New Delhi: After the government decreased the education budget by Rs 6,000 crore in the Union Budget, education activists are unhappy with the reduction and believe that it will adversely affect the education for children from economically backward communities.

Satish Talekar, education activist and a lawyer from the Bombay High Court, told The Sunday Guardian, “This may seem like a paltry amount in terms of the budget that India has. But this reduction will deny basic education to poor and economically backward children. This amount is allocated to municipal and zilla parishad schools. This will affect the transfer of this amount to these schools and indirectly impacting the education of poor children.”

Talekar told The Sunday Guardian, “In India, health and education sector are the two primary issues. The condition of the corporation, municipality, and zilla parishad schools are worsening every year. The government should give attention to improve the condition of these schools.”

The total education budget was slashed from Rs 99,311 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 93,224 crore. The budget has been slashed by 6% and the allocation of budget is lowest in the last three years. School education has taken the biggest hit whereby almost Rs 5,000 crore have been reduced followed by higher education where nearly Rs 1,000 crore have been reduced. This reduction has come at a time when the Covid-19-induced lockdown has worsened the students’ learning loss and school dropout rates.

He further told The Sunday Guardian, “No one wants to enroll their wards into the municipal, corporation or zilla parishad schools because of the poor quality of education. On the other hand, several private English medium schools are coming up and the fees are so high that the poor children do not have the money to take admissions. So, the graph of government’s expenditure should have been upward, but it is not. We are not spending on higher education.”

Talekar further added that the government is not giving permission to open schools or colleges with aid. “All the colleges are opened are without a grant from the government. Due to this, education has become costlier in India,” he told The Sunday Guardian.

He further said, “After class 4, almost 32% of students drop out of schools. After class 10, nearly 70% of students drop out. Moreover, the number of students who are graduated is just 9% of the total students.”

On the necessary steps that the government has to take to improve education in India, Talekar told The Sunday Guardian, “The government should spend money to provide infrastructure to schools, provide basic facilities like water, mid-day meal, etc to students and provide a grant to the schools.”