Thursday, February 18, 2010

India shining? Not when govt is stingy with education funds

Nowhere is the disconnect between the dreams of a billion Indians and the cold, hard reality more stark than in education. Even as funds from both, the government and the private sector, flood the system, daunting tasks remain — bringing down the jaw-dropping drop-out rate of over 50% by secondary stage, or making over 300 million adults literate, or making higher education available to more than the meagre 11% youth at present.

One striking aspect of this complex problem is that there is a disconnect between promises made by politicians or policy makers and actual action. The Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), a Delhi based thinktank has picked up a few significant promises made in election manifestoes and budget or plan documents and tracked down the actual financial allocations made towards it. The results are stunning: in most cases the money falls far short of what is needed to implement the rosy promises.

Take the case of the promise made by the Congress in its 2009 election manifesto, and later included in the 2009-10 budget — to set up model schools (on the Kendriya Vidyalaya lines) in each block of the country. That means 6000 schools in all. This wouldn’t solve the problem of either drop out rates or poor quality, but at least it was a beginning. But CBGA analysis shows that the provisions in the 2009 budget for the first 2500 schools was a mere Rs 9321 crore, of which the central govt’s share was Rs 7457 crore.

Full report here Times of India

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