‘Disappointing’, ‘overlooks pandemic-hit education sector’, students say

The budget of the Minister of Finance criticized by student associations

Image credit: PTI Image

New Delhi:

The Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, today, February 1, presented the Union Budget for the financial year 2022-2023. Although the Union budget this year aimed to strengthen digital learning by creating a new digital university, several organizations and forums have criticized the Union budget for the financial year 2022-2023. Minister’s budget citing misallocation of funds and neglecting key issues.

While the overall budget allocation of the Department of School Education and Literacy for the financial year 2022-23 is Rs. 63,449.37 crore, of which the program allocation is Rs. 51,052.37 crore and the non-programme allocation is Rs 12,397 crore, the overall higher education budget allocation in the next financial year 2022-23 is Rs 40,828.35 crore, of which the program allocation is Rs 7,454.97 crore and the non-programme allocation is Rs 33,373.38 crore. Spending on financial aid programs for marginalized, minority, poor, and female students either decreased or increased slightly.

The Islamic Student Organization of India (SIO) has said that the Union Budget 2022 has failed to stop the downward spiral in education. “The maintained status quo in planned spending highlights the utter neglect of the pandemic-affected education sector,” SIO said, adding that the two years of the Covid pandemic have resulted in an unprecedented academic loss of students. at all levels.

“We had hoped the budget would give a major boost to education and reverse this loss, but it has been a disappointment. Other than a few e-learning initiatives, there was not much in the budget to address this issue. Digital education can only complement in-person learning and can never be an alternative,” SIO said.

The organization saying that after a year of drastic cuts in the education budget, with spending increased this year, much of the extra allocation has been directed to ‘trickle down’ schemes such as Rashtriya Uchchatar Shikshan Abhiyan (RUSA) and ‘Examplar Schools which promote only a few successful institutes and have proved to be of little use to the student community as a whole.

On the other hand, spending on financial aid schemes for marginalized, minority, poor and female students either decreased or increased slightly. This is a cause for concern, as scholarships and scholarships are key to ensuring social justice in education. This reduction will likely further increase educational disparity in society, the student organization added.

The TEN Forum also said in a statement: “The 2022-23 Union budget fails to address the challenges posed by digital learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, again focusing on digital learning and proposing the expansion of e-VIDYA, instead of focusing on the need to reopen schools as a priority.

The Union budget presented by the finance minister, according to the TEN forum, should have ensured the safe operation of schools and the reopening of schools, schooling and targeted support for learners who are at risk of not returning to school. school, especially Dalits, Adivasis, girls. , people living in poverty and people with disabilities. The RTE forum also said the budget should provide support measures to recover the learning loss of all marginalized students and the socio-emotional impact during the disruption of education by providing special in-person training courses. in accordance with the RTE 2009 law and guaranteeing the food security of children.

Calling Ms Sitharaman’s budget ‘disappointing’, the National Union of Students of India said students expected a waiver of student loan, raising serious concerns about scholarship and pending scholarship for students. He asked what had happened to the National Research Foundation, which had been the title of the budget for the past two years. NSUI President Neeraj Kundan said that throughout her budget, the Finance Minister has emphasized digital education and e-content, but what she does not address is is the fundamental problem of equipping schools and colleges with laptops and computers. Another major issue is for students who have taken a student loan and have not been placed, it is very difficult for these students to pay the EMI, NSUI is asking to waive three years of EMI for these students , did he declare.

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