Education experts express what they seek from Budget

Education experts express what they seek from Budget 2020

Representative image (PTI Photo)

By Beas Dev Ralhan

 “The Indian education system is evolving fast; in the past few years, we have witnessed numerous changes. From the introduction of new education policy to the reform of the NEET exam to laying emphasis on digitised classrooms, ICT-enabled learning and quality teacher training programmes – different steps are being taken towards the development of the K-12 sector. Furthermore, Interim Budget 2019 announced an increase of 10 per cent in the education budget, a total amount of Rs 93,847.64 crore, for nationwide academic development. This year, it is expected that more financial support will be promised for education. Vivid introduction of technology in the classroom environment and knitting artificial intelligence with mainstream education is the way forward. India needs to integrate itself with the global big bang of technology. Introducing robots in education to revolutionise STEM can play a significant role in transforming education. Putting emphasis on early childhood education and ensuring that no child is left behind are important factors too. The new education policy has prioritised extensive teacher training and streamlining this process in the coming years will be an important aspect of developing the academic culture of India.” (Beas Dev Ralhan is the Co-Founder and CEO, Next Education India Pvt Ltd)

By Amol Arora

“Today’s government has a responsibility of not only correcting the short term economic crisis but also needs to look at the country’s economy in the long run. And education, especially early education, is the most important investment a country can make. One of the major issues plaguing our education system today is schools not being aligned to the future job requirements. The current education system is designed for the industrial age and definitely not for the information age of today. The challenge right now is not just producing students who will get jobs but students who can thrive in the volatile environment of tomorrow. To help narrow down the education-employability gap and develop world-class skilled workforce, we need to get the Ed-Tech companies to the forefront. It is high time the government gives due recognition and boost to this sector in the upcoming Union Budget. It is also expected that contemporary and emerging trends will be incorporated in the curriculum with NEP 2020. The Union budget of 2019 allocated ₹94,853.64 crore for the education sector, an increase of nearly ₹10,000 crore from the previous year. The school sector got ₹56, 536.63 crore and the rest ₹38,317.01 crore was allocated to the higher education. Despite this, the higher education has been very outdated. The vast resources of the government and execution capability of the private sector should be combined to achieve more public-private partnerships. In the last budget, the teacher training initiative by CBSE was allocated only ₹125 crore, as against ₹871 crore allocated before. This needs to change this time with more emphasis on equipping the educators. The upcoming budget should also take steps to ensure that no student should end educational pursuits owing to lack of funds. To make lifelong learning possible for students, the budget should look at subsidizing education loans and make education affordable for all. Government needs to take required steps to promote holistic education which ensures literacy, life skills and employability.” (Amol Arora is Vice Chairman & MD, Shemford Group of Futuristic School)

By Akhand Swaroop Pandit

“With heavy digital penetration the government should emphasize on modern and interactive techniques and should focus on teacher/faculty training with an aim to develop and build capacity for addressing the current learning needs of students. The government should also focus on improving facilities in institutions through setting up smart classrooms, modern laboratories, research facilities, libraries, etc, along with introducing mandatory student counselling with trained counsellors. With the upcoming budget I expect the government to reduce the taxes over online educational courses so that the ed-tech sector can boost up and can reach to broader region.The budget should look at subsidizing education loans. Maximum unsecured loans by banks for studying abroad is Rs 7.5 Lakhs. This is too low considering the cost of education. Also,Online courses are not well recognised yet. With high unemployability, it is these online short term courses, which will fill in the skill gap. The government needs to boost them.” (Akhand Swaroop Pandit is CEO & Founder, Catalyst Group)