Allocations up but many issues remain unaddressed, say teachers and educators
By DECCAN CHRONICLE | Bansari trivedi J
HYDERABAD: Even though the Union Budget for the education sector has gone up from Rs 99,881 crore in 2022-23, to Rs 1,12,899 crore in 2023-24, not all teachers and educators are satisfied. They question the plans and schemes for the overall development of over 15 lakh schools in the country.
The Union Budget 2023 has announced a new scheme - National digital library for children and adolescents – ensure availability and accessibility of quality books. The states will in turn be encouraged to establish physical libraries at panchayat and ward levels.
In addition to this, to revive the reading habit, the National Book Trust, Children’s Book Trust and other sources as well as NGOs, will be encouraged to provide non-curricular titles in English and regional languages in all libraries.
Laying emphasis on financial literacy, the Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharam said that financial sector regulators and other such organisations would be encouraged to provide age-appropriate reading material.
Teachers' training has also been re-envisioned through innovative pedagogy, curriculum transaction, continuous professional development, dipstick surveys and ICT- implementation. District institutes of education and training will be developed as vibrant institutes of excellence.
Furthermore, in order to strengthen the existing 740 Eklavya model residential schools, serving 3.5 lakh students, efforts are on to recruit 38,000 teachers and support staff over the next three years.
However, some educators believe that three years is too long a time to recruit teachers as till then quality of education will remain badly affected. They added that the digital library scheme was launched last year but 95 per cent of students have not used it as the government did not provide the funds.
Teachers’ recruitment should be priority
Currently the 23 Eklavya schools in the state are being run by part-time and temporary staff. Recruitment of permanent staff will be helpful and we warmly welcome this move. Each school is in need of 29 teaching and 23 non-teaching staff. The responsibilities and commitment that a permanent employee carries is different from the part-timers.
V. Sarveshwar Reddy, additional secretary, Telangana Tribal Welfare Residential Schools
First pump in money for digital library
The Budget is not sufficient for the development of 15 lakh schools in India. Where is the budget for the development of all those institutes? Only teacher training will not suffice if the schools are in a bad shape. As far as the digital library is concerned, it was launched last year but no school was able to install it because the funds were not released. What is the point of having it again if there are no funds?
CH Ravi, general secretary, Telangana State United Teachers Federation
Technical education equally important
To improve the standards of education, especially in primary schools, one needs to consider technical and project-based education, which has not been taken into account. No strategies have been announced for the infrastructure development of government schools and colleges. Many of them are housed in dilapidated buildings. Resolving pending issues and focusing on health and social development of the staff working in private schools have not been considered.
Yadagiri Shekhar Rao, president, Telangana Private School Management Association
Include developmental psychology
Teachers are the prime source of building a child’s foundation. Teacher training must be improvised nationwide and it should include pedagogical strategies that will help them connect with their students intellectually. Most of us focus on grades over fundamental development of a child. Developmental psychology must be added as a subject in the training program for teachers. There should be focus on classroom management and technical and soft skills.
Aarti Vishwani, educator
Hats-off for focusing on skill development
In line with the government's vision in NEP 2020, the budget's focus on skill development and industrial linkage is welcome! The demand-driven approach has the potential to increase quality of training and thereby employability. However, more needs to be done at the school level. Apart from access, we need to also focus on improving learning outcomes at the school-level which lay the foundation for higher learning.
Vriti Bansal, public policy professional, former educator