With special attention to education in the time of COVID-19, the 15th Finance Commission called a meeting of Human Resource Development officials to make recommendations in its report (2020-21 and 2025-26).
Headed by Finance Commission chairman, NK Singh, the commission held a detailed meeting with Human Resource Development where the department of school education and literacy provisioned Rs 55,840.00 for ICT facilities in 3.10 lakh government schools.
On the other hand, the Higher Education department projected an amount of Rs 2306.4 crore for the development of online courses/ programmes over 5 years, made a projection of Rs 60,900 crore over 5 years for making devices like laptop, tablets, mobiles, televisions, etc. available to students and for the Department Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP), it projected an amount of Rs 1,32,559.9 crores in 5 years.
The Department of Higher Education has projected a financial requirement after the implementation of EQUIP (2020-21 - 2025-26) is a total of Rs 4,00,576.25 crores over the next 5 years.
Secretary higher education Amit Khare made a presentation before the Commission detailing about the “Changing Demographics and preparedness of India to make Global Comparisons in Higher Education.” In this, he had detailed a number of Challenges and Reforms to Higher Education including increasing GER to reach 50 per cent by 2035, and “achieving excellence through autonomy by graded accreditation, technology-driven education including online, digital, blended mode of education, etc,” said the statement from the government.
The Commission took into consideration the initiatives taken by Government of India related to Education as Part of the Rs 20 lakh crore fiscal stimulus package designed to fight Economic impact of Covid-19.
Secretary School Education & Literacy, Anita Karwal, informed the commission that the Department has initiated the some interventions for ensuring continuity of learning during the period of school closures.
She discussed the “PM e-VIDYA – School education” program, “Digital learning through SWAYAM PRABHA TV Channels”, “NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling)” “e-Pathshala for Digital Books and e-Contents SWAYAM Portal”, “Operation Digital Board National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER)” among others.
She also spoke on “Imagining and shaping digital education as long term learning strategy” and “Provisioning of ICT facilities in all uncovered Upper Primary, Secondary and Sr. Secondary Government Schools”.