With the presentation of the first-ever digital union budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has marked the beginning of a new era. She announced an increase in capital expenditure and the budget focused more on healthcare and infrastructure.
In her speech, Sitharaman mentioned that there are six pillars on which the budget is based namely -health and well being, physical and financial capital, and Infrastructure, inclusive development of inspirational India, reinvigorating human capital, innovation, and R&D with minimum government and maximum governance,
Data shows that India now has one of the lowest death rates of 112 per million population and one of the lowest active cases of about 130 per million. Clearly, this very ratio has laid the foundation of a revival of hope which the people of India are expecting after the budget being announced.
Some of the initiatives which the government has announced under the New Education Policy (NEP) are:
- School Education.
More than 15,000 schools will be qualitatively strengthened. They shall emerge as exemplar schools in their regions mentoring other schools to achieve the ideals of the Policy. Moreover, 100 new Sainik Schools will be set up in partnership with NGOs/ private schools/states.
- Higher Education.
In Budget 2019-20, the Finance Minister had mentioned the setting-up of the Higher Education Commission of India. This year the minister has announced to introduce legislation to implement the same. It will be an umbrella body having 4 separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding. For accessible higher education in Ladakh, the government proposes to set up a Central University.
The other important projects to be taken up as part of NEP are Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare. Initiatives on Education will be developed for all school teachers in the form of National Professional Standards for Teachers- NPST. This will enhance the capabilities of teachers and will be followed by all 92 lakh teachers of the public and private school system in the country.
Toy- based learning will be introduced to transform classroom activities from mundane and rote learning to an engaging and joyful experience. A National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) will be set up within the context of a Digital First Mindset where the Digital Architecture will not only support teaching and learning activities but also educational planning, governance, and administrative activities of the Centre and the States/ Union Territories.
It will provide a diverse education eco-system architecture for the development of digital infrastructure.
For children with hearing impairments, the Government will work on the standardization of Indian Sign language across the country and develop National and State Curriculum materials for use by them. There are a number of senior and retired teachers. They will be used for mentoring of school teachers and educators through constant online/offline support on subjects, themes, and pedagogy.
To this effect, a holistic progress card is proposed to provide students with valuable information on their strengths, areas of interest, needed areas of focus and thereby helping them in making favourable career choices. To enable increased access to resources, online modules covering the entire range of adult education will be introduced.
Taking this further, the government proposed to establish a National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers for Holistic Advancement (NISTHA). Thereby enabling the training of 56 lakh school teachers. The government will also introduce CBSE Board Exam reforms in a phased manner to be effective from the 2022-23 academic session to reduce exam pressure and stress.
It will move away from rote-learning and students shall be tested on their conceptual clarity and application of knowledge to real-world situations. To strengthen academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions, it is proposed to put in place a regulatory mechanism to permit dual degrees, joint degrees, twinning arrangements, and other such mechanisms.
Undoubtedly, the Union budget has put forth several incentives and measures with the goodwill to boost up economic activities. However, as far as NEP and its implementation are concerned there are many impediments which the government will face at the national and state level owing to meager funds that have been allocated to the education sector till now.
Though it was being anticipated that the education sector will be allocated more funds than ever due to the proposal of New Education Policy(2020), the decline by 6% is showing some other graph and will surely add on to the misery of ever suffering Education sector.