Wednesday, February 23, 2011

MoE seeks billions to ensure free education

The Ministry of Education today said it needed additional budget of Rs 13 billion to implement the Supreme Court decision to provide free education to students up to secondary level.

The apex court on February 21 directed the government to ensure free education up to secondary level in all government and community schools.

MoE Joint Secretary Mahashram Sharma said based on last year’s calculation, the ministry has estimated that additional Rs 13 billion was required to provide free education up to secondary level.

“As estimated last year, Rs 5 billion was allocated for free textbooks, tuition fee and examination fee, Rs 5 billion for salary and other facilities for non-teaching staff such as accountants, peons and others,” said Sharma. “Rs 2 billion was estimated for additional teachers in secondary level education and Rs 1 billion for construction of science building and lab and to buy other equipment for Grade XI and XII.” According to Deepak Sharma, deputy director, Budget and Programme Section, 425,000 students have been enrolled in grade IX, 365,000 in grade X and more than 300,000 in Grade XI and XII in the community schools. The government has allocated Rs 57.65 b for the education sector this fiscal year, 17.1 per cent of total budget, and an increase of 24.5 per cent over the last year’s.

Educationist Bidhyanath Koirala said the government should allocate at least 25 per cent of the total budget to education sector to implement the SC verdict.