Union Budget: ‘Need for softer loans, greater involvement of pvt sector in education’

A key expectation from 2015 budget for the education sector will be an effort to create collaboration between private and public sector…

A key expectation from 2015 budget for the education sector will be an effort to create collaboration between private and public sector and emphasis on policies that would position India as a country of world class education from ECCE to Higher Learning. We seek government support through structured tax rebates, softer loans and ease of approvals for greater involvement of the private sector in education to drive enrolment rates as well as high quality education across the country.

There needs to be a switch in investment from non-priority or low priority areas to education which is a high priority sector both from a Gross Enrolment Ratio perspective as well as from the perspective India’s future growth and progress.

With regards to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio, in early childhood education is hovering at over 10% whereas the same in developed countries is above 60%. There is an urgent need for the Government and Private Early Learning organizations to collaborate in terms of creating the right awareness and access for high quality ECCE across the country. There is a need for co-creating and rolling out framework and policies with respect to pre-school sector.

The ECCE and Preschool sector is devoid of requisite guidelines and policies and there is a pressing need for a collaborative effort between Private sector and the Government to create the policies that can help promote access to world class ECCE in India. It is critical to do so to ensure that quality and safety remains high which can happen faster and better if key players from the private sector and the government work hand in hand to draft guidelines and policies for the preschool sector in India.

Some of the other key expectations that we have from the Union Budget:

* Lifting the age criteria restriction for entry in schools

* Encourage more private participation of corporate and individuals in Skill development area through tax subsidies in initial few years,
Allocation of funds for teacher training as the industry is facing a severe crunch of trained teachers,

* Tax benefits for corporates investing in research and development for qualitative content or in development of student assessment tools or pedagogy.

·  Soft loans to be disbursed for Corporates/educational set-ups  foraying into setting up of schools and colleges for a tenure of up to 15 years with step up repayment plan

·  The Service Tax Exemption for Auxiliary Educational Services should be widened in scope to provide incentives for people foraying into education sector. An example of this being the exemption on renting of immovable property services provided to educational institutions from the Service Tax net.

By KVS Seshasai, Chief Executive Officer, Zee Learn Limited

(The opinions expressed here are the author’s own)

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