Finance and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam allotted Rs 34,181 crore for School Education and Rs 5,052 crore for Higher Education for 2020-2021 and also initiated several proposal and schemes for education in the state on Friday. The allocation and proposal evoked mixed responses from academicians in the state.
Opposing Deputy Chief Minister Panneerselvam’s announcement that so far Rs 644.69 crore has been reimbursed as school fee under Rights To Education (RTE) admissions, Tamil Nadu Teachers Association president PK Ilamaran told DT Next, “it would reduce the interest of the parents to get admissions in government and government aided schools.”
“Instead of concentrating to increase the admissions through RTE by spending so much of money, the government could improve the infrastructure of the state-run schools for getting more students,” he added.
He said it was disappointing to note that there was no budget provision to clear the salary arrears of the government school teachers as per the recommendation of the 7th Pay Commission.
“We also demand to establish at least one smart class per government school,” he said adding “we are hoping that it would be announced during the demands for grants.”
Echoing similar views, State Platform for Common School System – Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN), general secretary, PB Prince Gajendra Babu said that there was nothing new in budget and there is no mention to improve the government schools.
On the government’s announcement that more than 76,000 students have been admitted under RTE this academic year and a sum of Rs 304 crore allocation for next year for RTE admissions, he said even at government primary school level there is no promise of equitable access to education.
Commenting on the fund allocation to the Higher Education sector, Anna University Former Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr E Balagurusamy said that though it could be welcomed, the state should have allocated more.
“Lots of research activities should be carried out for benefits of the students and therefore, more funds is required,” he said adding.
He also welcomed the announcement of tuition fee concessions to the first generation graduate students, which would continue for the next academic year. “Otherwise, nothing much in the budget announcement,” he added.