Pune: Yet again, the State budget for the year 2018-19 has turned out to be a complete dampener for the education sector. Educationists have expressed disappointment after State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar presented out the budget in the State Assembly on Friday.
Educationists stated that a stronger budget was needed for improvement of quality of education. The focus was on school education since for past few months many decisions stirred that sector.
“It was a clear disappointment for the education sector. I had high hopes from the State government after the decision to close down 1,300 schools created an uproar. It was expected that the government will make special budget allocations for the students affected by this decision. Instead, the budget stated that 100 schools of international standards will be created. The government is simply trying to repair the image after the blunder caused by closure of schools. This idea of international schools is like showing a carrot,” said Nihal Kirnalli, educationist.
“The education sector needs 25 per cent budget allocation whereas it got 17 to 18 per cent. For last three years, there is shortage of funds for reimbursement of SC, ST, OBC, EBC students and government has increased limit on income criteria for beneficiaries under Shahu Maharaj scholarship. Skill development centres for students going abroad were not the priority and yet the budget has it. Thus, overall, the government is not keen on education reforms,” said Mukund Kirdat, RTE activist and educationist.
“Nothing promising was felt in the budget for school education. The State government has failed to realise, if they don’t emphasise on school education, how will a student flourish in the higher classes? The 25 per cent reservation under right to education (RTE) is for underprivileged children. By not making concrete provisions in improving the RTE situation in schools and not giving remuneration or better infrastructure to schools to run the RTE programme is ultimately affecting the children’s education.
“The State government should ensure a strong budget allocation for education development so that students get quality education at primary level. Instead of shutting down thousands of schools, the State government should have improved infrastructure of those schools,” said Matin Mujawar, president of Shikshan Hakka Manch.