Media Coverage

Low share of training, monitoring in state education budgets Low share of training, monitoring in state education budgets

The Times of India (City)

  • 22nd December 2016

For all the talk on education quality and improving learning outcomes, little is actually being done to achieve either. The Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) and Child Right and You (CRY) studied state budgets for education in 10 general-category states and found that allocations for measures, even statutory provisions for ensuring quality -- teacher training, monitoring, community mobilization and training -- are close to negligible in education budgets. In fact, share of any of these categories rarely rises beyond 1% in the education or Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan budget in any state.

"There is much discussion on quality but governments are not investing in the systems responsible for improving quality," says Subrat Das of CBGA. The share of teacher-training in the education budget doesn't rise above 1% in any of the 10 states included in the analysis except Bihar, where it was 1.60% in 2015-16 (BE). Inspection and monitoring are similarly neglected will their share crossing 1% in only Tamil Nadu and Odisha, both 1.20%. The study considered all 12 years of schooling - from Class I to XII (or, age 6-17). While there is huge variation across states, per-student expenditure is less than that of relatively successful centrally-funded systems, - the Kendriya and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (KVs and JNVs) -- nearly everywhere.

Percentage shares of teacher training and inspection and monitoring in in state education budget (estimate, 2015-16):

 

More than 98% schools in the 10 states have formed school management committees. Mandated by the Right to Education Act 2009, these are composed mainly of parents and community-members. In addition to monitoring the functioning of schools, the RTE also requires them to formulate school development plans and clear school budgets. But, again, states have spent very little on training them. The share of training SMCs and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) in the Sarva Shikha Abhiyan budget was less than 1% in all 10 in 2014-15. The highest was in Maharasthra (0.86%) and the lowest, Madhya Pradesh (0.08%). Share of expenditure on mainstreaming out-of-school children - India has one of the largest numbers in Asia - was only slightly better. It was 5.2% of the SSA budget in Bihar and Chattisgarh - the highest of the 10 - in the same year.across

Percentage share of expenditure on mainstreaming out-of-school children and SMC/PRI training in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan budget (2014-15):

· OOSC: Out-of-school children

· SMC: School Management Committee

· PRI: Panchatayati Raj Institutions

Teachers' salaries do claim the largest chunk of the budget in all 10 states. Their share in the education budget ranges from 51.6% in Bihar to 80.4% in Rajasthan. But, as Protiva Kundu from CBGA points out, "OECD countries spend an average of 79% of current expenditure on salaries." "The myth that teachers' salaries take away all the funds for education is not true," she adds. State governments, especially Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, spend significant amounts on non-government schools - as grants-in-aid and compensation for children enrolled in the 25% EWS/DG quota.

 "There have been changes in terms of infrastructure but why are outcomes not being met? There are a range of other issues involved - teacher training, community ownership, inclusion - and on all those parameters, there's serious underfunding. Till you have these in place, you can't have better outcomes," says Komal Ganotra of CRY.

Education as a sector is under-funded, believe the organisations that authored the report. The per-student expenditure in public education in practically every general category state is below that of KVs and JNVs. In 2014-15, only two states/UTs spent more than KV's Rs. 32,263 - Goa (Rs.67,041) and Kerala (Rs.38,811) - and none more than the residential JNV's Rs.88,648. Delhi spent Rs.15,098 per child (in 2014-15) but that may have increased since.

Per-student spending in public schools in general category states:

Das points out that the problem of unutilized funds exists only in the case of central schemes such as the SSA and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). And that has more to do with the way these are "structured" and the system of centrally deciding - at the top - how they're meant to be used. What these funds are meant for and what the kids in a specific classroom require don't always match. "You have to look at the demand side, else you can't get funding. Check what each student needs and find a way to support that," says Vinod Vyasulu who teaches public policy at OP Jindal Global University. For Ravi Duggal of International Budget Partnership, the only solution is "compulsory common schooling system" and making "government employees send their kids to government institutions."