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The total amount being spent on school education out of the country’s GDP stayed stagnant at 2.7 per cent since the past four fiscal years, according to a new study. “Of the 2.68 per cent of GDP in 2015-16, elementary education accounted for 1.55 per cent and secondary education was allocated 0.9 per cent of GDP with the remaining being spent on school-education as a whole,” the study said. Conducted by the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) and CRY, which examines the budgetary spending (including central and state funding) on school education, also took into consideration schools’ budgets from ten states – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
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The study reported that economically weaker and educationally under-performing states have accorded a greater priority to school-education than better performing states in the post-RTE phase.
“India’s budgetary spending on education is inadequate not just because it falls short of the benchmark recommended by the Kothari Commission, but also due to paucity of funds in almost all important areas of public provisioning of school education,” Subrat Das, Director of CBGA said.
The study says that the ‘per child’ budgetary spending in states varied from Rs 8,526 per annum (Bihar) to Rs 18,035 per annum (Maharashtra) in 2015-16, while it varied from Rs 9,583 (in Bihar) to Rs 28,630 (in Maharashtra) in 2014-15.
Protiva Kundu of CBGA, the lead author of the study, said that teachers’ salary constitutes the largest share of school education budget in all states (ranging between 52 per cent to 80 per cent). States such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, which have large numbers of vacancies for teachers, are spending less than 60 per cent of their school education budget on teachers’ salary, Kundu said.
Teachers’ salary is not the reason for under-funding in other important areas. Rather, it is the overall deficiency of budgetary resources for school education in most of the states that is at the root of the problem, the study claims.
“The overall deficiency in public financing of school education is not only responsible for the gaps in coverage and quality of education through government schools, it is also a major factor underlying the weak linkages between budget outlays and educational outcomes in poorer states,” Komal Ganotra of CRY (Child Rights and You) said.
“Private schools too are an important beneficiary of government financing for school education. The study shows how significant proportions of budgetary spending on school education are channelised towards government-aided and unaided private schools,” she said.
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