A "major" initiative to boost research with a budget of Rs 1 lakh crore in four years, Eklayva Model boarding schools in tribal majority areas, and Prime Minister Fellowship for B.Techs, were the highlights in the education sector of the Budget proposals presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday.
"To set-up investment in research and related infrastructure of premier institutions, including health institutions, I propose to launch major initiative called the Revitalising of Infrastructure and System in Education 'RISE' by 2022 with a total investment of 1 lakh crore for four years .... Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) would be suitably structured for funding this initiative," Jaitley announced during the budget.
The government also announced a Prime Minister Fellowship scheme under which 1,000 B.Techs will be provided opportunity to pursue Ph.Ds in IITs and IISc.
"Under this scheme, we will identify 1,000 best B.Tech. students each year from premier institutions and provide them facilities to do Ph.Ds in the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science... The students will also be rewarded with a handsome fellowship amount," Jaitley said.
The government has also taken steps to "set up a specialised railway university in Vadodara" and "two new full fledged schools of planning and architecture".
"Additionally, 18 School of Planning and Architecture will be set up in IITs and NITs as autonomous schools," the Minister said.
The quality of school education was "still a cause of concern", he said, and listed the initiatives to address the teaching quality taken in previous years, such as training of teachers for which an amendment was also brought in the Right to Education Act.
"We have managed to get children to school but the quality of schools is still a cause of concern... We now propose to treat education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to Class -12. Improvement in the quality of teachers will improve the quality of education in the country. We will initiate an integrated B.Ed programme for teachers.
"Training of teachers during the surveys is extremely critical... More than 13 lakh untrained teachers trained .. amended the RTE for this," he said.
Jaitley also said the government intends to "increase the digital intensity in education and move gradually from blackboard to digital board".
His budget speech also mentioned establishing of 'Eklayva Model Residential School' by 2022 in every block "comprising more than 50 per cent of tribal population and at least 20,000 tribal people will have an 'Eklayva Model Residential School".
Under the scheme, a total of 190 such schools have already been established till last December, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs said in its year-end report.