Expressing concern over declining educational standards in both public and private schools, government today said there is a need to improve the quality of education to reverse the decline in enrolment.
“There is a need to improve the quality of education provided in schools to arrest and reverse the decline in enrolment in government schools and improve the educational outcomes in both public and private schools,” the Economic Survey for 2015-16 tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.
Increasing investment in human capital is a key requirement to improve productivity of the population, the survey observed, adding that there is a need for professionally qualified and trained teachers.
In India, the proportion of economically active population (15-59 years) has increased from 57.7 per cent to 63.3 per cent during 1991 to 2013.
“If India has to reap the benefits of this ‘demographic dividend’ in the years ahead, it is imperative that investments in social infrastructure are made in an appropriate measure to achieve the desired education and health outcomes,” the survey pointed out.
It also advocated adoption of technology platforms and innovative models by leveraging Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) scheme to improve the efficiency in delivery of services.
“On the education front, the declining educational outcomes reflected in lower reading levels in both public and private sector schools are areas of concern.”
“According to Annual Status of Education Report 2014, there is sharp decline between 2007 to 2014 in the number of children in Standard V who can read a textbook of Standard II, in both government and private schools,” the Survey said.
However, the Gender Parity Index (2013-14 provisional) shows an improvement in girls’ education, with parity having been achieved between girls and boys at almost all levels of education.
Seeking to paint an optimistic picture of the economy amid a gloomy global landscape, the Survey said that “India stands as a haven of stability and an outpost of opportunity” with regard to macro-economic factors and low inflation.
“India’s economic growth is amongst the highest in the world, helped by a reorientation of government spending toward needed public infrastructure,” it said, adding that the task ahead would be to sustain growth in an even more difficult global environment.
The three-point agenda suggested by the Survey to push GDP growth rate to 8-10 per cent include moving away from anti-market policies, major investment in health and education and more focus on agriculture sector.
The government, it added, has been able to pursue meaningful reforms and deal with “palpable and pervasive” corruption.
FDI has been liberalised across the board and vigorous efforts have been undertaken to ease the cost of doing business, it said, adding that stability and predictability has been restored in tax decisions reflected in the settlement of the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) imposed on foreign companies.
The Survey, however, expressed concern over delay in implementation of GST and shortfall in disinvestment target.
It asked the government to expeditiously rationalise subsidy which at present was “work-in-progress.”
The Survey said that corporate and bank balance sheet remain stressed affecting the prospects for reviving private investments.
Elaborating on the global situation, it said that the upcoming budget and economic policy would have to contend with an unusually challenging and weak external environment.
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