Centre is paving way for privatisation: Activists on Budget 2021

Academics said that the government is stepping away from strengthening the public education system and is encouraging privatisation.

Centre is paving way for privatisation: Activists on Budget 2021 representational image (source: Shutterstock)
Team Careers360 | Feb 1, 2021 - 5:31 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Activists, criticising the Union Budget 2021, said that the budget is ‘paving the way’ for privatisation of education. They argued that the low allocations for Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan and girls education will increase the student dropout rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Right to Education Forum, in a statement, said: “The allocations are nowhere close to the required amount needed to undo the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure every child returns to school. Online courses do not guarantee quality education; rather it widens the inequality, as evident over the last 10 months.”

Academics said that the government is stepping away from strengthening the public education system and is encouraging privatisation. The decrease in the allocation for Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, they said, is a major indicator of this trend.

“It is strange that the budget allocated for Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan for 2021-22 is only Rs 31,300 Crore, far less than the budget allocated for 2019-20 which was INR 36,400 crore and also less than the Actual Expenditure of 2019-20 which was INR 32,376.52 crore,” said Ambarish Rai, national convenor of RTE Forum.

“Instead of increasing allocations to strengthen an inclusive public education system, the government is paving the way for privatisation and public private partnership (PPP) model in education,” he said.

Union Budget 2021 and COVID-19

Academics said that this will adversely impact children, particularly those from poor and marginalised communities. RTE Forum said that the government “should have focused on the exceptional challenges arising out of COVID-19 pandemic”.

The forum said that the budget should have focused on support measures for marginalized children, ensuring re-enrolment of those not returning to school and implement measures to reduce the digital divide aggravated by the pandemic.

RTE Forum also said that there was no mention of gender inclusion fund as promised in the NEP. Further, the Budget 2021 has reduced the allocation for the National Scheme for Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education from Rs 110 crore to Rs 1 crore.

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