The Fifteenth Finance Commission had a meeting with the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development in New Delhi yesterday. The meeting was chaired by the Minister for HRD Shri Prakash along with the Chairman of the Finance Commission Shri N.K. Singh. Members of the Commission and Senior Officers of the Commission as well as MHRD attended the meeting.
The meeting discussed key issues of the sector requiring the Commission’s intervention including investment in School Infrastructure, Teacher’s salaries & training, Career Counselling, school students, Pre-schooling of children akin to the Sikkim model to give a boost to early learning, and other issues.
The meeting also discussed steps to attract greater to private capital and private Partnership into the school education sector as well as integrate B.Ed courses into two year integrated BA.B.ED courses, B.Com.B.ED courses in the future to streamline the availability of trained teachers.
The Commission expressed concern over parents’ preference to send children to Private English schools over the Government schools and stressed on the requirement for evaluation of schools and dissemination of the results to help parents in making informed choices.
The HRD has asked for the support from 15th Finance Commission on the following issues:
Incentive based grants to States based on Performance Grading Index (PGI).
Requirement of Central funds amounting to a minimum of Rs.4,37,994.74 crore (to meet RTE Norms and other essential requirements) and Rs.5,66,087.74 crore to meet the SDG Goals by 2030.
Ring fencing (of about 20%) of resources devolved to the States for School Education OR clear award for States and UTs for implementation of RTE Act, 2009 and other essential requirements (on the lines of 13th Finance Commission).
The Commission is scheduled to hold its second meeting with MHRD on 22nd February to deliberate on the issues of Higher Education.