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Resuscitating education with better financing

The fifth panel discussion for Difficult Dialogues was on ‘Financing of Education: Binding Constraints’. NT BUZZ brings you the details


In India various financial schemes, polices and plans are devised to improve the quality of education, however the government has not been able to achieve the maximum. To understand whether it is the financial constraint that is holding back education a panel of speakers namely, director of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi, Rathin Roy; president and chief executive of Centre Policy Research, Yamini Aiyer; UNICEF representative in India, Yasmin Ali Haque and economist, Sukanya Bose shed light on ‘Financing of Education: Binding Constraints’ at the second day of Difficult Dialogues.

Stating that the problem of finance lies in not how much is spent but how it is spent, Yamini Aiyer said: “The centre allocates funds for various policies which are then sent to schools and districts. It is then the district which divides the amount among schools and the way to corruption does open there as there is no proper check on where funds are going. Therefore, why money is needed and what is the main purpose should be the key aspect of focus of education.”

Speaking about the large amounts spent on unimportant things she said: “When it comes to schools there is infrastructure, salary, students’ health, safety measures, midday meal and other elements that are taken into consideration. It is the quality of education that is often compromised upon which does impact students’ performance and growth.”

Sukanya Bose also suggested the need for a roadmap while allocating funds for education. “There is no five-year plan for education. If you really want to understand where you need to invest, and what will give you better returns and results you need to first have a plan, and that is what is lacking when it comes to budget. No one has shown what will be the final outcome,” Sukanya added.

Having understood that there are loop holes in governance when it comes to various public policies, Yasmin also brought to light other social factors that add to the list. She said there are traces of spending and financing coming from parents, private sectors and others, but how to harness these funds in order to get the best is yet to be tapped.

Sukanya even focused on states like Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and other north eastern states where the government is not spending adequately. She added that preferences are given to certain states while the ones who are really in need are missing out. “Right to Education is for all and not just for a few. Hence it should be equally and reasonably done,” she added.

Another point that should be looked into is proper planning and timing of fund allocation. “Timing is a major factor. It is what delays and holds back a lot of things. A certain amount takes ages to reach and therefore the option is to keep the work on hold which is also a major issue that needs to be tackled,” pointed Yasmin.

While various models and innovative ways can be included in education it is a space that is not tapped. “We need to first understand who really needs education and what is education to them? Is it their own aspiration or their parents’ aspiration after which a conclusion can be drawn of exactly what to do and how.”

During the panel discussion they also dealt with social reasons like communities in India being rigid and orthodox which has to change if other aspects in the system need to be changed or renewed.

The session concluded with Rathin stating that “Finance is not the only binding constraint, there are other social factors in a country like India which are holding it back which also need to be looked into.”

(The Navhind Times is the media partner.)


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