Education is an essential component of a nation’s development and is crucial for creating an informed and skilled workforce. Hence, the education sector’s involvement in defining the national budget is crucial as it helps allocate resources to improve the quality of education and ensure access to education for all.
The government has consistently increased its investment in the education sector over the years. According to the Ministry of Education, the government’s allocation for education in the Union Budget of 2021-22 was INR 93,224 crores, which is a significant increase from previous years. The government has also launched various initiatives to improve the quality of education, such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the Right to Education Act, and the National Skill Development Corporation.
Historically, India’s investment in education has increased from 2.7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1950-51 to 4.43% of the GDP in 2020-21. However, it is still below the global average of 4.9% and falls short of the government’s goal of 6% of the GDP for education. Nevertheless, the government’s continued efforts and increased allocation for education in the national budget show a commitment to improving education in the country.
Key highlights on education budget of recent years
In 2019, the Indian government allocated a significant increase in the education sector budget, with a focus on improving access to quality education, particularly in rural areas.
In 2020, the budget emphasized increasing access to education and providing vocational training to the youth.
In 2021, the budget showed a continued emphasis on digital infrastructure and digital education with the allocation of funds for the National Recruitment Agency and National Digital Educational Architecture.
The allocation of funds towards teacher training and research in the education sector has seen an increase in recent budgets, indicating a commitment to improving the quality of education.
The government has launched several initiatives, such as the National Education Policy and the New Education Policy (NEP), aimed at transforming the education sector in India and making quality education accessible to all.
In 2023, the education sector received the highest-ever allocation of $ 13.66 Bn.
Here are the 4 focus points-
Focus 1- National digital library
The Indian government has made significant efforts to build a National Digital Library in recent years, with a focus on providing access to quality educational resources to students, teachers, and researchers.
In the recent budgets, the government has allocated significant funds towards building and expanding the National Digital Library. These funds will be used to enhance the library’s digital infrastructure, increase the number of resources available, and make it more accessible to users.
The National Digital Library is designed to be a one-stop platform for educational resources, including textbooks, journals, research papers, and multimedia content.
The government’s focus on building a National Digital Library is in line with its efforts to promote digital education and make quality educational resources more accessible to students, teachers, and researchers.
The allocation of funds towards building a National Digital Library showcases the government’s commitment to improving the education sector and providing access to quality resources to all.
The National Digital Library will play a critical role in promoting digital literacy, advancing research, and supporting the continuous learning and professional development of teachers and students.
Focus 2- Education delivery and teacher’s training
The Indian government has placed a strong emphasis on teacher training in recent years. For example, the budget has allocated funds for the National Teachers’ Training Program, which aims to provide quality training and support to teachers.
In line with the focus on digital education, the government has also allocated funds for digital teacher training programs to equip teachers with the skills needed to integrate technology in the classroom.
The government has launched several initiatives to support and upskill teachers, such as the Digital Saksharta Abhiyan, which aims to train over 2 crore teachers in the country.
The allocation of funds towards teacher training and professional development highlights the importance placed on ensuring that teachers have the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver quality education to students.
By investing in the training of teachers, the Indian government is promoting a culture of continuous learning and improvement in the education sector.
The allocation of funds towards digital teaching resources and training will help teachers effectively integrate technology into their teaching and prepare students for the future.
Focus 3- Make AI work for India
The Indian government has launched several initiatives to promote AI innovation in the country, with a focus on driving economic growth, improving efficiency and productivity, and promoting digital transformation.
The National Artificial Intelligence Portal, launched by the government, serves as a single-window platform for all AI-related information, resources, and initiatives in India.
The government has also launched the National AI Program, which aims to promote the development and adoption of AI across various sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, education, and financial services.
The government has allocated funds towards research and development in the field of AI, with a focus on developing cutting-edge technologies and promoting innovation.
The government has also launched the AI for All program, which aims to provide training and support to individuals, businesses, and academic institutions to develop their AI skills and capabilities.
The government’s efforts to promote AI innovation in India are aimed at driving economic growth, improving efficiency and productivity, and promoting digital transformation. These initiatives will play a critical role in positioning India as a leader in the field of AI and shaping the country’s digital future.
Focus 4- Physical libraries for rural students
Physical libraries play a crucial role in promoting literacy and providing access to educational resources, particularly in rural areas where access to technology may be limited.
The Indian government has recognized the importance of physical libraries and has made efforts to establish them in rural areas. The government has allocated funds in recent budgets to build and upgrade public libraries, particularly in rural and underdeveloped areas.
Indian states have also shown support for the establishment of physical libraries, with many states launching initiatives to build and upgrade public libraries.
The allocation of funds towards building and upgrading physical libraries highlights the government’s commitment to improving access to educational resources for all students, particularly those in rural areas.
Physical libraries play an important role in promoting reading and literacy among children, particularly in rural areas where access to books and educational resources may be limited.
By establishing physical libraries in rural areas, the Indian government is making a positive impact on the education sector and promoting the continuous learning and professional development of students, teachers, and the wider community.
The Indian government has shown a strong commitment to improving the education sector, as evident in the increased allocation of funds in recent years.
The emphasis on digital infrastructure and digital education is a positive step toward preparing students for the future and promoting technology-based learning.
The allocation of funds towards teacher training and research highlights the importance placed on improving the quality of education in India.
The launch of initiatives such as the National Education Policy and the New Education Policy (NEP) showcases the government’s efforts to transform the education sector and provide quality education to all.
The allocation of funds towards increasing access to education, particularly in rural areas, is commendable and will go a long way in promoting inclusive education.
The education sector budget in India is an investment in the future, as it lays the foundation for the development of a skilled and educated workforce.