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HRD ministry wants Rs 2,300cr more for Covid-hit edu sector

In the backdrop of the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent disruption of academic activities, the ministry of human resource development projected a requirement of Rs 2,306.4 crore for the development of online courses/ programmes over five years.

During its presentation to the 15th finance commission on Monday, the ministry also presented a requirement of Rs 55,840 crore for providing ICT facilities to 3.10 lakh government schools. The government also proposed providing digital devices to 40% of the students in higher education in the next five years.

Apart from the additional grant required to enable the 3.10 lakh government schools with ICT, the ministry also spelt out the cost requirement for safety in schools as per Covid-19 guidelines, which include requirement of Rs 1,000 per teacher, Rs 1,500 per school for media and community mobilisation and safe school operational grants of Rs 25,000 per school of upto 100 students to Rs 1 lakh per school with 1,000 or more students.

The ministry in its presentation before the commission projected a requirement to the tune of Rs 10.37 lakh crore for the sector, which include Rs 4 lakh crore for higher education and Rs 6.37 lakh crore for school education and literacy over the next five years.

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The ministry in its presentation for higher education cited multiple regulatory agencies, lack of holistic education and flexibility in choice of subjects and curriculum as major challenges and stated that the reason for the same is lack of funding and appropriate policy to meet emerging challenges.

The reforms, as per the presentation, focussed on increasing the present gross enrolment ratio of 28% to 50% by 2035, more programmes to be delivered in Indian languages, multiple entry and exit options during course of study and technology driven education. For the same the ministry projected a financial requirement of Rs 4 lakh crore over the next five years after the implementation of Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP) from 2020-21 to 2025-26 is a total. It also projected a requirement of Rs 60,900 crore over five years for making devices like laptop, tablets, mobiles, televisions, etc. available to students.

Among the reform strategies presented to the commission, a significant number of proposals were those that were made in the yet to be announced National Education Policy 2020. The department of department of school education and literacy projected a requirement of an additional fund to the tune of Rs 1.13 lakh crore for implementation of the policy.

Based on the discussion, the commission will make the final recommendation to the government.

Courtesy: TOI

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