The Union Budget 2022 has failed to arrest the downward spiral of education and unemployment wave. The status quo maintained in the planned spending highlights the utter neglect of the pandemic-hit education sector.
The two year of Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented academic loss of students at all levels. We were hoping for the Budget to provide a major boost to education and remedy this loss, but it has been a disappointment. Barring a few e-learning initiatives, there wasn’t much in the budget to address this issue. The digital education can only compliment the in-person learning and can never be an alternative.
After a year of drastic drop in the education budget, the outlay has been increased this year. However, much of the additional allotment has been directed towards the ‘trickle down’ schemes such as Rashtriya Uchchatar Shikshan Abhiyan (RUSA) and ‘Examplar Schools’ that favour only a few well-performing institutes and have proved to be little useful for the larger student community.
On the other hand, the outlay for the financial aid schemes for marginalised, minority, poor and female students has either reduced or risen marginally. This is a cause of concern, as the scholarships and fellowships are key to ensure social justice in the field of education. This reduction will likely further increase the educational disparity in the society.
At a time when the youth are increasingly becoming anxious due to rising unemployment, the government was expected to invest in the skill development and entrepreneurship. However, the skill development initiatives didn’t get any substantial increase in the funds, while the little money allotted for the development of entrepreneurship last year has remained unchanged.
Overall, it was a mediocre and timid budget. It fails to ignite the spark and hope for renewal and streamlining of key sectors.