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Budget 2022: what does education sector expect?

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After healthcare, the education sector has suffered the most and seen so many changes since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that it would possibly never be the same again. But even so, the education space has witnessed exponential growth and is optimistic about the Budget. The foremost expectation from Union Budget 2022 is a bigger allocation of funds for education and a reduction in taxation. Here’s what people in the field of education expect to get:  

Prof (Dr.) Y.S.R. Murthy, Founding Vice-Chancellor, RV University, Bengaluru

With the current pandemic situation, it is crucial to prioritise education and health in India. Despite many promises, the allocation for education had never touched 6% of GDP in India. But the government should focus on the needs of the education sector in general and higher education in particular. As two-thirds of the higher education sector is in the hands of the private sector, it is time to encourage private corporate philanthropy in a big way through fiscal and other incentives. We also need to create an enabling environment to let the private sector come forward and establish new institutions.

Contributions made by a corporate or a foundation or any other grant-making entity to a University or to a research centre or a centre of excellence (being part of a university or higher education institution) or a new university approved by the government or an approved program under a university-industry partnership, should be eligible for deduction from taxable income to the extent of 300% of such contribution. 

Higher education institutions should be incentivized to build significant endowments. We would want the government to set up a scholarship to be named “The Indian Corporate Higher Education Scholarship’ with a corpus of Rs.1,000 crores contributed by the top 1000 corporations of the country. This should be run by an eminent independent board. This scheme should be encouraged by the government by providing full matching grants as well as providing tax exemption of up to 300% for all contributions.”

Aakash Chaudhry, Managing Director, Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL)

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With the Union Budget 2022-23 approaching, the young generation has high expectations from the Government especially in four segments – Education & Skill Development, better infrastructure, enhanced employment opportunities and common man’s safety & security. We applaud the Government initiatives like the adoption of the NEP, inclusion of new-age courses, and strengthening of the e-learning ecosystem. With Covid completely changing the dynamics of classroom education, we expect there to be a great amount of focus on online education and its infrastructure, especially in the Tier 2,3 cities, in the Budget.

Covid-19 adversely impacted the education system and forced an increase in the rate of school dropouts. The government should announce an attractive stimulus package and provisions for the education industry to bridge the glaring gap between urban and rural populations. The Government also needs to support telecom companies so that they develop better infrastructure, internet connectivity, access to modern devices, ensuring last-mile delivery, quality guidance to the underserved who have been left behind owing to the digital divide. While skilling, reskilling and upskilling will be the new normal, we need to develop more institutes like IITs, IIMs. NIIT, association with foreign universities offering new-age curriculum in sync with global standards to propel future workforce to be industry-ready. The Government should focus on major fund allocation towards innovation, research and development to help talent create lucrative employment opportunities

Kushal Raj Chakravorty, Founder, Lotus Petal Foundation

The country has never spent on education the 6% of GDP as recommended by every national policy since 1968. Almost Rs. 5000 cr taken away from school education in FY 2021-22 was disheartening. The disruption caused in school education by the pandemic requires out-of-the-box thinking to mitigate its long-term impact on the nation’s development. The NEP 2020, a cornerstone for the way forward, stood out with its foresight and ahead of the curve ideas. The same rigour will be needed in due investment in the infrastructure, giving digital access to the teachers and children, and enhancing teaching capacity and capability. We look forward to a higher allocation to education in the areas needed in a post-pandemic system.

Akshay Chaturvedi, Founder, Leverage EDU

The pandemic has changed education. The onset of online education has worked well for the minority that can afford it but has put the larger country through an absolute unspoken crisis. While we cut out education budgets, it will be important for us to drive them in the right direction – devices for students to study from plus a distribution system that gets them these screens in real-time, or putting together well-taken-care-of sanitised schools for those who can’t benefit from online, and a lot more. It’s important we think with a broader lens and with much bigger hearts. Also, as we go along the building and supporting world-class institutions in our country, it’s important for us to play by the oldest tenet in our history – of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – and encourage more students to become Global Citizens, to benefit from the diversity of global programs in countries that are our friends like the UK, Australia, Canada, US – in turn helping India conquer the world as soft power. 

Tara Singh Vachani – Managing Trustees – Max India Foundation

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During the challenging times of COVID-19, children have been forced to grow up at a pace faster than their previous generations. Owing to constant unpredictable circumstances such as the adoption of, and adaptation to, digital media, ambiguity around educational institutions opening and shutting down, children have undergone mental turmoil. Further, there exists a gulf between the number of children pursuing education in India and the resources available to them. Our aim must be to reduce this gap from widening – through alternative and immersive education models such as social-emotional learning – and offer equal opportunities to each child to enable society to realize its full potential.

Given the fact that the budgetary allocation towards the education sector was reduced to Rs 93,224 crore for 2021-22 from Rs 99,312 crore 2020-21 (also less than the allocation made in 2019-20), a higher allocation towards the education sector this year is vital for further prioritizing the early-stage development of children and catalyzing innovation within the existing pedagogical methods. By taking such pertinent steps, we can mould a population, making them ready for unprecedented situations, and effectively dealing with them.

Ankit Arora, Founding Director, Saarthi Education

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, we have learned a great deal about the COVID19 disease and the virus. However, one thing that we still haven’t learned is that indefinite school closures, especially without any plans of an alternate form of education for vulnerable children, is not an option. Indian schools for primary children have been closed for more than 600 days! There are multiple reports which peg this to be around 3-4 years’ worth of learning loss for children. Some studies, like the one by the Asian Development Bank, have also shown how this is going to affect the future incomes of our children.

While mindlessly opening up schools might not be the best idea, there are several steps the government must take. These include opening schools in batches while following COVID appropriate behaviour, setting up protocols for children in normal times and times when the wave is climbing, creating a community-focused approach by appointing community volunteers who can ensure learning continues while schools are shut or run at limited capacity.  All of this will require budget and resources – resources to be mobilised at the community level, training teachers to follow COVID appropriate behaviour, equipping schools to follow safety protocols and making children and parents feel safe. The government has a golden chance to increase the Education budget and set aside a hefty chunk to focus on school re-openings. A part of this extra budget should also be used to run remediation programmes for children who have lost their learning levels and need to come up to speed with their grade levels. This means engaging on-profit organisations in providing offline and digital resources to both, the teachers and children.

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The waves will come and go before COVID can turn into an endemic. This does not mean that we should wait around and let our children suffer. Inaction today is going to result in massive inequalities tomorrow. Let us start by giving school education the priority (in terms of budget and resources) it deserves, especially at a crucial time like this.”

Also Read:

Budget 2022: what does the industry want # 2

Budget 2022: what does the industry want # 3

Budget 2022: what does the industry want #4

Anish Srikrishna, Chief Executive Officer, Times Professional Learning 

The focus of this budget from an education standpoint should be giving impetus to NEP initiatives to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) and boost overall employability. The effort should be to make higher education affordable and accessible through widespread online degree programmes enabling transformation to our skilled youth. To make a significant impact on our Digital India or Make in India programmes, the budget should consider offering tax or GST rebates for the under-skilled workforce to enrol in upskilling programmes from government recognized institutions like the IITs and IIMs, among others. These rebates should be available to students procuring digital devices through government-approved public and private institutions for ensuring transparency and accountability. Financial institutions must be incentivized to liberalize student loan terms (collateral, documents, etc.) and reduce interest rates to ensure accessibility and democratize skill-building in particular and education in general.

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Taazakhabar News Bureau
Taazakhabar News Bureau
Taazakhabar News Bureau is a team of seasoned journalists led by Neeraj Mahajan. Trusted by millions readers worldwide.


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