‘Funding of primary, secondary and tertiary education by corporate entities’
Education is fundamental to India’s economic growth and social transformation. Primary education makes a person literate and acts as basis for secondary education. Secondary education prepares recipients for semi-skilled jobs and provides for tertiary education. Tertiary, or higher, education produces skilled workforce and provides for higher-order knowledge creation for future. Continuing education help workforce sustain their skill levels and competencies. Each level needs deserving attention.
The current state of primary and secondary education in many states is deplorable due to inadequate infrastructure, inappropriate quality of teachers and weak governance system. Many states do not have necessary will or resources to revamp education system. Higher priority should be given in the budget to strengthening primary and secondary education system. In the previous year, education sector received less allocation although higher education received more. Education allocation needs to rise to 5-7 per cent of budget.
Enrollment is a result of pull and push factors. Pull is provided by benefits while in education and after that. Pull is also a result of facilities and quality of the institution. Push is provided by post- education opportunities and family pressures to seek education. Allocation should consider the pull and push forces to be created to promote education at all the four levels.
Given budgetary constraints at central and state levels, all requirements of education sector cannot be addressed by government. But, the Make in India initiative and expected manufacturing surge and faster economic growth will require substantial skilled workforce. It will be in the interest of industry to collaborate with government in skill development. Provisions may be included in the budget for private funding of primary, secondary and tertiary education by corporate entities adopting or sponsoring institutions in their surrounding on a long-term basis. It does not make sense to do this by transferring valuable tax revenues to private entities (by tax exemptions); other provisions may be considered.
– Prof P Rameshan, IIM Kozhikode
‘A long-term initiative, on the line of Chinese 985 or Korean Brain 21’
As an education sector consultant, my expectation from the general budget are focused mainly on three key challenges of Indian higher education – Excellence, Enrollment & Employability.
Excellence: A long-term initiative, on the line of Chinese 985 or Korean Brain 21, with substantial budgetary allocation to prepare and promote select Indian institutions as global hubs of innovation and excellence
There is a dying need for a large scale initiative with focus on improving quality of teachers and attracting brightest talent in teaching profession. Budgetary allocation in this direction will be timely.
Enrollment: As it’s an important year for achieving targets set during 12th five year plan and set stage for the next plan. I hope in this crucial year, honourable finance minister will move closer to the promise of allocating 1.5 per cent of GDP for higher education. Currently, roughly 1.22 per cent of GDP is being spent on higher education.
Services procured by the education institutions should be granted service tax exemption to lower cost of education. It will help in making education more affordable, increase enrollment ratio and improve quality of education. Before July 2014, these services were not covered under service tax.
Employability: ‘Skilling India’ initiative has certainly created momentum for improving employability of Indian youth, which consists of more than 50 per cent of our population. Announcement on Special Venture Fund for social ventures in skills and employability development is expected.
– Kalpesh Banker, Edushine Advisory Group
‘Build world-class infrastructure to support research and development’
When it comes to higher education, while government has already set up many more IITs, IISERs and IIMs, now it is important to improve the quality of these institutes and bring them at par with the international standards. No doubt we have good brains, but we lack the basic Research and Development infrastructure.
To thrust the R&D in these institutes, government needs to spend more on building up world-class infrastructure which would encourage industrial engagement with these institutes as well as researchers in pure sciences. This would also provide employment opportunities to the large population of research scholars passing out of these institutes.
Dr Rahul Nigam, Assistant Professor, BITS-Pilani, Hyderabad
‘Enhanced outlays for social science education’
From this budget I expect three important things for higher education in India. First, an increase in the Research and Development expenditure with equal emphasis for basic and applied research. This is important as we are still on a public funded R&D model.
The increased outlay should be complemented by encouraging private sector to enter into industry-academia collaborations through tax incentives. Second, higher allocation for quality enhancement. A quality improvement mission has to undertaken providing resources for institutions of excellence to mentor the poor performing state universities.
Third, enhanced outlays for social science education in the country is essential as it currently lacks adequate resources for supporting large number of students who are pursuing it”.
M Suresh Babu, Professor, IIT Madras
‘Lower interest rate of education loans’
Students coming from various socio-economic strata, need to get admission into the institute of their choice that fits into their economic bracket. Educational loans for post-graduate studies are becoming the norm, most certainly if the student is from a lesser privileged economic background.
Therefore, at the outset, we expect that loan facility should be made a bit more easy, especially if the candidate has not only got his/her choice but also some weightage should be given to their academic track record. The latter issue does not carry much weightage at present. Banks generally require an economic collateral to approve any loan. They may look into the students’ past performance also, as a part of their procedure.
In line with this, the interest rates for student loans should definitely be lowered. Alternatively and critically there are numerous private institutes who have a long standing reputation. Students seeking admission in government-recognised institutes are not checked for collaterals when they seek loans from banks. However, in the case of private institutes, rules need to be reassessed and a collateral requirement should be done away with. Their students also should be permitted to get interest-free loans.
Service tax should also be removed from private institutes – especially for higher post graduate education since it further hikes the admission cost for the candidate.
– Prof Ramola Kumar, Dean, The Delhi School of Communication
‘Make children education a national priority’
School Education, health and social welfare are crucially significant for the overall sustainable future development of our country. We expect a tangible policy and a road map on pre-vocational training, skill development course curriculum and subsidised teacher development program of specialised research and training institutes with focus on areas such as school leadership, early literacy, numeracy and pedagogy to be initiated with a special thrust from central government to all state governments.
Also, there should be a substantial budget allocation for children education, health and security and make it a national priority.”
– Sharmila Chatterjee, Principal, Billabong High International Noida
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