Education sector’s budget wish list: Technology reforms, tax reduction

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The education system is too formal and competitive nowadays with a plethora of opportunities for students. With largest youth population in the world, India needs to have one of the best education systems. Avi Keswani, Director, CREO Valley and LISAA School of Design, observes the various areas require government’s focus in the Union Budget of 2018-19 for Elets News Netwrk (ENN).

Avi Keswani, Director, CREO Valley and LISAA School of Design

Avi Keswani, Director, CREO Valley and LISAA School of Design

Just like at home, we spend money on food, housing, schools, medicine etc, the Government also has expenses for the country in sectors like Education, Healthcare, Agriculture, Infrastructure, etc. The expenses are around Rs seven lakh crore. Whether it is a common man or the government, the expenses are the same only their scale is different. Last year, the education sector was allocated Rs 79,685.95 crore in the union budget which is accounted around 10 per cent of the total budget. Of this Rs 46,356.25 crore was allocated for schools and the remaining for higher education.

With Government’s focus on good quality education to the nation, higher educational institutes are expecting a rise of 14 percent in budget allocation. Education has always been one of the key areas for government to focus on. Along with the Government, private players are also investing significantly in technology upgradation required for the education landscape. Along with smart learning, the focus is on smart teaching and making teachers adequately trained for that.

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Another important aspect in this year’s budget is to allocate fund for reducing the dorp out rate in schools. Lack of facilities is one of the major reasons for high dropout rates across state-run schools. The Central Government in its budget 2018 is expected to encourage State Governments to by allocating funds for public schools. The funding should be released on the basis of achievement metrics and it should be uniform for all schools. Along with it, learning outcomes should also be measured through assessments which will help the Governments to allocate funds for deserving schools. However, to avoid schools’ dependency on government investments, Public Private Partnerships can be encouraged. Public-Private Partnership is an innovative method to draw the resources of a private school to assist the government-run schools.

 A well-educated population is a key driver for economic growth thus learning outcomes is a practice that aims at monitoring a student’s performance and development periodically. Better assessments methodologies help students to enhance their capabilities and lead them to be future leaders. A strong assessment model for learning outcomes needs to be formulised by the government.

Another area in Education sector which needs high priority is to solve the improve student-teacher ratio. The Government should also enhance the quality of primary education as it is the base for better higher education. Learning outcomes at the primary stages have consistently declined over past years which is likely to contribute to low enrolment and learning levels at higher stages. A premeditated budget for Higher education would certainly fuel up the Government’s well-intended initiatives like Make in India, Skill India & Digital India but it is always important to have a good base for a great edifice.

One of the biggest expectations from the budget allocation this year is to relieve tax for higher education under GST.

India has seen a huge surge in Education startups which are trying to contribute towards better quality and reach of education across the globe. Like any other institute in India who has International tie-ups for Global Certification, LISAA too has a mission to empower the students with a tool which enables them to design their career and a mission to bridge the gap between the industry and design graduates, by elevating the level of design education to global standards. For such an ecosystem, to reduce the tax burdens, especially GST on education services and teachers will be very helpful.

Leveraging technology in higher education space is a major task and will ease life in schools, colleges, and institutions. Technology will definitely be a key driver in fulfilling India’s education for all. Technology should be integrated into three major areas- higher education space, setting up of standards and in the accreditation area. Technology must be promoted to aid in learning and should also be included in the curriculum to make learning more relevant and students more employable.

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