Indian education sector’s budget wishlist – Subsidised access to laptops and smartphones, focus on edtech
Union Budget 2022is expected to focus more on the learning loss due to COVID-19, and the implementation of the new National Educational Policy.
- Last year, the budget allocation for the education sector was ₹93,224 crore, constituted 2.67% of the central government’s estimated budget for 2021-22.
- Here’s what we can expect from the Union
AdvertisementIndia’s Union Budget 2022, which will be presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, is expected to focus more on the learning loss due to COVID-19, and implementation of the new National Educational Policy.
Last year, the budget allocation for the education sector was ₹93,224 crore, which was ₹6,000 less than the previous year, constituted 2.67% of the central government’s estimated budget for 2021-22.
According to the Economic Survey 2020-21, the expenditure on education by the union government as a proportion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been around 3% between 2014-15 to 2018-19. The National Education Policy (NEP), 1968 recommended the spending on education to be 6% of the GDP. NEP 2020 has reaffirmed this recommendation.
However, the experts expect this percentage (2.67%) to go up to at least 8-9% this year. “At least 8-9% of GDP should be put aside for education. More allocation isn't only necessary at primary, secondary and higher education but, we need to also look at schemes for skilling our youth that are outside of the education system and make them eligible for employment opportunities currently there,” said Prateek Shukla, cofounder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Masai School.
Here’s what we can expect from the Union Budget 2022-23 —
1. Increase in spending on teachers’ training
The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the teaching mode from offline to online, which was difficult for some teachers to cope with the latest technology.
Experts say that the government should draw their attention towards the teachers training programmes, as there is a massive need for the educators to be well versed with the latest technologies.
Budget allocation to National Education Mission (NEM) in 2021-22, which consists of — Samagra Shiksha and teacher training and adult education, was ₹31,300 crore — a 2% decrease as compared to 2019-20. The Budget 2021-22 allocated to teachers training and adult education was ₹250 crore.
“There is a gap in faculty training. We need to empower our experienced educators to understand new tools and techniques. It is important now to allocate budgets toward upskilling the existing instructors and training of fresher teachers, ensuring qualitative pedagogy. Further, there is a need to reimagine effective assessments focused on using digital methods and amplifying their benefits," said Ravi Panchanadan, managing director (MD) and CEO of Manipal Global Education Services (MaGE).
AdvertisementPuneet K, President of the Narayana Group said, “There is an urgent need to raise the quality of our teachers, at the level of subject knowledge and in the use of technology and other tools for teaching. Furthermore, implementing the NEP requires a fundamental shift in the mindset of teachers towards engagement rather than instruction. This can only be achieved through a significant investment of time, effort, and funds on teacher upskilling. The government must consider this in its budgetary allocations.”
2. Access to smart devices like laptops, smartphones at subsidised prices
Shifting of classes to online mode created a huge requirement for laptops and smartphones. A National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) survey conducted in August 2020 revealed that at least 27% students in India did not have access to smart devices, which ultimately led to learning loss during the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to a PRS India report, the Central government shared ₹818 crore across states and union territories to promote online learning. The Economic Survey 2020-21 observes that, as of October 2020, the percentage of students in government and private schools owning a smartphone increased from 36.5% in 2018 to 61.8% in 2020 in rural India.
Experts believe that this year the government should roll out more initiatives, which can help students to get access to laptops and smartphones at subsidised rates because the future is online and the online classes will continue even after the pandemic comes to an end.
“While we have ensured continuity, it is mainly limited to city limits due to erratic digital connectivity, which must be fixed on a war footing. Along with accessible internet, it is also vital to ensure that learners in need of digital assets are supported. Scholarships or subsidies to purchase laptops, smartphones, and other tech requirements, including more imaginative ways to utilise old digital assets, need to be explored, further,” said Panchanadan of MaGe.
3. Bring more focus on the edtech sector
The edtech sector in India has been exponentially growing especially during the pandemic when the entire world moved towards digitalisation. The industry, which attracted a lot of private players like Byju’s, Vedantu, UpGrad and many more, is poised to become a $30 billion in size in the next ten years, according to a report by advisory firm RBSA Advisors cited by the Economic Times.
Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, on January 3, 2022, said that the Ministry of Education is in talks with the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology to work out a common policy to regulate the edtech sector in India as it has been gaining traction from the past two years.
The edtech players in the market are expecting the Budget 2022-23 to have higher focus on the edtech sector and are also expecting to bring down the GST slab on educational services.
“The 2022 budget is expected to have a higher focus on the edtech sector as a whole, with significant investments to enhance greater access to robust and improved digital infrastructure. The GST for educational services is expected to be brought down to 5% from the existing 18%, to increase accessibility and feasibility for students from lower and middle-class families. With greater internet penetration, the upcoming budget is expected to announce various initiatives to accelerate digital innovation in the edtech sector,” said Vaibhav Singh, co-founder of Leap Scholar, an online platform which provides guidance and coaching for study abroad.
Budget 2022 needs to boost lithium-ion battery manufacturing for rising EV demand
Railway stocks have been buzzing for the last one month on expectation of significant budget allocation
Popular on BI
- RANKED: The world's 20 strongest militaries
- I quit buying from Amazon 4 years ago. I get better deals on products elsewhere but still have to use their services.
- Gen Z faces more pressure at work than previous generations because technology has eliminated work-life boundaries, a psychology professor says
- From usernames to secret codes for locked chats, here are the upcoming WhatsApp features
- Coal sector PSUs poised to cross ₹21,030 crore Capex target for 2023-24
- Stock markets snap six-day rally; Sensex slumps over 400 points
- From Lathmar Holi to Jallikattu: India's most unusual festivals
- Orient Technologies files draft papers with Sebi to mop-up funds via IPO