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Education Sector Pre-budget Expectations

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With Union Budget 2021-22 around the corner, here is what various stakeholders from the Education industry look forward to. Ashwani Awasthi, Managing Director - RICS School of Built Environment
"The Government of India has announced transformational changes in the education sector while launching the National Education Policy (NEP2020) last year. While NEP 2020 focuses on raising the quality of education however upgradation of infrastructure of public higher education and professional institutions is key to achieving the desired outcomes. Also, the last one year introducing significant usage of digital infrastructure in education, the investment in digital infrastructure also needs to be enhanced. This means that the government needs to make a 12% to 15% higher budgetary allocation than that has been done in the current year."
Dr Jitin Chadha, Founder & Director, Indian School of Business & Finance (ISBF)
"The Union Budget for 2021-2022 is a much-awaited one as it will be the first since the New Education Policy was introduced last year. One naturally expects. a substantial increase in the allocation to education, and I hope the allocation goes up for higher education in particular, in order to cater to India's ever-growing need for quality human capital, especially if it is to become 'Atmanirbhar'. To this end, while spending to set up high-quality institutions for the long term, I hope earnestly that the Budget makes long-due allocations for internationalizing Indian higher education because that is our best short-run bet for improving the quality of the workforce and bringing it to global standards for the post-pandemic world."Ramananda SG, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Pearson India
“The education sector in India is at the cusp of a deeper transformational shift to realize and utilize young India’s capabilities. The foundation and vision set by the government, through NEP 2020 will be vital in achieving the objectives of an effective and inclusive education system. The Union budget 2021 should give guidelines on the ‘NEP implementation plan’ and further strengthen the focus and investment in Edu-tech to enhance experiential and immersive learning and reinforce the skill development process at par with the global education standards. The year 2021 will be significant as Indian schools step up their preparations to participate in the PISA test in 2022. India will be part of the assessment for the second time after 2009, where it ranked 72 out of 73 countries. The improvement in ranking will help boost India's confidence amongst OECD members and help us showcase our goal to achieve an effective and inclusive education system."
Aakash Chaudhry, Managing Director, Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL)
“National Education Policy (NEP 2020) has already set the pace for enormous skill development for the youth. We are expecting that the Government will increase the education expenditure in the current education budget. With more focus on the implementation of the new policy, quality and tax-free education and skill development, the reforms will pave ways for more blue-collar jobs. Classroom education has undergone complete change due to emergence of COVID, we expect that Government will put more focus on the usage of digital education in Tier 2,3 cities and envisage avenues to make India as one of the preferred higher education destinations in the world.”Achin Bhattacharyya, CEO & Founder, Notebook
"This year's budget will require some real delicate balancing act, with so many issues and consequential need gaps across sectors and education is no exception. For all stakeholders in the Education sector, this has indeed been a critical year, with schools closed for months now and with learning continuing via various online platforms and edtech portals. The pandemic has indeed highlighted the need for investment in technology across levels, and it's high time that this be taken up on a war footing. We need to digitally connect all schools in the country and also ensure a smooth glitch-free working of the digital infra post its implementation. Also, the creation of tech hubs, from where quality vernacular content can be disseminated is the need of the hour. The pandemic has highlighted the glaring digital divide, and it's high time that all stakeholders of the educational ecosystem join hands to address this need. Considering the role that edtech companies played during the pandemic, it will really be a prudent step if they are given the required support and impetus to grow by making capital accessible to them, facilitating various collaboration with leading universities and by reducing GST rates on online education."
Aman Mittal, Additional Director at Division of International Affairs, Lovely Professional University
“The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 sharply focuses on higher education as well and to fulfil the objectives defined by it, a large allocation of funds is needed. Funds would be required for both building the framework as well as creating the required technical infrastructure. For example, implementation of the Academic Bank of Credit."
"There are just around five hundred government universities in India. Private universities and colleges cater to a large number of students in the country. Hence, the government should allocate funds on just not opening new IITs and IIMs but also to focus on how private institutions can be supported in building world-class institutions."Amit Bansal, Founder & CEO, WizKlub
"There is a beautiful initiative in the form of NEP that would redefine the education sector on the country. Students would grow up developing future-ready skills like critical thinking, logical thinking and tech skills instead of rote memorizing content. Along with NEP, leading institutions like the World Economic Forum have also emphasized the importance of these skills for jobs in future. These skills cannot be built by just changing the curriculum or by introducing another subject. These skills require the use of Tech tools that teachers need to start using to ensure high efficacy. Schools would need support on both the technology and the processes to implement the skill-based pedagogy. We would like to see specific budget allocation for tech and process implementation of these skills across schools."Gaurav Tyagi, Founder - Career Xpert
"The biggest challenge the healthcare sector/industry is facing currently is the shortage of skilled medical workforce. Our country needs more MBBS, MS and MD medical post-graduates and well-equipped hospitals and colleges. The government should allot funds for medical education in rural areas. The health facilities should be improved in rural areas with qualified doctors and better equipment. The special allowances should also be provided to the doctors and their paramedical staff. The health scheme for children should be launched by the government that should especially focus on paramedical courses. New courses should be started in the existing government colleges. There needs to be a system where we can focus on skilling and upgrading medical workforce skills in the needed geographies. In order to achieve this, major reforms are needed."Manish Mohta, MD - Learning Spiral
"Fund Allocation & Efforts for Reducing the Digital Divide: Currently, 'Digital divide' is a major problem. The Digital Divide refers to the gap between those able to benefit from the internet & those who are not. Thus, the aim of “closing the digital divide” now refers to efforts to provide meaningful access to internet infrastructures, applications & online examination system solutions. The government should bridge the digital divide gap so that learning solutions can be easily accessed by everyone. The Union Budget 2021 should focus heavily on creating online infrastructure & making it available till the last mile via the use of affordable smartphones, free internet and democratic distribution of technological devices. Budget 2021 will need to be of the expected up-gradation in infrastructure. Boosting ed-tech & online examination system to provide facilities of online exams across the country."Rohit Gajbhiye, Founder, Financepeer
“Formalizing online education should be the priority of Budget 2021-22. The stakeholders are eyeing the Budget 2021 with a lot of expectations as the government has already signalled allocation of 6% of the GDP towards education. This can be a healthy start towards strengthening the sector. Aligning with it, we expect the government to introduce a framework for formalizing the online education coupling it with exhaustive provisions for bridging the digital divide between both ends of the education value chain i.e. the Teachers and the Students."Ankush Singla, Co-founder, Coding Ninjas
"We have witnessed a huge transformation in the education system in past one year due to the advent of the pandemic. We are optimistic and looking forward to some announcements in the education sector especially with respect to the New Education Policy with more focus for the K12 segment. We are also ready to have a collaborative approach where we as an edtech platform, can come forward and associate with the private and government institutions to scale up coding education. This will increase our contribution to the industry to provide education to more and more students across the nation. We expect to focus on skilling and STEM-based education in schools and colleges will become even more significant than before."Sumit Kumar, Vice President – NETAP, TeamLease
"The past two budgets have taken strategic measures towards boosting education and skilling in India, one of which was the allocation of more funds to augment the ecosystem. However much of this allocated budget still remains unutilized (close to 13% of the budget allocated in the last fiscal is unused). Given the disruption in the ecosystem in the past year due to the pandemic, the upcoming budget needs to take conducive steps to improve education and skilling in India. Firstly, we need to ensure better and optimum use of the funds which remain unused. Secondly, we need to look at creating appropriate avenues where the allocated funds can be utilized more effectively."
Dr Sunita Gandhi, Global Classroom Private Limited (GCPL) and Global Education & Training Institute (GETI)
"The previous year proved to be gamechanger for the education industry by drastically replacing traditional classrooms with online teaching methods. This along with the introduction of National Education Policy 2020 made a strong foundation for the following year. We expect the 2021 Union Budget to be open to creating an Edtech ecosystem with greater access to the internet and robust data protection. By allowing innovation in the sector and improving the basic digital infrastructure of the country, the government can ensure that our education system is immune to any pandemic in the future."Dev Roy, Founder, Digital Aristotle
"The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting impact on all sectors, including education. The sector is in the need of revival and the Union Budget can give it the desired push. The government’s new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 fulfills some of the most anticipated expectations of the education system in the country. For instance, it narrows down the gap between academics and extra-curricular or vocational trainings. The focus on the concept and creative thinking is most welcome. What the policy needs to do now is bring transparency with regard to the expenditures in the domain. Our prime expectation from the upcoming budget is that each rupee spent should benefit as many children as possible."Shashank Udupa, Co-founder and CFO, Avalon Meta
"Budget 2021 is going to be quite exciting to watch this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the GoI has spent a lot of money in reviving the economy by providing different reliefs over time, which it must somehow recover. At the same time, the common man also expects some relief from the budget such as Tax cuts, increase in deduction limits from 80C, decreased interest rates on loans or say a continued moratorium on existing loan payments. Also, a lot of retail investors are hoping for the Long Term Capital Gains Tax (LTCG) to be abolished which would provide a lot of relief to existing retail investors as the government currently charges both LTCG and Securities Transaction Tax (STT). With Sensex close to a historic high of 50,000 levels, a favourable 2021 Budget will push the market to new highs and vice versa."Sameer Nigam, CEO & Co-founder, Stratbeans
“The Union Budget for FY 22 is one of the most anticipated socio-economic events for this year. As the Government and many other agencies have projected slower economic growth via the last financial year, there will be more emphasis on ‘ease of doing businesses. Needless to say, the general public and businesses are really hopeful for some major relief in the budget announcements. The Government has already taken a slew of measures to reduce the compliance burden upon businesses across industries. The Union Budget will also bring out more ways to ease liquidity for MSMEs."
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