“The Maharashtra government’s Budget 2021-22 has several measures in it to improve the overall quality of school education and modernise higher education facilities available in the state. With measures like allocation of Rs 1391 crore for higher and technical education and plans of setting up Science and Technology Parks and a Skills University, the government provides the right fillip for building Scientific and technical capabilities, as well as skill development of the youth, which are essential components for creating a larger base of employable workforce of the future.
However, the government has allotted Rs 2,270 crore for the women and child development department and Rs. 2,461 crore to school education and sports. This support is less than expected and falls short in meeting the goal of quality education for all. At the same time, there are measures that will create better accessibility for school education like the proposal to introduce 1500 buses along with free MSRTC bus rides for girls. This will resolve part of the logistical challenges for girl students in rural areas to reach their schools safely, which is a big reason for high dropout rates of girl students. Also, the government has proposed to introduce CBSE curriculum in Ekalavya schools from 1st to 5th standard in three years. If the government also implements the proposals in the new national education policy on improving Early Childhood education along with this, it will markedly improve the pre-primary to primary school education available to the poor and backward sections of people.
The STARS Scheme with the World Bank would also give quality of school education a boost, provided the government ensures quick and wider implementation with effective partnerships with the private sector players.
The government completely misses out on a roadmap for Education technology in this Budget, which had a prominent role to play in ensuring education continuity in the state during the Coronavirus pandemic and is the future of creating equitable opportunities in education and improving delivery standards. ”