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Samagra Shiksha Plan To Boost Education Sector In Punjab

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | September 20, 2021 08:28 AM

A budget of INR 1, 126 crore is approved by the Union Ministry of Education for both the school education and teacher training for the 2021-22 financial year under the Samagra Shiksha Programme. Currently, the funds allocated for the program includes both recurring and non-recurring expenditure. In addition to that, in comparison to the INR 906 crore fund allocation by the central ministry, the fund provided to the Samagra Shiksha program is 25% higher. 

Fund Allocation Under Samagra Shiksha Programme

Out of all the total funds provided to Samagra Shiksha Programme, 65% of the funds will be used for elementary education to improve the education for classes 1 to 9. The rest of the INR 368 crore which constitutes 32% of the allocated fund will be used for the education of classes 9 to 12 which constitute secondary education. In addition to that, INR 22 crore will be used for educating teachers, most of whom have qualified Sarkari Exam to get the job and this further, includes the teachers of the State Council for Educational Research and Training and Districts Institutes of Education and Training. The sanction to the Punjab government for the same is provided by the Union Ministry of Education. 

Spillover Of INR 47 Crore To Be Addressed

INR 47.33 crore comes from the spillover of the previous fiscal year of 2020-21. The program is aimed to provide both equitable and inclusive quality education to the student. The share for the same lies in the ratio of 60:40 of the centre and the state. Previously, while citing the increase of student enrolment in Punjab, the state government has sent a proposal of INR 2, 942 crore in the annual work plan proposal. The money for the same is said to be used in infrastructure up-gradation and modernizing the existing infrastructures of the schools. Hopefully, the result of the same will be visible in the Sarkari Result of various national and state government exams. The proposal for the same was approved by the state executive committee. Previously, to improve the education sector of the state, the Punjab Government was asked to prioritize Right to Education that included free books and uniforms, school grants for sports and library, foundational numeracy and literacy, gender equity, inclusive education and vocational training. 

Current Education Scenario In Punjab 

The Gross Access Ratio has pointed out that the state houses 26 habitations that do not support any primary schools and on top of that, there are 18 habitations that do not support upper primary school defying the normal norms. The PAB meeting which was organized also indicated that nine villages of Punjab do not have any access to either secondary or upper primary schools. When these stats came into notice, the School Education Department was asked to submit a report of the students who are attending schools from these regions. Also, the state government was asked to identify the out-of-school children with special needs and to assess the scenario of school dropouts due to COVID. 

What Is The Government Expenditure On Education?

The budget of the year 2021-22 saw a cut of 6% in the education sector. The budget of the education Ministry fell to INR 93, 223 from INR 99, 311 crore. The cutoff has been explained as rationalisation due to the urgency which was faced by the country due to COVID-19. The government while making the budget allocation said that it will not affect the higher educational institutions and the budget for the same will be provided directly by the National Research Foundation and the budget of the ministry will not be used for the same. According to experts, 6% of the total GDP should be allocated to education. However, the GDP of the education sector remained the same at 2.8% in the year 2014-2019 and it saw an increase to 3-3.5% in 2019-2021 only to see a fall again. While noticing the fall of fund allotment this year, Nirmala Sitharaman, the finance minister said that the issue of the same will be taken care of in the upcoming years to align with the goals of the National Education Policy, 2020. She further commented that INR 50, 000 will be provided in the next five years for the National Research Foundation. It will be interesting to see how the education sector will perform with this reduced budget this year. 

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