'Innovation fund' for secondary education

Quality education will energise our youth, says Jaitley

'Innovation fund' for secondary education
The government on Wednesday proposed to introduce a system of measuring annual learning outcomes in schools with an emphasis on science education and flexibility in curriculum to promote creativity. Presenting the Budget in Parliament, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also pledged the creation of an “innovation fund” to be utilised in ensuring universal access, gender parity and improvement in the quality of secondary education.

“Quality education will energise our youth,” he said. Activities to be undertaken with the support of the fund will include Information Communication Technology-enabled learning, transformation with a focus on 3,479 educationally backward blocks. The National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme, meant for school students, saw an increase in its budgetary allocations by more than 700% for 2017-18 from the last fiscal year, while the National Scheme for Incentives to Girl Child for Secondary Education also witnessed an increase in its budget by a little over 611% compared to last year.

The School Education and Literacy Department of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry witnessed an increase in its budgetary allocations merely by 6.43% for 2017-18. The finance minister earmarked Rs 282 crore for the implementation of the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme and Rs 320 crore for the National Scheme for Incentives to Girl Child for Secondary Education.

The budgetary allocations for the two schemes were pegged at Rs 35 crore and Rs 45 crore, respectively, in the last financial year. The HRD ministry saw an increase in its allocations by a little over 10.08% for 2017-18 compared to last year. The finance minister earmarked Rs 46,356.25 crore for the School Education Department and Rs 33,329 crore for the Higher Education Department of the ministry for 2017-18.

The budgetary allocations for the two departments were pegged at Rs 43,554 crore and Rs 28,840 crore in the last fiscal year. Though the amount of funds earmarked for the school education and literacy department remained higher for 2017-18, the higher education department saw an increase in allocations by about 15.56%.
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