Hyderabad: The state Budget proposed an allocation of Rs 11,735 crore to the school education sector and Rs 1,873 crore for higher education. The figures were Rs 10,421 crore and Rs 1,723.27 respective last year, apart from Rs 100 crore to improve the literacy rate. The increases were not enough, stakeholders said.
In addition, a Rs 4,000 crore scheme to benefit government schools was announced in the Budget by finance minister T. Harish Rao. Under this scheme, basic facilities in government schools will be revamped over the next two years. The minister stressed the importance of using modern technology in government schools to put classrooms on digital platforms.
The government has proposed setting aside Rs 33.6 crore for SC, ST welfare, and Rs 1,602 crore for minorities welfare. Harish Rao said education with international standards is being provided free to the poor and backward class students. Parents are eager to send their children to study in residential schools, he said.
However, Telangana State United Teachers' Federation (TSUTF), Telangana Private Teachers Forum (TPTF), Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) among others expressed disappointment over the allocations.
The TSTUF said these allocations were not enough to develop of schools, provide infrastructure, recruit teachers and improve online education. “Of the Rs 2.3 lakh crore Budget, earmarking Rs 11,735 crore for school education and Rs 2,000 crore for infrastructure is unreasonable,” said the TSUTF. it demanded that the state government allocate at least Rs 5,000 crore a year for infrastructure creation.
The private teachers forum said the allocation for the education sector remains dismal which, they said, was discouraging. “In 2014-15, out of the Rs 1,00,637 crore Budget, Rs 10,963 crore was allocated for education, which was 10.89 per cent. The budget size has doubled to Rs 2,30,825.96 crore for 2021-22 but only 6.78 per cent or Rs 15,608 crore is the allocation for education. Going by the Budget size, the government should allocate at least Rs 23,000 crore,” they said.
Students from minority communities said that the budget cuts in scholarships were responsible for minority enrolment in higher education. The SIO said that there was a lack of support from the government to bridge a historic gap in the education sector where minority students constitute only 7.5 per cent in higher education enrollment.
“As predicted, the consistent cuts in minority scholarships and Maulana Azad Fellowship in the last 6-7 years has resulted in this poor minority enrolment figure. The government should immediately hike the scholarships and take necessary steps in terms of policy intervention to provide reservation for select backward castes among minorities,” they demanded.