Education Sector Schemes as Outlined in Budget 2019
Education is one of the most important and core issues for the rapid development of a country. Recently, the Central Government has taken a bold step in 2019 budget for the rapid progress in the education sector, especially in the area of Research and Development (R&D). So huge money has been allocated for the education sector in this year’s budget.
Establishing World Class Higher Education Institutes
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting her first budget in Modi 2.0 government, unveiled a new plan to make India a global hub of higher education. Towards this end, the Union Government has allocated Rs 400 crore for reform in higher education, including setting up world class higher education institutions in the country under ‘Study in India’ initiative of Union Human Resource Development Ministry (MHRD). Simultaneously, efforts will be made to publicise India as a viable education destination for students in South Asia, Middle East, Africa, MENA and CIS regions. The objective behind this scheme is to transform India’s higher education into a competitive and famous education hub all over the world. This policy will certainly help to attract students from abroad for higher education in India.
Nirmala Sitharaman disclosed the recent achievements in the field of education and research in the country. A decade ago, not a single Indian institution was among the top 200 in the university rankings in the world. This year, three Indian institutions have found a place in the top 200 in QS World Rankings 2019. This includes Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) at Delhi and Mumbai, and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at Bengaluru that have made the nation proud.
The government is also mulling to establish a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) in place of the University Grants Commission (UGC). This is required to promote greater autonomy and improve academic outcomes.
National Research Foundation
Focus on research and innovation in education is on the top priority list of the present government. Therefore, National Research Foundation (NRF) is to be established to coordinate and promote research in the country. NRF will provide focus on strengthening research capacity across higher education in India, in all the disciplines relevant to our national priorities. It will assimilate all grants being given by the different ministries, and the total funding available will be strengthened if needed. It will cover areas of Sciences, Technology, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities. The NRF will act as a bridge between researchers and the government and prevent duplication of efforts. Other function of the NRF will be to monitor the quality of research progress by organising national seminars and keep an eye on the progress of research at higher educational institutions.
National Education Policy
There is a proposal to bring in a new education policy (NEP) to transform school and higher education in the country.
A Committee headed by space scientist Dr K Kasturi Rangan has submitted the draft report of National Educational Policy to MHRD. It was opened for public feedback till June 30, 2019. Major recommendations include extending the Right to Education (RTE) provisions to secondary education upto 18 years for all children, discontinuing the M Phil degree, and increasing the tenure of Bachelor’s courses to four years from the current three years, with multiple exit points. An important recommendation of the draft NEP on the three-language formula had to be hurriedly withdrawn due to an uproar in the southern states, specially Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Overall, an institution called Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog (RSA) will be formed to be the custodian of the NEP.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)
Under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the government has been encouraging industry relevant skill training for the youth to enable them to get vocational jobs. Now the government intends to increase focus on imparting skills of the future, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality and Robotics. This trained pool of Indian youth will not only cater to the domestic demand for skilled workers in high-tech industries but also open up avenues for them to take up high paying jobs abroad.