Union Budget 2018 – 19: Edu-experts’ reactions

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The Union Budget of 2018-19 presented by Finance minister Arun Jaitley is focussed on education along with agriculture and healthcare for the poor. Jaitley announced a new funding scheme for infrastructural development in Centrally Funded Institutions (CFIs) and Universities. Setting up 24 new government medical colleges and “Eklavya” schools in tribal areas of the country are the other important highlights of the Budget 2018.

The education industry has welcomed the Union Budget 2018-19 and few are calling it a holistic budget. In its laudable move, the government is emphasising more on teachers’ training and allocated one lakh crore for educational research.

Here are reactions to the Union Budget 2018-19 from education people belonging to education sector:

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Utpal Ghosh, CEO and President, UPES Dehradun:

“The budget has a strong focus on emerging technologies and the education sector. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, quantum communication etc. are going to drive future jobs and hence a national programme catering to these disciplines is a welcome initiative. District Wise Strategy to improve the quality of education and achieving standard learning outcomes based on the results of the National Achievement Survey is a path-breaking announcement. New medical colleges, planning & architecture schools and a special railway university are steps in the right direction.”

Professor C Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, O P Jindal University:

“The initiative – Revitalizing of Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022 with a total investment of one lakh crore in the next four years is to be lauded as it definitely portrays the importance and prioritization of education in this country. Similarly, with emphasis being laid on digitization sector, the benefits will reach the needy students.”

Sivaramakrishnan V, Managing Director, Oxford University Press India:

“Integrated Education is a worthy mention in the budget and we hope that it leads to a teaching-learning process that combines print, digital, assessments and teacher training. The focus on teacher training continues from last year’s budget announcement and it exemplifies the renewed focus on this noble profession given that teachers are the principle pivot in the learning eco-system.”

Beas Dev Ralhan, CEO and Co-founder, Next Education:

“The Union Budget 2018–19 looks promising for the education sector. The government has earmarked Rs 1 lakh crore for a new scheme called Revitalising Infrastructure in School Education (RISE) fulfilling his promise of developing infrastructure in schools. The government has also realised the importance of improving the quality of teachers to enhance the quality of education in our country.”

Vijay Thadani, VC and MD, NIIT Ltd:

“It is a progressive budget with the right emphasis on training of teachers, use of technology and funding for research. Increase in digital intensity in education and envisaging move from ‘‘black board’’ to ‘‘digital board’’; using technology to upgrade the skills of teachers through a digital portal “Diksha”; national program on artificial intelligence under the aegis of Niti Aayog; mission on Cyber Physical Systems and a test bed for 5G technology at IIT Chennai were among the other encouraging initiatives.”

Vandana Arora, Principal of Nahar International School:

“We are glad that the 2018 Budget has a forward looking vision with benefits for the sectors that needit the most. As announced, specifically for the education sector, having an integrated B.Ed. programme, with teacher-training as its main focus, will boost the workforce towards being more aware and skilled. I am glad to hear that Rs. 1 lakh crore are to be invested over the next 4 years into a new drive to boost Research and Development.”

Zishaan Hayath, CEO & Co-founder,

“Capitalising on digital influence for quality education is a welcome move. We sincerely believe that technology has a very important role in education and we are glad that the government aligns with it. Education is critical to the future of India and any relaxations in taxes on education and technology would have been an added benefit. Recognising the importance of teacher training is another significant step to boost quality education in the country. We eagerly await the details and plan of action from the government following the announcements.”

Minal Anand, Founder and CEO, GuruQ:

“The 2018 budget will provide an important thrust for established firms as well as start-ups in the ed-tech sector. Mr. Jaitley’s increased emphasis on digital forms, over traditional forms of learning, is a major boon for the industry. This paradigm shift will increase literacy rates, across the country, ensuring that quality education is available for all. This budget’s focus is on higher quality of teacher training and development which aims at equipping educators with latest teaching techniques, skill training and content.”

Venguswamy Ramaswamy, Global Head, TCS iON:

“The Government in the budget has clearly acknowledged the need to improve the quality and scale of education across the country, through a continued digital push.  A significant population within India has been deprived of access to quality education and infrastructure in the past and the Government’s introduction of Eklavya schools for tribal children will help bring them into the ambit of the formal education model and empower them to explore a bright future. The Ministry’s announcement on giving formal training to teachers through the recently launched ‘DIKSHA’, will definitely boost the quality of teachers, a key pivot to improve the quality of education.

Rohit Manglik,CEO, EduGorilla:

“The Union Budget (2018), which has showcased government’s plan to transform India’s educational scenario by leveraging technology in education is commendable. The 1-day registration of a company will surely provide a boost to startups. The re-skilling of teachers through the portal Diksha will not only improve the quality of education but will be a game changer for the entire education ecosystem.”

Ashish P Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt Ltd:

India’s overall allocation to the education sector in the last decade has hovered between 3.5-4 per cent of total expenditure. Last year, the figure was 3.7 per cent. The government proposed to launch ‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022’ with a total investment of Rs 1 lakh crore in next four years, to step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions. A modest 3.84 per cent increase compared to last year can be seen in the education sector allotment. This is a positive development for the security industry.

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