NITI Aayog has recommended increase in public sector funding on education
Addressing the issue of quality education, NITI Aayog in its ‘Strategy for New India @ 75’ report, the government think tank has advocated spending more on education as a whole. In the report the advisory body has highlighted that India’s spending on education is lesser than the world average. The Government spending on education by both central and state governments, currently, is close to 3 per cent of GDP which is lesser than the world average (according to World Bank) of 4.7 per cent of GDP. NITI Aayog has suggested that the spending on education be increased to at least 6 per cent of GDP by 2022.
In its report, NITI Aayog has addressed some key areas in education covering School education, Higher education, Vocational education et al and has made recommendations to improve enrolment, learning outcome, employability, and reduce stress on school children.
Highlighting the current situation of school education in the country, the Aayog reports that though the enrolment in elementary levels is satisfactory, the learning outcomes of those enrolled is in need of improvement.
A National Assessment Survey (NAS) conducted by National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) found that more than 60 per cent of class 5 students scored below 50 per cent marks across subjects.
Another independent ASER household level survey (2016) in rural areas revealed that among class 5 children, only 47.8 per cent could read class 2 level text and only 26 per cent children could do class 5 level arithmetic.
The report has also highlighted the increasing preference for private schools over government schools. This, the NITI Aayog report says, is due to the general perception that private schools deliver better quality education than government schools.
While the report does take cognizance of the government’s efforts to improve the quality of the education, the report says that one of the constraints to improving education quality is ‘inadequate public funding in the sector’.