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Budget 2021 Expectations for Education: During the Covid pandemic last year, the education sector in India witnessed a major step taken by the Narendra Modi government in form of National Education Policy 2020 (NEP-2020). Now, in the aftermath of Covid-19, the education sector needs to cope with the paradigm shift promised in the NEP 2020. However, a major reformation requires a healthy budgetary allocation from Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the upcoming Budget 2021 to be presented on February 1. Education industry experts are hoping that the Modi government will make Budget 2021 decisions keeping in mind the Covid pandemic and NEP 2020.
“Schools and colleges around India will need to revamp their education models to comply with the recently announced National Education Policy 2020. This will require additional government funding to enable this to happen. India spends only 4.6 per cent of its total GDP on education, and ranks 62nd in total public expenditure on education per student, according to IMD. Budget 2021 should allocate at least 6 per cent of Indian GDP to the education sector, which is in line with recommendations by Niti Ayog,” Dr. Akhil Shahani, Managing Director, Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management, Shahani Group and Ask.Careers said.
“Additionally, the changes envisaged by NEP 2020 cannot happen only with government funds. Private investment and FDI should be encouraged in mainstream education with an expectation of a reasonable return. The budget should also provide incentives for universities to conduct research and scholarships for student entrepreneurs who wish to create innovative products,” Dr. Akhil Shahani said.
“NEP 2020 sharply focuses on higher education as well and to fulfil the objectives defined by it, a large allocation of funds is needed. Funds would be required for both buildings the framework as well as creating the required technical infrastructure. For example, implementation of the Academic Bank of Credit. We should also reduce the taxes on the online courses. Online education presently falls under the 18 per cent tax bracket. This should be brought down substantially to make high quality education more accessible for everyone. The success of our country depends upon our youth being educated,” Aman Mittal, Additional Director at Lovely Professional University, said.
“There are just around five hundred government universities in India. Private universities and colleges cater to a large number of students in the country. Hence, the government should also allocate funds on just not opening new IITs and IIMs but also to focus on how private institutions can be supported in building world class institutions. Last but not the least, scholarships should not be given just based on category. Funds for Merit and socio-economic background based scholarship should also be allocated. This would help in motivating students to keep performing better,” Aman Mittal said.
“The New Education Policy 2020 has set a clear direction for the future of education in the country and has brought a much-needed focus back to early years education. We welcome the new policy and believe it will bring far reaching benefits to many young people across India. We look forward to hearing more about the exciting work that is taking place to implement it and hope the upcoming budget complements the NEP at multiple levels and promotes initiatives/policies which benefit students of all ages,” said Mahesh Srivastava, Regional Director (South Asia), Cambridge International, said.
“In the Budget 2021, the education sector should be given more priority, so the effects of Covid-19 can be normalized. Underprivileged students shall be given more learning tools and opportunities to adapt to digital learning methods. More robust platforms should be developed and curated for students to learn with ease and discipline. Moreover, skills like problem-solving, creativity and computational thinking are crucial for the 21st-Century kids to face future adversities, just like the COVID-19 pandemic. The regular classes of basic academia should be the point of focus for India’s government, as new-normalcy should be reflected in the education sector as well. Considering all the points, the budget scale should be inclined towards the education sector in the upcoming Union Budget 2021,” Anoop Gautam, CEO & Co-founder, Tinker Coders said.
“Budget 2021 can focus on a more the comprehensive and extensive way our young students in K12 segment get exposure to Innovation and Tinkering while they are in school. Therefore, by the time they graduate we have some real innovators at our doorstep. It is high time the Indian students and professionals get a boost in recognitions of their innovations via Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). There has to be a culture within the country to promote brain gain. Considering this, there’s a government scheme of developing Atal Tinkering Lab through which around 5000+ ATL Labs are already setup, but given the fact that there are 1.5 Million+ Schools in India, there is still a lot that needs to be done. Undoubtedly, the establishment of thousands of Atal Tinkering Labs across 715 districts of India, enabling students from grade 6 to grade 12 to learn and experience the tinkering tools and equipment and develop innovative projects to solve community issue like never before. As India improved its ranking in the Global Innovation index to 48th in 2020 from 52nd Position in 2019. But still, there is a lot that requirements to be done if we have to take Innovation at grass-root level and make it significant for the masses,” Rajeev Tiwari, Founder of STEMROBO Technologies said.
“There is a shortage of millions of teachers in our education system and, at the same time, there is a need to update and redesign the qualifications of current teachers so that they are able to train their aspirants for the demands of the future. Budget 2021 should also include provisions and proposals for Teachers’ Abilities, taking into account the digital sustainability, development, enhancement and acceleration of the study patterns,” Rajeev Tiwari said.
“Covid 19 and its aftermath have further underscored the inequalities prevalent in India particularly in education and healthcare. While students from urban and financially secure backgrounds found it relatively easy to navigate the switch to digital education, those from rural, semi urban and marginalised backgrounds experienced a lot of difficulties. Education was hindered for many. The post Covid recession threatens to further perpetuate financial and social inequalities. This is why it is extremely important that this budget gives due importance to the social sector, particularly education. The share of education allocation has been less than 3 pc of GDP in India. This allocation must increase,” Dr Vivek Bindra, Founder and CEO, Bada Busines said.
“Budget 2021 should implement reforms such as refinancing of retail Education Loans for lower ticket size. Such financing scheme, similar to one available to HFCs, can provide a boost to Education Loan segment and contribute to liquidity management for NBFCs. This in turn would provide necessary momentum for NBFCs to create a stronger customer proposition and contribute to building the economy at large. Appropriate stimulus to the skill development sector will help millions of Indians develop the necessary skills to support the economy and the country at large. On the other hand, the corporate sector will get the necessary talent to grow and develop their business. Government should also focus on low income group youth so that they can utilize such a platform to become future ready and thus, join hands in getting back the economy on track,” Amit Gainda, CEO, Avanse Financial Services said.
“The high rate of GST for online education and online assessments makes it expensive, thereby restricting its access to only the elite. Therefore, considering the need of the hour, the government should reduce the existing rate of GST from 18 per cent to 5 per cent in the Union Budget for 2021 for online assessments and education. This step will not only enable access to online education and online examination systems at a lower cost but also provide a fillip to ed-tech companies,” Manish Mohta, MD – Learning Spiral said.