Bangalore: The annual education budget of Karnataka state has increased to Rs.18,923 crore from Rs.10,505 crore in 2010-11. But the increase of Rs.8,418 crore over three years, has not resulted in better educated students.
At every level of administration, education cess is collected separately, but the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for rural Karnataka does not show that all this additional funding has improved the quality of education.
The question is how is this money spent? Just where are public funds going? According to the ASER report 2013, the learning and mathematical skills of students studying in government and private schools are in decline.
If compared to the 2010 findings, both indictors show a negative trend. Yet, in the same period government spending in the education sector almost doubled with the implementation of the Right To Education (RTE) Act.
The issues: Education officials and teachers blame the Joyful Learning (Nali Kali) scheme, which was introduced with the support of Unicef.
Teachers who are part of this scheme told this newspaper that the scheme has made text books redundant till Std III, which has resulted in poor learning levels.
“Private school children have text books from Std I. But government school children get text books only after Std IV. This scheme has been hurting students since the last four-five years," said a teacher.
Decentralising the system will also help. “At present, everything is imposed from the top. There is no community participation in deciding the curriculum.” said an official in the education department.
Harish J. Bhat, an academician, said the problem with the present system is that there is no accountability. “Instead of releasing money directly, the government should think of de-centralisation of schools. Teachers should be recruited from local communities to make them more responsible. Unfortunately, everything is today imposed from Bangalore,” he said....