Govt aims to make good learning loss during pandemic


New Delhi: The central government will re-envision teachers’ training, and build institutes of excellence across districts, as well as set up a national digital library to ensure school-going children and the youth get easy access to quality books across subjects to overcome the learning losses suffered during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Budget for FY24 has set aside 1.12 trillion for the education sector, the highest ever, up 8.2% compared to the budget allocations for FY23. While 68,804.85 crore is allocated to schools, 44,094.62 crore will be for higher education.

While for FY23, the budget allocation was at 1.04 trillion, the revised estimates were at 99,881 crore. This year’s allocation is a 13% increase than the revised estimates.

Dharmendra Pradhan, union education minister, lauded the finance minister’s efforts and said the budget was inclusive, people-centric and growth-stimulating, especially for the education sector. “With a boost to education, research and development, skill development, digital infrastructure, green growth, entrepreneurship, and job creation, the Budget draws a meticulous blueprint for India@100 and lays a solid foundation for transforming India into a technology-driven knowledge-based economy,” Pradhan added.

“The national digital library for children and adolescents will be set up to facilitate availability of quality books across geographies, languages, genres, and levels,” FM Nirmala Sitharaman said. The library will be device agnostic.

The pandemic had wreaked havoc on students across all age groups following the closure of educational institutions. The Annual Status of Education Report said the basic reading ability of children dropped to pre-2012 levels in most states and across genders.

The government, which had announced the setting up of a national digital university in its last Budget, said it will be operational by June or July.

States will be urged to set up physical libraries at panchayat levels to provide infrastructure for accessing the national digital library resources, Sitharaman said. National Book Trust, Children’s Book Trust, as well as other sources will be encouraged to give books and study materials in regional languages and in English to these libraries to help build a culture of reading among the youth. Physical libraries will help make up for the learning loss due to covid, Sitharaman said. “Collaborations with NGOs working in the field of literacy will be encouraged to promote financial literacy. Financial sector regulators and organisations will be encouraged to provide age-appropriate reading material to libraries,” she added.

The teachers’ training programme will be re-envisioned through innovative pedagogy, continuous professional development, and curriculum transaction. “District institutes of education and training will be developed as vibrant institutes of excellence for this purpose.”

The FM said 100 laboratories will be set up across engineering institution campuses. “To realise the new range of opportunities, business models and employment potential, the labs will cover application for smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems and healthcare applications.”

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Updated: 02 Feb 2023, 01:05 AM IST

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