The Centre on Monday asked the states to cooperate in implementation of the Right To Education Act as a whopping Rs 1.5 lakh crore would be required for it in the next five years.
Chairing a meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education, Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal said that the Union Government could spend about Rs 45,000 crore for the purpose under the 11th Plan. Besides, it may spend another Rs 45,000 crore in the first three years of the 12th Plan.
"The kind of money we are looking at is 1.5 lakh core to be able to provide quality education at elementary level. We have about Rs 90,000 crore in the 11th Plan and the first three years of the 12th Plan. We need another Rs 60,000 crore. We need your cooperation. We need a constructive way to work together," he said at the meeting attended by 25 state education ministers.
He asked the states to increase the budget allocation to education so that the country can achieve six per cent GDP spending in this sector.
West Bengal Education Minister Partha Dey, however, expressed reservation over the Centre changing the funding pattern of various schemes. He said it was adding to the burden of the states and the "sharing of money should be realistic".
However, Sibal urged the states to come forward for this "national enterprise of education" and said the country cannot wait and has to provide quality education to every child.
The Right To Education Act, which seeks to make education a fundamental right of every child in the age group of six to 14 years, prescribes norms and standards for infrastructure, academic responsibilities of teachers and pupil-teacher ratio for primary and upper primary education.
The minister emphasised on giving full liberty to students to decide the course they want to pursue instead of imposing a career option on them.
Sibal said that the government will set up a task force soon to study the recommendations of Yashpal Committee and suggest measures on how to "go forward".
The Yashpal Committee has suggested setting up a National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER), which would subsume all regulatory bodies in higher education. The government is preparing a Bill for the purpose.
Sibal said the Union Government is not in favour of having a single board for the entire country. It respects diversity and realises the relevance of each board.
"However, for professional courses like Science and Mathematics, a core curriculum will be framed in next two months' time," he said.
Sibal said the government was in favour of giving complete autonomy to the universities. The universities can forge alliance with other universities in the world.
For ensuring quality, the government will put in place stringent entry barriers for aspiring education providers. For promoting minority education, the government is in favour of setting up a Central Madrassa Board.
Sibal said the government is committed to provide education to the physically challenged. He asked the states to ensure full participation of differently-abled children in education.
Sibal also outlined the other initiatives of the ministry, including the move to set up educational tribunals and a brain gain policy to attract academics from outside.
Speaking at the meeting, Rural Development Minister C P Joshi asserted that more focus should be given to improve learning level of students, as the failure rate is as high as 50 per cent in Class-X in many states.
Most of the students fail in Mathematics and English, he said.
Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge outlined the schemes being started by his ministry for skill development. Tribal Affirs Minister Kantilal Bhuria sought opening of more universities and educational institutions in tribal dominated areas of the country.
The CABE is the apex advisory body on education.