of ‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education by 2022’ and digital intensity in education, adding, "This neglect will impact children particularly from poor and marginalised communities and add to the already increasing number of out of school children in the country."
He hoped, "The focus on technology and IT would not be at the expense of addressing existing basic facilities in schools and implementation of norms & standards for each school mandated by RTE Act."
Rai further said, “The budget introduces high quality of Eklavya schools in tribal dominated areas. However, it fails to address the huge neglect and the reports of children dying due to their locations in difficult, isolated terrains again raises doubt on the intended achievement through these ventures and who will benefit from such ventures. It should have proposed to strengthen all government schools in the tribal areas and transform them to neighbourhood schools as mandated in the Act.”
According to Rai, the budget is "nowhere close to our expectation", underlining, "We expected an increased budgetary allocation in secondary education and universalise education for children up to 18 years. But the budget fails to address the nuances of looking at education holistically without segmentation."
Such lopsided development without a new dateline for fully implementing RTE Act 2009 with a financial memorandum will impact all children and particularly belonging to marginalised sections of the society,” he observed.

Comments

DALIP NIM said…
Without strengthening the rural primary schooling one fails to understand how Modi government wants to bring about empowerment at grassroot level.

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