“The state budget mechanically repeats the same old promises for school education. This will not take us anywhere near strengthening public education or build a common school system based on the neighbourhood principle to provide equal opportunities to all children,” says Mr Niranjan aradhya V.P. of the Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University.
He points out that the state government has failed to set aside even 20 per cent of its total budgetary allocations for school education this year . “A mere 11 per cent of the total budget for the sector is grossly inadequate to bring public education from pre-primary to secondary level on par with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, the new scheme announced by the Union government,” he maintains.
While this year’s allocation of Rs 28, 151 crore for primary, secondary and higher education is greater by Rs 1,570 crore over last year’s, most stakeholders find this a negligible increase.
Even the proposal to construct 1,500 new schools has not won them over. In educationist, Sunder K.M’s view the government needs to urgently improve the quality of education in its schools and he doesn’t think introducing English medium is a must to achieve this.
“Pursuing school education in the vernacular language has never been a disadvantage as many from our time have proved,” he argues. Mr Sundar believes the English medium debate has been used by private managements as advertise their schools and commercialise education. “One should realise that this also fuels unnecessary controversy. Once a level playing field is guaranteed for students in government schools, parents will feel confident to admit their children to them. If the government follows the Navodaya school and Kendriya Vidyalaya models, everything else will fall into place gradually,” he suggests.
Ask an education officer about the government going back on its promise on introducing English medium in its schools and he seems as much at sea as anyone else, merely referring to its announcement to start a thousand Karnataka public schools in Hobli headquarters and saying very little else....