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Budget 2018 - Digital Board, Research, Training and more

Wednesday, February 07, 2018
By Lina Ashar

Given that the Education Sector has seen 16% growth in the recent years, it was bound to be one of the major sectors in focus for the Budget'18​. It is interesting to note that the importance of intertwining technology with the field of Education is truly coming to the fore. Let us dwell on the various pointers mentioned in this year’s Budget report.

  • Investments to be done to make India move from 'Blackboard to the Digital board'
  • A total of INR 85,010 Cr has been allocated to the Education sector
  • 1% hike in education cess
  • Introducing ‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education or RISE' – It aims to lend low cost funds to govt-higher education institutions
  • INR 26,128 Cr has been allocated for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

One of the highlights of this Budget was respected Arun Jaitley's statement of looking at education in a 'holistic manner as opposed to a segmented one'. According to me, this can be realised in the form of looking at pre-school to 12th grade education with one view. Also, there was a constant mention of combining the schemes of SSA and RSA, although there has been an increase in the education cess. All this has led to no tax relief for parents when it comes to school fees. A constant issue in the recent years, this arena is always overlooked.

Meanwhile, the introduction of the ‘1000 Prime Minister Research fellows' platform a brilliant initiative but at the same time, there should have been more funds kept for the higher education institutions so as to enhance and maintain a certain level of quality of education.

Having this brief overview in place, I would like to talk about something that, according to me,is extremely essential – it is but imperative to ensure collaboration between private and public sector by introducing streamlined and well thought out policies and reforms in the education sector that encourage more and more private institutions to expand to modernize to give our students a more global perspective as part of their learning process. Considering the entire LPG background of our economy, Education too, as a global platform, must not be ignored.

Investing in the training of teachers is necessary and at the same time, it’s important for good quality education to reach every nook and cranny of our country. This can be possible only if the public and private sectors are integrated, leading to a 'work hand in hand’s situation. This will further lead to setting up educational institutions and platforms in the unreached sections of our society. There will also be more private investments made, thus creating space for more funds.

On that note, people were also looking forward to a quotient that would help students with their educational loans but unfortunately, nothing has been done for it. If we want our children to study and work, hence becoming valuable resources for the economy, it is necessary to make the same available to and for them, in an easy manner. Otherwise, it causes many children to settle with anything they get, thus drawing a harness to their potential.

With regards to the several educational schemes in our country, there is a need for transparency regarding all the education taxes being paid for the SSA, so that we can be assured that our resources are being put to good use. If there is transparency in the Education cess being spent, the public will begin to view it as a benefit rather than an unclear point of payment. This will further draw in more encouragement and support from the public, for newer plans and schemes for the Education sector.

To sum it up, this year's Budget report, for the Education Sector, mainly focuses on training, resource development and digitalisation of education whilst keeping a holistic view for the same. The need - for streamlining both private and public education sectors in a combined manner – must be looked at, to draw in more investments, more platforms and thus, more valuable resources in the form of our shining children, for the economy.

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