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Budget 2024 expectations: Education sector awaits focus amidst NEP 2020 vision and funding challenges

As far as the Education Sector is concerned, a quick analysis over the last three years shows that the allocation for Education has been seeing a downward trend

Budget 2024 expectations: Education sector awaits focus amidst NEP 2020 vision and funding challenges
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Just like every other year, the buzz around the upcoming Budget is palpable and industry leaders are talking about what they expect from the Budget this year.

As far as the Education Sector is concerned, a quick analysis over the last three years shows that the allocation for Education has been seeing a downward trend and the focus each year changes.

At the backend, the World Bank/Government STARS programme is endeavouring to fortify crucial aspects and strengthen important areas such as Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, assessments, and learning outcomes.

However, the landscape remains clouded with overlapping schemes and duplication of efforts adds to the complexity of the weft and warp.

The 6% of GDP aspiration for the Indian education sector has been in the works ever since the Kothari Committee came out with its report Education and Development in 1968 but has more or less remained at 2.8% to 2.9% of the GDP in the last decade despite higher outlays being made every year.

The budget outlay for Education increased from Rs 37,383 crore in 2022-23 to Rs 37,453 crore in 2023-24.

The New Education Policy of 2020 has set out some highly ambitious targets with tight deadlines.

These include achieving universal education from pre-school to secondary level with a 100 % Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030 and 50% GER in higher education by 2035.

It also aims to bring two crore out-of-school children into the educational mainstream and replace the existing 10+2 system by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure, with a special emphasis on three years of Anganwadi/ pre-schooling with a special focus on foundational literacy and numeracy.

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