Education Sector Awaits Nod for Innovative Projects

Enhancing the quality of school education will be the focus of the General Education Department for the upcoming fiscal as it has devised many innovative projects for budgetary approval.

‘’The focus will be on new projects for communication and skill development for students along with innovative teachers’ training programmes,’’ General Education Secretary A Shajahan said. Ambitious projects of the State Government such as the free uniform scheme for students up to class VIII will continue in the next academic year also. Asked about the dwindling share from the Centre under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Shajahan said that the state would devise projects which will ensure full fund allocation from the Centre.      Higher Education: The role of the Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) has now become prominent with the Centre deciding to make it the nodal agency for disbursing Central grants for universities.     ‘’The Council expects increased budgetary allocation for establishing a Faculty Training Centre and for setting up the State Assessment and Accreditation Council (SAAC),’’ said KSHEC vice-chairman T P Sreenivasan.

“Another key area which requires budgetary support is our various scholarship schemes – the beneficiaries of which keep increasing with every year,’’ said Sreenivasan, adding that a grant of Rs 10-Rs 13 crore was expected during the next fiscal.    According to former Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University B Ekbal, the government should allocate funds for research institutions and setting up centres for performing arts.

 ‘’Though there are a few Centrally-funded research institutions, much more needs to be done to promote research in the state,’’ he said. ‘’There is a huge potential for performing arts in Kerala. Though the number of participants in the annual state youth festivals are astounding, we have not produced artistes of national repute of late for which more performing arts institutions are required,’’ he said.  The govt should allocate funds for setting up universities in each district and bring colleges under it as a cluster, Ekbal said.

Power Sector Seeks More FUnds

T’Puram: With several new power generation projects lined up and infrastructure development requiring immediate attention, the state’s power sector is eyeing a decent allocation in the 2014-15 budget.  During the ongoing session of the Assembly, Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed had stated that the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) had asked the government to earmark it Rs 1300 crore. That, incidentally, is the plan fund size of the utility for the coming fiscal.  In addition to expanding the distribution and transmission systems, several new power generation projects are going to require preliminary funding. This include the Rs 2000- crore Brahmapuram LNG project and the Rs 4000- crore collaboration between the KSEB and BPCL-KRL for establishing a power project.

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