Budget 2018: Last year, finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget 2017 speech had identified imparting the right educational skills and job creation as one of the nine pillars that could enhance India’s growth. With budget 2018 around the corner, educators are eagerly waiting to see if the government would align the educational system to the realities of 21st Century changes in social and economic environment. For years, the education sector is purely dominated by government investments. Government heavy lifting education spending in the long run may not be viable hence it’s important to draft policies to promote private investment in education.
Public private partnership in education sector
The Indian education sector is at the cusp of historic reforms. To fund the introduction of 21 Century learning techniques and skill the Indian youth to be market ready there is a need for huge investments in the education space.
Public private partnership is an innovative method to tap the resources of a private school in order to help the government run schools. Private or public company whose earnings is more than 10cr or revenue is more than 25 cr can collaborate with top 50,000 existing municipal or government funded schools in order to introduce international curriculum. This would benefit students and public schools that want to provide a new learning approach that promotes creative and critical thinking and better communication skills. The international curriculum is more research-oriented that boosts the thinking capacity of the students and lets them widen their skills.
Robust guidelines promoting PPP in education sector would help corporates use their corporate social responsibility funds efficiently.
Introduce performance based funding for state-run schools
Dropout rate of students across state-run schools are very high in India on account of lack of facilities and lack of English medium learning. It may be important to get a performance metrics in place to ensure managements at public schools use funds for the benefit of students.
Like there are performance metrics set for public sector banks to get government funds. The similar structure should be introduced for public schools in India. Low dropout rates could be one parameter on which fund allocation to a particular school can be decided.
The central government in its budget 2018 should encourage state governments to make funds of public schools fixed and variable. The variable funding should be released on the basis of achievement metrics. The achievement metrics will be uniform for all schools and the learning outcomes can be measured through assessment tests which will help government put their funds in the deserving schools. The government can further use these data for analytics to provide other state benefits to better performing schools.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has been the government’s pet project and now that it has achieved 100% enrollments. The government would now look at strengthening teaching learning outcomes. Learning Outcomes is a practice that aims at monitoring a student’s performance and development periodically, to enhance capabilities and create future leaders. A strong assessment model for learning outcomes need to be formalized by the government.
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Introduce mass scale re-training program for teachers
The changing social fabric and use of technology in modern day teaching calls for robust training and retraining center for teachers. Growing competition and performance pressure have put students under tremendous pressure. Teachers play a very important role in helping students balance their academic as well as non-academic performance.
Modern day teacher needs to be armed with behavioral skills, technology skills and subject matter skills too. The innovative teaching methods like activity-based learning, new technology tools and developing entrepreneurial skills in students requires teachers to be trained regularly. The quality of teaching in public schools is always under scrutiny. A mass retraining program for teachers across the country would be beneficial.
Union Budget 2018 is the last full budget of the Modi led NDA government that has executed some radical reforms in India like implementation of Goods and Services Tax and Demonitisation. The expectations are high that the government would not shy away from taking some radical decisions. In 2018, the focus of the educational institutions and government should be to align the Indian educational system to needs of corporate India.
Technological disruption has increased unemployment and made workforce redundant across sectors. It’s the need of the hour for policy makers and educationists to introduce modern learning and teaching techniques in India. It’s also time to revamp the traditional curriculum to take into account the needs of corporate India. In 2018, we would see educational institutions with the right policy intervention by the policy makers striving to introduce 21st Century learning techniques to build future leaders.
By Mr. Atul Temurnikar, Co- Founder and Executive Chairman, Global Schools Foundation