Thursday, February 18, 2010

[ZESTCaste] India shining? Not when govt is stingy with education funds

India shining? Not when govt is stingy with education funds
Subodh Varma , TNN, Feb 18, 2010, 02.57am IST

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.

How much does it cost to set up a KV type school? CBGA says that as
per the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) itself, each
school will cost Rs 6.77 crore, and 2500 of them would need Rs 16,925
crore! So, the government has allocated less than half of what is
required for setting up less than half the number of schools they had
promised. For all 6000 schools, to be set up till 2012, the cost would
be Rs 40,620 crore but the Eleventh Plan has set aside just Rs 12,750
crore, according to CBGA.

Another hollow promise, made by the ruling party in its 2009
manifesto, is that of providing free education to dalit and adivasi
children. CBGA calculations show that the government allocated Rs
11,352 crore through schemes under 4 ministries for giving various
types of assistance to dalit and adivasi students. Using census data,
a population of 13.68 crore for dalit and adivasi youth aged between 5
to 29 years can be assumed. Thus, government help works out to about
Rs 830 per student per year. The amount will be even less as all of
them are not in educational institutions.

Compare this to what the latest 64th round of National Sample Survey
data has to say: out-of-pocket expenditure by an average parent on a
child in government school is Rs 1243 at the elementary and Rs 2597 at
the secondary/ higher secondary level. A set of books can cost between
Rs 2400 and Rs 7500 for professional courses, but the scheme for
maintenance, including books, gives only Rs 130 to Rs 340 per month
for day scholars for all expenses. Another huge promise that seems to
be floundering is that of providing for monetary incentives to girl
child for educating her from primary to higher secondary stages. This
promise has been repeated in budget documents, plan documents and
election manifestoes.

According to CBGA calculations, the government allocated Rs 11,417 in
2009-10 for different schemes under 5 ministries for helping girl
students. The number of girl of age 5 to 18 years, projected from
Census data, is about 15.7 crore. So the financial allocation is a
measly Rs 725 per year. This is less than a third of the expenditure
incurred by parents for a daughter at the higher secondary stage.


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1 comment:

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