From a central university in Leh to apprenticeship for graduates and diploma holders, the Union Budget 2021 has focussed on skilling students. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today presented her third budget. Due to the announcement of the National Education Policy last year, there is a demand for an implementation plan, focus on digital infrastructure and more fund allocation.
Ministry of education got an allocation of Rs 93,224 crores. Of the total, the school education and literacy section was allotted the majority of funds with Rs 54873.66 crore, and the remaining Rs 38,350.65 crore was allotted to the higher education sector. Last year, govt had allocated Rs 99300 crore for the education sector, with an additional allocation of Rs 3000 crore for skill development.
Here are the key takeaways:
*National Language translation mission to translate policy-related information that will be available on the internet in regional languages. This is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which emphasises creating content and delivery of content in regional languages.
*Setting up regional national institutes for virology. Read here to know about virology as a field of study
*National Research Foundation (NRF) to get an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore over five years to strengthen research and focus on the national priority trust area. Innovation and R&D is one of the six pillars of Budget 2021 along with, health and well-being, physical and financial capital and infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India, reinvigorating human capital, and minimum government and maximum governance.
*Government proposes portal to collect info on gig-workers, building and construction workers, among others.
*Over 15,000 schools to implement National Education Policy and act as a model for rest schools. A 100 new Sainik schools to be set-up.
*A central University in Leh for accessible higher education in India.
*750 Eklavya Model residential schools in tribal areas will be set-up. Increase unit cost for each school form Rs 20 crore to Rs 38 crore. Rs 35
*Post-matric scheme revamped. Central assistance has been enhanced for the scheme. Rs 35219 crore will be disbursed over the period of six years.
*The Apprenticeship Act will be amended to increase opportunities for students. It will be realigned for providing post-education apprenticeship. The training of graduates and diploma holders in engineering will be trained under the scheme. Rs 3,000 allotted for this programme.
*Govt plans to create formal umbrella structures to ensure better synergy among research institutions, universities, and colleges supported by the Government of India. A Glue Grant will be set aside for this purpose.
*Senior and retired teachers will act as mentors of school teachers and educators through constant online and offline support on subjects, themes, and pedagogy.
*CBSE Board exam reforms, as mentioned in NEP, will be implemented in a phased manner to be effective from the 2022-23 academic session. Exams will move away from rote-learning and students will be tested on their conceptual clarity, analytical skills, and application of knowledge to real-life situations, as mentioned in NEP 2020.
* A National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) will be set up within the context of a digital-first mindset where the Digital Architecture will not only support teaching and learning activities but also educational planning, governance and administrative activities of the Centre and the States/ Union Territories. It will provide a diverse education eco-system architecture for the development of digital infrastructure, a federated but interoperable system that will ensure autonomy of all stakeholders, especially States and UTs.
Education Minister’s reaction to the budget
Union Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ lauded the Union Budget 2021-22 and expressed his gratitude to Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman for giving a major boost to education. Pokhriyal highlighted that the Budget allocation for the National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS), has been substantially increased from Rs. 175 Cr to Rs. 500 crore. He also said that an outlay of Rs. 50,000 crore over the next five years for National Research Foundation (NRF) will give a major boost to Innovation and R&D. The Minister said in a big boost to the education sector allocation of KVS has increased by Rs 362.32 crore and allocation of NVS increased to Rs. 320 crore. The budget allocation of NCERT increased to Rs.110.08 crore.