Centre approves ₹1,275-cr outlay for Punjab under Samagra Shiksha, flags teacher vacancies - Hindustan Times
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Centre approves 1,275-cr outlay for Punjab under Samagra Shiksha, flags teacher vacancies

By, Chandigarh
Apr 09, 2024 08:36 AM IST

The budget, which is marginally lower than the outlay of ₹1,298 crore for 2023-24, has been sanctioned to meet the expenditure on the new and ongoing programmes for improvement in the quality of education, upgrade of school infrastructure, pre-primary education, training of teachers, and vocational education

The Union ministry of education has approved a budget of 1,275 crore for school education in Punjab for 2024-25 under the Samagra Shiksha scheme while flagging the teacher vacancies, adverse pupil-teacher ratio and infrastructure gaps in government schools in the state.

There is also a spillover amount of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>221 crore from the financial year 2023-24, which remained unspent and has been carried forward. (HT)
There is also a spillover amount of 221 crore from the financial year 2023-24, which remained unspent and has been carried forward. (HT)

The budget, which is marginally lower than the outlay of 1,298 crore for 2023-24, has been sanctioned to meet the expenditure on the new and ongoing programmes for improvement in the quality of education, upgrade of school infrastructure, pre-primary education, training of teachers, and vocational education. The state government had submitted an annual work plan and budget of 1,498 crore for the financial year 2024-25.

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As the flagship centrally sponsored scheme for school education is funded jointly by the Centre and the state on a 60:40 sharing basis, the ministry would contribute 709 crore as its share and the Punjab government 566 crore, according to the minutes of the meeting of the Project Approval Board of Samagra Shiksha issued by the education ministry on Friday.

There is also a spillover amount of 221 crore from the financial year 2023-24, which remained unspent and has been carried forward.

The Project Approval Board headed by Union school education and languages secretary Sanjay Kumar had considered the proposal of the Punjab government on February 9. Of the total fresh outlay, a sum of 859 crore has been earmarked for elementary schools and 394 for secondary schools, and 22 crore for teacher education for strengthening existing schools, Right to Education (RTE) entitlements such as free uniforms, free textbooks and special training of out-of-school children, learning enhancement programme, study trips, early childhood care and education, solar panels in elementary schools and in-service training of teachers.

The ministry, which also reviewed the performance indicators and progress, flagged the teacher vacancies in government schools, putting the number of vacant posts of teachers at 5,638 in elementary schools and 3,612 in senior secondary schools. “This signifies a gap in the education system, indicating the urgent need for proactive measures,” the central ministry said, asking the state government to fill the vacant posts on priority.

Another concern raised by the central ministry is the number of single-teacher schools. The ministry said that out of 19,330 government schools in the state, 7,182 have an enrolment of less than 50 each, and 2,451 are single-teacher schools. It put the number of schools with adverse pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) at 26.98%, telling the state’s school education department to carry out rationalisation to ensure the required number of teachers in all schools, especially at the elementary level.

The ministry also took up the issue of gaps due to pendency in infrastructure facilities such as toilets, integrated science labs, additional classrooms and skill education labs.

“Regarding the previous non-recurring approvals, as per the Samagra Shiksha framework, these are committed liabilities which would become the sole responsibility of the state after five years from the date of approval,” the ministry said, asking the state government to update the status of such works.

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