Saying that the focus of the government’s fiscal policy this year would be on “energising youth to reap benefits of growth and employment”, the Finance Minister on Feb 1 made a slew of announcements for the country’s youth in this year’s budget speech. From education to jobs, skill building to reforms, here are 8 big announcements that will have a direct bearing on the young:
1. The government has proposed to introduce a system of measuring annual learning outcomes in schools. The Finance Minister said that the government will lay emphasis on science education and flexibility in curriculum to promote creativity through local innovative content.
2. The government has proposed to create an innovation fund for secondary education for ensuring universal access, gender parity, and quality improvement. This is going to focus on 3,479 educationally backward blocks.
3. In what could be a major game changer for higher education, the finance minister has also promised to undertake reforms in the UGC. Institutions offering quality education will be granted more administrative and academic autonomy, something that will be defined on the basis of accreditation and ranking. Education is also likely to become more outcome based as the government proposes to introduce a revised framework for outcome-based accreditation and credit-based programmes.
4. The SWAYAM platform, which hosts courses online, will make 350 courses available, Jaitley said in his Budget speech today. Access to the platform will be increased by linking it to DTH channels dedicated to education.
5. The Finance Minister also announced that a single authority will conduct entrance tests for all higher education institutions like JEE, NEET, NET, etc. This is being done to free CBSE, AICTE, and other agencies that conduct these tests, and so that they can focus more on academics. The new testing institution, the National Testing Agency, will be an autonomous and premier testing organisation, the Minister said.
6. 100 India International Skill Centres will be set up across the country under the Skill India Mission.
7. The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras, currently set up in 60 districts, will be extended to 600 districts.
8. With an allocation of 4,000 crore, the government is also going to introduce a Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness Program called SANKALP to provide market-relevant training to 3.5 crore youth.