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The state has invested in the future with an allocation of 14,552.82 crore for school education the highest allotment to any department in the budget. The money will be spent on free uniforms, footwear, school bags, accessories like geometry boxes and colour pencils, textbooks and notebooks apart from school infrastructure and other expenses. Educationists described the decision to give priority to school education as progressive and farsighted. However, they said efficient spending of the allocation and timely release of funds for various projects would be crucial to ensure that the sector gets the fillip it requires. They noted that funds for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had reportedly more than doubled over the past two years but there had not been a commensurate improvement in the standard of education or infrastructure under the scheme.
The Planning Allocations Institutions Studies and Accountability report released by Pratham Foundation recently said the shortage of separate toilet facilities for girls had gone down only marginally from 30% in 2009 to 27% in 2011,while the shortfall of classrooms matched the 2009 figure of 50% in 2011,after a dip in 2010 when the shortage went down to 47%. Based on unit costs available for teachers salaries, construction of classrooms and toilets, and provision of drinking water facilities, PAISA estimated the states total cost to meet Right To Education norms at 815 crore, an education analyst said. PAISA is a project that tracks elementary education in the country. However, some educationists criticized the cash incentive to reduce the dropout rate in classes 10, 11 and 12 have as a populist measure. State Platform for Common School System general secretary P. B. Prince Gajendra Babu said, All parents now want to send their children to school. So instead of offering such rewards for children to stay in school, the funds should have been used to improve quality of education. Academics lauded the free laptop scheme that students are thrilled about.
Courtesy: Times of India
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