union-finance-minister-announces-several-initiatives-to-boost-education-sector-summary

Context: Recently, the Union Finance Minister has announced  several initiatives to boost the education sector. 

Background: 

  • These initiatives are part of a Special economic and comprehensive package of Rs 20 lakh crore - equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP, announced recently amid COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Atma Nirbhar Bharat or Self-Reliant India Movement has five pillars - Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography and Demand which would be targeted using this special package.

Initiatives:

  1. PM e-VIDYA: A comprehensive initiative called PM e-VIDYA will be launched which unifies all efforts related to digital/online/on-air education. This will enable multi-mode access to education, and includes: 
    1. DIKSHA (one nation-one digital platform) which will now become the nation’s digital infrastructure for providing quality e-content in school education for all the states/UTs. 
    2. TV (one class-one channel) where one dedicated channel per grade for each of the classes 1 to 12 will provide access to quality educational material.
    3. SWAYAM online courses in MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) format for school and higher education. 
    4. IITPAL for IITJEE/NEET preparation. 
    5. Air through Community radio.
    6. CBSE Shiksha Vani podcast: The Central Board of Secondary Education launched a podcast app ‘Shiksha Vani’ to keep the students, parents and teachers updated about the latest news and events of the CBSE.
    7. Daisy: Study material for the differently abled developed on Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY) and in sign language on NIOS website/ YouTube. 

This will benefit nearly 25 crore school going children across the country.

  1. Manodarpan initiative: The initiative is being launched to provide psychosocial support to students, teachers and families for mental health and emotional wellbeing through a website, a toll-free helpline, national directory of counselors, interactive chat platform, etc. 
  2. Government is expanding e-learning in higher education - by liberalizing open, distance and online education regulatory framework. 
    1. Top 100 universities will start online courses. 
    2. Also, online components in conventional Universities and ODL programmes will also be raised from 20% to 40%. 

This will provide enhanced learning opportunities to nearly 7 crore students across different colleges and Universities.

  1. National Curriculum and Pedagogical Framework: There is a need to promote critical thinking, creative and communication skills, along with experiential and joyful learning for the students focussing on learning outcomes. 
    1. Therefore, it has been decided to prepare a new National Curriculum and Pedagogical Framework for school education, teacher education and early childhood stage to prepare students and future teachers as per global benchmarks.
    2. The curriculum must be rooted in the Indian ethos and integrated with global skill requirements. 
  2.  A National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission will be launched, for ensuring that every child in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy and numeracy in Grade 3. 
    1. For this, teacher capacity building, a robust curricular framework, engaging learning material - both online and offline, learning outcomes and their measurement indices, assessment techniques, tracking of learning progress, etc. will be designed to take it forward in a systematic fashion. 
    2. This mission will cover the learning needs of nearly 4 crore children in the age group of 3 to 11 years.

Need for these initiatives:

  • Investing in human capital is equivalent to an investment in productivity and prosperity of the nation. 
  • The present pandemic situation has presented new challenges and several opportunities for our education system.
    • The education sector has taken this opportunity to plan several interventions, particularly in the area of - 
      • adopting innovative curriculum and pedagogies, 
      • concentrating energies on the gap areas, 
      • being more inclusive and integrating technology at every stage
  • The government is committed to ensuring learning for all, with equity, so as to cover all students at all levels of education and in all geographical locations, even in the remotest parts of the country.

Way Ahead:

  • The initiatives will transform the education system and bring out holistic development of students of the country.
  • The initiatives will boost the access and equity in education and improve the gross enrolment ratio in the times to come. 
  • Under the initiatives, due consideration is being given to the Divyang children also and the measures will usher in a new paradigm in the creation of New India.

Image Source: ToI