Now, market to fund higher education

Now, market to fund higher education

The government on Monday announced setting up of a non-profit organisation which will leverage funds from the market to finance the infrastructure augmentation of  the country’s top higher educational institutions.

Higher Education Financing Agency will be set up with an initial capital base of Rs 1,000 crore, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget for the next fiscal in Parliament.

The funds will be supplemented with donations including funds from India Inc under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Opening of 62 new Navodaya Vidyalayas in un-served districts and creation of a digital depository for safe storage and retrieval of educational certificates of students were other key announcements made by the minister.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, however, saw an increase in its budgetary allocations by just 4.80% for the fiscal 2016-17 with allocation of 72,394 crore, against Rs 69074.76 crore earmarked last year. Jaitley told the House that measures to improve the quality of education in the country would be the “next big step” by the Narendra Modi government.

“After universalisation of primary education throughout the country, we want to take the next big step forward by focusing on the quality of education. An increasing share of allocation under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will be allocated for this,” he said.

Focus on qualityReiterating the government’s commitment to empower higher educational institutions, the minister also said ten public and ten private institutions will be supported so that they emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions.

For this, an enabling regulatory architecture will be provided and detailed scheme will be formulated, he added.

According to demands of grants for 2016-17, the government increased the budgetary allocations for the HRD Ministry’s school education and adult literacy department by a little over 3%, earmarking a total of Rs 43,554.  

The Department of Higher Education, however, witnessed a little over 7% increase in its budgetary allocations over that of last year, with the government earmarking Rs 28,840 crore to the department for 2016-17.

Last year, the HRD Ministry had seen over 15% cut in its budget allocations for 2015-16 with the government on Saturday allocating a total of Rs 69,074 crore for both higher education and school education, less than over Rs 12,000 crore earmarked for 2014-15.
The higher education department had suffered nearly 3% cut in its allocations, compared to that of 2014-15, with the government earmarking a total of Rs 26855.26 crore to it for 2015-16.

 

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