Union Budget 2021: Education sector & edutech industry lauds Finance Minister’s push towards skill development

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Updated: February 01, 2021 7:00 PM

Union Budget 2021: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed to amend the Apprenticeship Act and realign the National Apprenticeship Training Scheme for post-education apprenticeship, training of graduates and diploma holders in engineering.

Nirmala Sitharaman Union Budget 2021 Finance MinisterUnion Budget 2021-22: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds a folder case containing the Union Budget 2021-22, during the Budget Session of the Parliament, at Parliament House in New Delhi. MoS Finance Anurag Thakur is also seen. (PTI Photo)

Union Budget 2021: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her third Budget speech on Monday made some important announcements regarding the education sector and on the training and upskilling front. The Finance Minister announced a total of 93,224.31 crore for the Ministry of Education this year, in comparison to last budget’s allocation of Rs 99,311.52 crore.

On the skill development front and to enhance opportunities for youth, in her Budget for 2021-22 speech, the Finance Minister proposed to amend the Apprenticeship Act and realign the National Apprenticeship Training Scheme for post-education apprenticeship, training of graduates and diploma holders in engineering. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman set aside over Rs 3,000 crore for this purpose in the Budget for 2021-22.

In terms of announcements for Education Sector in Union Budget 2021, finance minister announced the setting up of a Higher Education Commission of India, 100 new Sainik schools and a central university in Leh.

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Among the major announcements from the education sector in the Budget for 2021-22, she also stressed on the need to increase collaboration with foreign institutions as well as strengthening over 15,000 schools as per the National Education Policy (NEP).

The Union Budget 2021-22 focuses on driving notable progress in the educational system through transformation in the learning framework from traditional rote learning format to an evolved and engaged pedagogical approach for students in K12, said Srini Raghavan, co-Founder and CEO of Educational Initiatives. “The government has shown the commitment to take a number of steps to reform assessments in India including Board Exam reforms and making assessments focus on conceptual learning in school, which we welcome,” Raghavan added.

Commenting on the budgetary allocations, Rameswar Mandali, founder and CEO of Skill Monks, said that improving employment opportunities at the higher educational level by allocating Rs 3,000 crore in National Apprenticeship Training Scheme is a palpable consideration in the Union Budget 2020-21, for students from both non-science and technology streams. “This will ensure that skilling is prioritised and enable students to be future-ready, in the domain of their choice and stay relevant in a dynamic market environment,” he added.

Mohan Lakhamraju, founder and CEO of Great Learning, also welcomed the allocation of Rs 3,000 crore towards realignment of the existing scheme of National Apprenticeship Training Scheme in order to provide post-education apprenticeship to engineering graduates and diploma holders. “It will help create talent that is employable and equipped with the right set of skills for the industry ensuring professionals are job-ready. The moves to join forces with UAE to benchmark skill qualification and introduction of collaborative training programs with the Japanese workforce are also steps in the right direction. This will help us keep our skilling endeavours in sync with global trends,” he added.

The proposal to implement Data Analytics, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to upgrade the functioning of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs was also welcomed by industry players. Nikhil Barshikar, founder and managing director of Imarticus Learning, said, “Specifically, the ministry’s database management systems will be overhauled, leading to increased efficiency in e-scrutiny, e-adjudication, e-consultation and compliance management. To accomplish this, highly skilled Indian data scientists and analysts will be required.”

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The industry members also said that finance minister’s observation in the Budget 2021 speech that India will have the world’s largest working-age population by 2030 which needs to be skilled for the job was spot on. Narayan Mahadevan, founder of BridgeLabz-Platform avered, “Internship and apprenticeship is the best way to garner the required job skills. I wish the government had definitive plans to accomplish the same and even encourage such platforms that work towards skilling from the perspective of employability and create business models on successful employment.”

Notably, the finance minister also said that an initiative is underway in partnership with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to benchmark skill qualifications, assessment, and certification, accompanied by the deployment of certified workforce.

And in order to promote enhanced academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions, in the Budget for 2021-22 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to put in place a regulatory mechanism to permit dual degrees, joint degrees, twinning arrangements and other such mechanisms.

Decoding Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget 2021 :

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