By Niru Agarwal,
Education being the key instrument of social change, progress and upward mobility in India, the government needs to ensure that education gets the attention and funding it richly deserves. There is a need to improve facilities in public schools through the setting up of smart classrooms, modern laboratories and libraries which would enhance the quality of learning. Hence the government must emphasize on education at all levels. We expect the government to improve the quality and scale of education across the country through the National Education Policy (NEP) with more funds for schools at different levels. In the present context of the Covid-19, the government must provide support to states for a back-to-school campaign.
With the presence of heavy digital penetration, the government should emphasize modern and interactive techniques, and equip teachers with new-age teaching tools like conceptual learning methods and regularly update them with the changing scenarios in the education sector. It should also build the capacity to address the current learning needs of students. The challenge right now is not just producing students who will get jobs, but students who can thrive in rapidly changing environments. The Government should also look into subsidizing loans sought for education and take steps to reduce the cost of these loans and manage reasonable returns from them. The Budget should also pay importance to school infrastructure and amenities besides providing students with engaging and powerful learning contents.
The status of education is often a healthy predictor of the country’s overall development and well-being. Campaigns from the past like ‘study in India’ should be re-emphasised as this will help establish world-class higher education standards and patterns and attract more foreign students to the country to be part of our education system.
Specific initiatives in developing the skills of children in technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, cloud computing and Internet of Things will be welcome as students would be well prepared to handle these complex technologies which are widespread across the world early on. The Budget can make a special allocation for this especially for children in government schools who need to get exposure to the latest trends. A policy to involve start-ups in training these children would be welcome as start-ups have become mainstream in India’s technological capabilities.
In conclusion, it can be said that the education sector promises plenty of opportunities and we would like the government to identify and execute them in the most appropriate way as students would be the most important beneficiaries. The Government could also focus on improving the institutional structure and removing obstacles that constrain growth and reforms in the educational sector. There are many challenges due to the ongoing pandemic and the Budget is going to play a pivotal role in reviving the education system. With India set to be the next global educational hub, the Budget from last year should see a healthy increase for the educational sector so that we can lay a stronger foundation for new-age learning strategies.
(The author is a trustee at Greenwood High International School)