Education as a national priority of the BJP government was first highlighted and outlined in the election manifesto of 2014. The manifesto laid down the party’s official positions on the education before the 2014 General Election and recognize all those concerns the party acknowledges as significant. Through their manifesto, the party had promised tempting schemes to coax the student community of this country. For instance, the party had promised to implement the Kothari Commission recommendation for increasing the public spending on education to 6% of the GDP.
However, the government has been reducing expenditure on education (budget estimates) — it dropped from one per cent of the country’s income in the government’s first Budget in 2014-15 to 0.62 per cent in 2017-18. Besides, the share in the Budget too has been reduced from 6.15 per cent to 3.7 per cent.
The budget allocation to education in the year 2018-19 saw about 4% rise which is too less to be appreciated. The government allotted Rs 81,869 crores in the year 2018-19 which is quite less in comparison to the promised 6% spending of the GDP on education.
Furthermore, the New Education Policy that was supposed to see the light of the day under this regime is yet to materialize.
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However, with much major policy reform still to take place under Narendra Modi government, the government has undertaken few initiatives that can be lauded. Some of those initiatives are as follows:
IIM ACT, 2017
A positive key effect of IIM Act 2017 for the students is that all the 20 IIMs are now empowered to award MBA degree to their students instead of PGP/PGDM diplomas which used to hamper prospects of global career opportunities and higher studies of their students as the distinction is made between globally acceptable MBA degree and post graduate diploma.
Set up of Higher Education Financing Agency
The Higher Education Financing Agency has been set up by the current government asking the Central institutions to send their project proposals so that they may be funded accordingly. The agency is supposed to enhance the infrastructural development of institutes IITs and IIMs.
National Testing Agency
Approved by Union Cabinet, National Testing Agency is supposed to a testing agency which will conduct entrance exams for higher educational institutions. The initiative will lessen CBSE’s workload to conduct various examinations. The proposal is to conduct examinations like NEET and gradually it may incorporate other examinations too.
Establishment of new IITs and IIMs
A total number of 7 IITs have been set up in the last four years. These additions have taken the total number of the premier institute to 23 making Jammu, Dhanbad, Goa, Pallakad, Tirupati, Dharwad and Bhilai to be the new centres.
Apart from IITs, few new IIMs have also been set up in Nagpur, Visakhapatnam, Gaya, Amritsar, Jammu, Sambalpur and Sirmaur.