Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 23 June 2024

Goals for Education-I

Relevance: GS Paper I

Why in news?

Under the NEP-2000, the name of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) was changed to Ministry of Education (MoE). There was a serious dimension to this change in nomenclature.

More About News:

  • The renaming of the "human resource" department could initiate a process of refashioning the government's attitude to educational institutions and teachers.
  • Previous ministers aimed to limit the autonomy of government-funded academic institutions, which often stifled excellence in higher education.
    • It was expected of the Minister to step back and allow the heads of universities to run the institutions.
  • This would be one of the first steps in the government's gradual withdrawal from the sphere of higher education and to opening it up for private players.
  • Successive government policies have fallen short of the country's goals of inclusion, expansion, and excellence in education. Electoral politics have consistently hindered creative planning in the sector.
  • Drawing the border between populism and pro-people policies is often forgotten. Our country's Constitution cannot be faulted.
  • Article 41 of the Constitution says: "The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want”.
  • There's an imbalance in allocations for different facets of the social sector in union budgets.
  • NEP-2020 intends to curb the commercialization, but not privatization.
  • The NEP launched in the second half of 2020 aimed at overhauling India's education system, but the pandemic situation turned the academic calendar topsy-turvy.

Education Expenditure and Privatization:

  • Private expenditure on education is growing faster than public expenditure, reflecting increasing privatization of education in India.
  • A notable trend, particularly in the past three decades, is that private expenditure on education is growing faster than that of the public, which reflects increasing privatization of education in India, and has far-reaching policy implications.
  • Growing demand for education coupled with inadequacy of public expenditure on education has resulted in growing private expenditure.
  • According to All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report estimates, Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education in India was 28.5 percent in 2021-22.
  • Private educational institutions account for nearly 46 per cent of the total school enrolment and 70 per cent of higher education enrolment.
  • Whereas the private expenditure on education (PFCE) increased from Rs 86.5 crore in 1951-52 to Rs. 509961.6 crore in 2018-19 and to Rs 728197.6 crore by 2022-23, public expenditure increased from Rs 64.5 crore to Rs 736581 crore and further to Rs 1098589.4 crore for the same periods.

Budget Allocations and NEP Implementation:

  • The government's intent on faster digital Integration and creating a high-quality and equitable public education system needs to be supported by adequate fund allocation.
  • Though NEP-2000 notes the criticality of enhancing public funding, it is discouraging that the budgetary allocation does not provide proper support to make a convenient roadmap for achieving the target.
  • A sum of Rs 1.206 lakh crore was allocated to the ministry of education in the interim budget (2024-25) which is a mere 6.8 per cent increase in comparison to FY 2023-24.
  • Rs 47619.77 crore has been set aside for higher education departments.
  • The budgetary allocation for education as a percentage of total expenditure has dropped over the last seven years from 10.4 per cent to 9.5 per cent, according to the Economic Survey 2022-24.
  • The budget for Samagra Shiksha Scheme, the main vehicle for implementing the Right to Education Act is at Rs 37500 crore, slightly higher than Rs 37435.47 crore allocated for 2023-24.

Digital Education and Challenges:

  • A UNESCO report explained: Education systems responded with distance learning solutions, all of which offered less or more imperfect substitutes for classroom instruction.
  • Since the beginning of the lockdown, campuses across the country were shut down and all academic institutions switched to virtual classrooms.
    • Most institutions lacked digital infrastructure and experience, and many teachers struggled to learn the digital platform for teaching.
    • The digital divide became a matter of great concern.
  • The Delhi High Court, in its ruling on 18 September 2020 (Justice for All vs. Government of NCT Delhi & Ors), mandated the government to ensure free provision of laptops/tablets/phones and high-speed internet for online education to economically weaker section (EWS) students as defined under Section 2(c) of the RTE Act, aiming to bridge the digital divide.
  • The NEP has plans to set up and develop a National Education Technical Forum to oversee capacity building, develop e-content and provide a platform for educational institutions and stakeholders to share best practices leveraging technology.
  • Setting up more virtual labs to give students remote access to experiment based learning and virtual field trips strongly suggests that the policy promises a lot in focusing on experiential learning.
  • NEP is set to include more online and e-learning platforms at both school and college levels to make it more technology oriented.
  • It also seeks to encourage research across a higher perspective of education by setting up a National Research Foundation.
  • Remote learning and technology-based education delivery are going to become the norm and are sure to attract huge investments.
  • The digital divide may only be bridged with the availability of requisite hardware, software and networking facilities.


The Indian education system is at a crucial juncture, facing challenges of privatization, inadequate public funding, and a widening digital divide. The implementation of the National Education Policy 2020 offers hope for comprehensive reform, but its success depends on adequate financial support and effective execution. Bridging the digital divide and leveraging technology for inclusive education are paramount. As India moves towards a more technology-oriented education system, balancing public and private sector involvement while ensuring equitable access will be key to achieving the nation's educational goals.

Gross enrolment ratio (GER)

  • Total enrolment in a specific level of education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population in the official age group corresponding to this level of education. 
  • The GER can exceed 100% because of early or late entry and/or grade repetition.

Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE) 

  • It is defined as the expenditure incurred by resident households and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH) on final consumption of goods and services, whether made within or outside the economic territory. 
  • Resident households and NPISHs incur expenditures while traveling abroad, whereas non-resident households, NPISHs, and extraterritorial bodies make final consumption expenditure within the economic territory of the country. 
  • To derive the estimate of total final consumption expenditure made by all households and NPISHs, whether resident or non-resident, the commodity flow approach is used. 
  • This approach first calculates 'final consumption expenditure in the domestic market'. This estimate is then adjusted by adding expenditures by residents incurred abroad (which forms part of imports) and subtracting expenditures by non-residents incurred within the economic territory (which forms part of exports). 
  • The resulting estimate is 'final consumption expenditure of resident households and NPISHs'.

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