In the Budget 2022-23, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has made several announcements for the education sector. Form opening a digital university to expanding the reach of PM e-vidya programme to reach more students, the budget is focused on filling the learning gap caused by school closures.
While the Economic Survey released on January 31 stated that there is no data to estimate the depth of learning losses caused due to school closures, it did recognise that students, especially those from rural areas have been lacking in access to education. To fill in the gap, FM announced:
One Class One TV Channel: The existing scheme of providing supplementary education via television will be expanded. Currently, there are 12 tv channels dedicated to classes 1 to 12. These classes will be offered via 200 channels. The aim is to enable each state to deliver classes via one channel for one class, said FM. Internet, mobile phone, TV, radio and digital features. A mechanism will be set up to help teachers develop quality e-content.
“Due to pandemic induced school closure, our children have lost almost two years of formal education. We recognised the need to impart supplementary teaching and to build resilient mechanisms for education delivery,” said FM Sitharaman.
Agriculture University Syllabus Revamp: The FM in her budget speech said that states will be encouraged to revise syllabi of agricultural universities. The new curriculum will include zero budget farming, natural farming, modern-day agriculture, value addition and management along with existing chapters. A committee will be formed to revamp the syllabi.
Digital University: A digital university will be developed to provide access to students for world-class quality education with ISTE Standards. The digital university will offer “world-class quality universal education” with personalised learning, informed FM. To ensure that it is accessed by students from all states and language is not a barrier, the varsity will offer courses in different Indian languages. Existing top universities will also be asked to collaborate and offer courses. This will be available in all ICT formats and work in ‘hub and spoke’ model. The best public universities and institutes will collaborate as a network of hub-spokes.
Vocational Courses to re-align to Industry Need: FM said that all skilling programmes will be re-oriented. The national skill qualification framework (NSQF) will be aligned with industry needs. FM says select ITIs in all states will offer courses for skilling. ITIs will also have skilling courses on new-age courses including drones, drone monitoring etc.
Mental Health Programme: National tele-mental health programme launched to cater to the mental health needs of citizens across age groups. The mental health, said FM, has been impacted due to the pandemic. The government will set up 23 national tele-mental health centres. IIIT Bangalore will be roped in to develop content and curriculum for the same.
DESH-Stack eportal: The government has launched a portal to skill its population and make them employable. Digital Ecosystem for Skilling and Livelihood (DESH-Stack eportal) will be launched soon. This portal aims to empower citizens to skill, reskill or upskill through online training. It will also provide API-based trusted skill credentials, payment and discovery layers to find relevant jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, said FM.
750 Science, Math Labs, 75 Skilling labs: In vocational courses, to promote crucial critical thinking skills, to give space for creativity, 750 virtual labs in science and mathematics, and 75 skilling e-labs for the simulated learning environment, will be set up in 2022-23. High-quality e-content in all spoken languages will be developed for delivery via internet, mobile phones, TV and radio through Digital Teachers, said Sitharaman.
Centre of Excellence in Urban Planning: Five existing academic institutions, the FM said, would be designated as centres of excellence in urban planning with an endowment fund of Rs 250 crore each.
60 Lakh Jobs under PM Gati Shakti: Government is planning to add 60 lakh new jobs under PM Gati Shakti Master Plan. Rs 6400 crores have been allocated to Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana for the Financial Year 2023. This is a rise from Rs 5000 crore in FY2022.