Budget 2022: Sitharaman Focuses on Digital University, eVidya Scheme in Speech
We expected more on education, issues like lack of internet access were not addressed, say critiques.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, 1 February, spoke about the need for supplementary teaching methods as she presented the Union Budget 2022 in the Lok Sabha, her second during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Focusing on 'universalisation of quality education,' she said, "due to pandemic-induced closure of schools, our children, particularly in the rural areas, and those from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, have lost almost two years of formal education. Mostly, these children go to government schools. We recognise the need to impart supplementary teaching and build a recipient mechanism for education delivery."
'One Class, One TV Channel' Programme
Sitharaman said that for this reason, the 'one class, one TV channel programme of PM eVidya' will be expanded to more and more students across the country. The programme will be expanded from twelve to 200 TV channels.
"This will enable all states to provide supplementary education in regional languages for Classes 1 to 12," she said.
She said that 'high quality e-content' in all spoken languages will be developed via mobile phones, TV and radio.
She said, "a competitive mechanism for quality econtent by the teachers, will be set up to empower and equip them with digital tools of teaching and facilitate better learning outcomes."
'Digital University Will be Created'
The Finance Minister said that a Digital University will be created to provide access to all students. The 'world class quality universal education' will personalise the learning experience for students across the country. It will be built on a hub-and-spoke model.
The best public universities in the country will collaborate with the government for the same, she added.
2 lakh Anganwadis to Be Upgraded to 'Saksham Anganwadis'
She said that two lakh anganwadis will be upgraded to 'Saksham Anganwadis.'
"Saksham anganwadis are new generation anganwadis that have better infrastructure and audio-visual aids, powered by clean energy and providing improved environment for early childhood development," she said.
She added that five institutions will be recognised as Centres of Excellence on urban planning. Word-class foreign universities will be allowed to offer programmes on financial management, science, FinTech, engineering and mathematics, free from domestic regulations.
'We Expected More, No Talks of Internet Access'
The Budget this year merely touched upon education and health, without much emphasis on the two, say critics. Former Union health secretary, K Sujatha Rao called the Budget a 'disappointing budget for health and education.'
Educators and experts said that the finance minister spoke of those from backward communities falling behind by two years, without touching upon the issue of internet access.
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