The Union Budget 2011 -12 saw high priority being given to secondary education keeping in mind India's demographic dividend and opportunity of seventy percent of the India's population being of working age by 2025. The allocation of higher education has been proposed for Rs 52,057 crore, an increase of 24 percent over the current year.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan project has been an important tool for promoting elementary education. The budget provides for more positive measures by proposing an allocation of Rs 21,00 crore, a 40percent increase from the previous year's allocation of ` 15,000 crore.
A modified scheme of 'Vocationalisation of Secondary Education', which has been a centrally sponsored scheme, will be put into operation from 2011-12 to perk up the employable skills of the youth
The budget saw renewed emphasis being given to the promotion of education among the backward section of the population. While post metric scholarships have already been available, there has been a welcome introduction of pre-matric scholarship scheme in the 2011-12 budget. The scholarship scheme has been introduced for disadvantaged students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes studying in ninth and tenth standard.
National Knowledge Network
The budget has proposed that the National Knowledge Network (NKN) will connect 1500 higher education and research institutes through an optical fibre backbone. 190 institutes will be linked through NKN in the present year. The proposal of connecting all 1500 institutions has been proposed to be done by March 2012, as the time for the creation of the core will extend till March 2011.
In order to promote innovations, the National Innovation Council under Sam Pitroda has been instituted to chalk out plans for promotion of innovations in India. Activities for setting up of the State Innovation Councils in every State and Sectoral Innovation Councils aligned to Central Ministries are also underway.
Emphasising on the success of the National Skill Development Council (NSDC) in achieving its target of the creation of skilled workforce, an additional Rs 500 crore has been allocated to NSDC for carrying forward its mandate of creating employable skills to the youth.
They speak on Budget 2011-12
An increase in the number of scholarships for SC/ST students is definitely in line with inclusive higher education and social mobility. Prime Minister's national skill mission is given ample priority. Minority education is also being advanced. As anticipated , overall it has been a good budget.
Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai
Indira Gandhi National Open University
Increased allocation in RTE is a good sign and states will be able to implement it more effectively