NEW DELHI: Focusing on the National Education Policy 2020, the government has decided to qualitatively strengthen 15,000 schools so that they emerge as a model for others. Research and innovation, another key focus of NEP, gets a boost with the announcement of Rs 50,000 crore for the new National Research Foundation by Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The minister also announced 100 new Sainik Schools to be set up in partnership with NGOs, private schools and states.
The government increased allocations for Kendriya Vidyalayas (Rs 6,800 crore as compared to Rs 5,516 crore in 2020), Navodaya Vidyalayas (Rs 3,800 crore as against Rs 3,300 crore) and mid-day-meal (Rs 11,500 crore as against Rs 11,000 crore). Similarly, funds for world class institutions have been increased from Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,710 crore and scholarships for college and university students from Rs 141 crore to Rs 207 crore.
While National Education Policies envisaged 6% of GDP for the sector, the Budget has witnessed a drop. The ministry of education has been allocated a total of Rs 93,224.31 crore for 2020-21, a decrease of Rs 6087.21 crore from last year’s budgetary allocation.
Sitharaman also announced a central university for Ladakh and the setting up of the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), an umbrella structure having four separate bodies for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding and National Language Translation Mission to enable the wealth of knowledge on the Internet being made available in major Indian languages.
The FM also announced a ‘Glue Grant’ in 9 cities hosting various centrally-funded research institutions, universities, and colleges to create a formal umbrella structure so that these institutions can have better synergy. Also the first budget amid Covid-19 saw announcement of setting up a National Digital Educational Architecture to support teaching-learning activities.