Budget 2017: Education sector may get more funds, IITs to benefit
Entrance exams for higher studies will be streamlined as the government will set up a nodal agency called the National Testing Service.
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley is likely to give the education sector more funds in the budget this year and allocate a sizeable amount for promoting quality research in IITs, IISRs and Research and NITs, sources said.
The last two budgets presented by the Narendra Modi government had focused on creating new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).
These new IITs and IIMs have become operational but the quality is a major issue especially in terms of infrastructure and faculty.
None of the IITs figures in the top 200 in global rankings, which is another cause of concern for the government.
It is expected that the government might increase the funding for the IITs, especially for carrying out quality research. In the last budget, IITs got a 13% increase in funding and this year it is expected to go further up.
“IITs are likely to get more funding to strengthen the infrastructure, hire new faculties, build state-of-the-art laboratories and for the construction of new hostels. All this will also help them to improve their global rankings,” said a source.
An announcement is expected on the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship for outstanding students. Entrance exams for higher studies will be streamlined as the government will set up a nodal agency called the National Testing Service.
Read: Budget 2017: ‘Business as usual’ not enough to solve India’s education crisis
In the previous budget, the government had announced setting up 10 private and 10 public institutions as world class. It was hailed as a good step that could empower select institutions of excellence to compete at the global level.
However, progress in this project has been slow as the ministry is yet to start the process of identifying the institutions.
On the school education front, the enhanced budget will be used for improving the quality of education outcome, especially in schools with access to education largely been achieved by the government. Funds will be spent on training teachers and improving learning outcomes.
These outcomes are the minimum levels of learning that will help teachers monitor students against expected benchmarks. Poor quality of education in government schools is a major concern. A number of surveys have pointed to the low learning levels in schools, saying half of sixth graders in government-run schools in Delhi were unable to read at all.
Also read: Anticipating Union Budget 2017-18 for India’s education sector
Since Independence, many commissions and committees have recommended that public expenditure on education must be 6% of the gross domestic product (GDP). In Rajya Sabha too, MPs asked the government last year to spend 6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) on education, up from the current 4.9%.
Countries like South Korea spend over 7% of the GDP on education which has helped them become a pioneer in research across the world. Most developed countries spend between 6-7% of their GDP on education.