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Union Budget 2022: Few hits and a lot of misses for education sector, say experts

The finance minister also laid focus on mental health, skilling and training of teachers citing the pandemic and prolonged closure of schools. Here are the reactions of education experts on the hits and misses of Budget 2022:

Union Budget 2022, Education Sector Budget 2022-23The budget also highlighted the use of regional languages in online and offline learning. (Graphics by Abhishek Mitra)

Education Budget 2022: In the Union Budget 2022 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, major announcements were made for the education sector — from the launch of a digital university to the expansion of the PM e-vidya scheme. The budget also encouraged and emphasized the use of regional languages in online and offline learning. 

The finance minister laid focus on mental health, skilling and training of teachers citing the pandemic and prolonged closure of schools. Here are the reactions of education experts on the hits and misses of Budget 2022:

Push to reduce the demographic and digital divide

The union budget has ushered in positive measures in the field of education which will give a boost to the sector especially in the context of the pandemic. The finance minister stressed upon imparting education in regional languages which is being appreciated by the educators.

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“The budget 2022 for the education sector rightly focuses on upskilling and digital learning. The announcement of one class one channel and expansion to 200 channels under e-vidya will enable the reach of online education to a vast body of students where online education is still not widespread. The push to regional education is welcome as this will once again enable people in the rural areas to access quality education in their languages,” Shweta Sastri, Managing Director, Canadian International School, Bangalore said. 

Meanwhile, Tarun Jain, Associate Professor in Economics at IIM-Ahmedabad said, “The Finance Minister has mentioned supplementary teaching through additional TV channels (PM eVidya) to make up the education loss of the last two years. This is minuscule given the tremendous learning loss that our children have experienced. Significant investments in improving school quality are critical for ensuring that our demographic dividends are actually realized.”

E-labs to boost skill training to improve accessibility

Rajiv Tandon, CEO-Executive Education at BITS Pilani WILP said that virtual labs and e-labs to give skill training online can transform the mere access to education using the internet to high impact and rich learning experiences. This could be a boon for learners in a vast country like ours who do not have access to good physical labs infrastructure.

Shishir Jaipuria, Chairman FICCI Arise said that setting up 750 e-labs in science and mathematics and 75 skilling e-labs will nurture scientific temperament and critical thinking skills important for the 21st-century learners. “Going beyond the e-learning initiatives, the government has rightly decided to designate 5 academic institutions as ‘centres of excellence to deliver courses in urban planning and design. The move will take forward the vision of India-specific urban development,” he added.

E-passport facility a boon for study abroad aspirants

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“The proposal to roll out e-passports is a welcoming gesture as it will enable a seamless experience for the travelling population, especially the large section of students flying abroad for their studies. Extended tax benefits for startups announced in the budget will further boost the ecosystem and drive the economy’s growth,” Vaibhav Singh, Co-founder, Leap Scholar emphasized. 

No relief on education loan interest rates disappoint students

“Students at a large expected reduction in interest in education loans. Due to the pandemic, many students and their family are reeling under severe financial constrain. No such announcement was there in the budget speech. It was disappointing. Investment in education is an investment in future,” Debashis Sanyal, Director, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon said

Launch of Digital University commendable yet far-sighted step

Manek Daruvala, Founder & Director, T.I.M.E. said that the announcement to start a digital university is in keeping with the times. “This can be a great far-sighted step to improve the reach of education, a huge step up from the days of open-universities. Setting up institutes for Urban Planning courses across the country in five places is another long overdue but much appreciated step.” he added.

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Similarly, Prashant Jain, CEO, Oswaal Books said that all initiatives launched by the govt are novel but most of them will not see the light of the day for years to come. Presently the government needs to ensure that the existing budget allocated to the School and higher education is done efficiently to overcome the crucial learning loss.”

“This year’s budget recognises the student loss due to school and college closures and the importance of supplementary teaching for building a resilient mechanism enabling quality education delivery. The new-age initiatives to develop high-quality e-content in all spoken languages for radio, television, and digital channels in order to reach students in rural areas, is truly commendable. The revolutionary concept of a digital university, which will provide students with access to world-class quality education will be developed on a hub-and-spoke network. The government’s actions for the education industry in FY23 are well-considered in light of the current situation,” Aman Mittal, Vice President, Lovely Professional University.

“The reforms allowing foreign universities in India to offer courses free of domestic regulations and the introduction of a Digital University will help bring industry best practices enabling the students with better job opportunities. Also, Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics (AVGC) sectors are very popular with the younger generation and have great potential for employability,” Ruchir Arora, CEO & Co-Founder, CollegeDekho elaborated.

Accessible digital infrastructure overlooked in Budget 2022 

“The Union Budget 2022 announced today was a hit and miss for the education sector. While it has finally addressed and recognized the learning loss the pandemic has created, the need to develop the digital infrastructure of the country was not adequately focused in the budget.  Further constructive measures towards digitization and resuming physical classes are needed,” Dr Mona Lisa Bal, Chairperson, KiiT International School pointed out. 

“With the policies and schemes that have been proposed in the Union Budget 2022, we are expecting more robust growth in the year ahead. The government’s planned interventions aimed at establishing centres of excellence, democratizing access to education, bridging the digital divide, promoting skilling, and upskilling, and facilitating quality content and world-class education is welcoming. At Wiley, we believe that education is the key to becoming truly self-reliant (Aatmanirbhar) and that it is critical to invest in education, skilling, and lifelong learning,” said Ritesh Kumar, Country Lead, Wiley India.

 

First published on: 01-02-2022 at 05:15:48 pm
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