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This Article is From Feb 01, 2020

Budgetary Allocations Fail To Address Crisis In Public-Funded Higher Education: DUTA

Presenting the Budget for the financial year 2020-21 in the Parliament today, the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman said that a total outlay of Rs.99,300 crore has been earmarked for the education sector in 2020-21 and Rs.3000 crore for Skill Development.

Budgetary Allocations Fail To Address Crisis In Public-Funded Higher Education: DUTA
The DUTA said the government "unwisely continues on the beaten path of privatisation by reducing grants-.
New Delhi:

The Delhi University Teachers Association or DUTA said the body is disappointed by the Union Government's refusal to heed the deepening crisis in public-funded higher education. The teacher's body was responding to the Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister on Saturday. Presenting the Budget for the financial year 2020-21 in the Parliament today, the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman said that a total outlay of Rs.99,300 crore has been earmarked for the education sector in 2020-21 and Rs.3000 crore for Skill Development.

The DUTA said the government "unwisely continues on the beaten path of privatisation by reducing grants, promoting more loan funding through greater allocations to HEFA, inviting FDI and encouraging more commercialisation through the provision of full online degree programmes in universities". 

According to the Finance Minister, top 100 educational institutions in the country will offer full-fledged online degree programmes. 

"Degree level full-fledged online education programme will be started to provide quality education to students of deprived sections of the society as well as those who do not have access to higher education. However, these shall be offered only by institutions who are ranked within top 100 in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)," the Finance Minister said in her Budget speech.

"The highlights of the Expenditure Budget 2020 reveal a telling lack of introspection on the part of the Government, and its failure to engage with the growing unrest among students, teachers and karamcharis across the nation's campuses," the teacher's body said. 

"The aggregate increase in budgetary allocation for higher education from 38317 crores to 39466 crores presents a marginal increase of 2.79%. Even this figure is misleading as a large part of the money is earmarked for expenditure that does not benefit students and teachers directly. Specifically, the share of grants allocation for central universities has been reduced from 2593 crores to 2298 crores. On the other hand, the allocation for HEFA (central loan-funding agency) has been increased by 100 crores. Much of the allocation is earmarked for expensive bureaucratic schemes (like World Class Universities) that are yet to take off, and will fuel valid fears of creating greater disparity and institutional hierarchy in the sector," the DUTA said. 

"The DUTA fears that the slashing of grants in higher education will affect permanent recruitments and promotions of teachers across central universities. These universities are already being pushed to fill a large number of vacancies with short-term contractual appointments.  Instead of attracting and retaining academic talent, this scenario will eventually lead to a sharper decline in the quality and academic standards of these institutions," it said.

Meanwhile, Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' appreciated the Union Budget 2020-21 and expressed his gratitude to the Finance Minister 'for giving priority to education sector and allocating Rs.99,300 crore for Education'. 

The total Budget allocation for the HRD Ministry increased Rs. 4457.88 crore in 2020-21 in comparison of 2019-20, a statement from the ministry said.

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