Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Education Spending in State – Showing Signs of Fatigue

Everyone is aware of the fact that quality education is important for creating a reservoir of human resources for subsequent absorption in jobs, and hitherto will help in combating poverty. This has made resource deployment for improving the output from education, a necessity. Though the government claims to be doing everything to upgrade the quality of education, but the effort does not seem fruitful enough. It has been found out by the preliminary estimates that the share of expenditure devoted to education and its allied activities has declined sharply in the past millennium.

It is coming in notice that the state governments continues to spend more on non merit subsidies rather than utilizing available funds for asset creation and maintenance of existing facilities in the areas of education. The cumulative expenditure of states on educational services as a percentage has dropped exponentially from 20% to 18% in the year 2005-06. There is also a significant deepening in the inter state difference in the spending of per capita education across states. This as a result is leading to the deterioration of educational infrastructure at the primary and secondary levels in the states.

There is another worrisome facet of this crunch as well. Many states that in the past have ranked to be the most literate states are also showing signs of fatigue. To explicate this fact, let's cite the example of Kerala. This state, that had always recorded the highest literacy levels is also showing a considerable decrease in the overall investments in education.

The secular decline in the human capital investment is a matter of concern. The state government should remember that increasing expenditure on education infrastructure on education as well as better utilisation of the apportioned funds is essential element of the developmental strategy of the state in order to fulfill its most important duty – bringing development.


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