The Union Budget 2021 will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1. Here is what education experts want from the Education Budget 2021.
This year, the Union Budget will be quite different. While the entire focus has been on online learning due to the pandemic, the Education sector also received a tremendous push with the introduction of the National Education Policy (NEP).
However, while the entire country is looking up to the Central government’s Union Budget 2021, here are some of the challenges faced by the education sector in the last year.
NEP has already set the pace for transforming the Education sector of the country. It can well be termed as a ‘strong foundation’ laid with clear intentions of bringing the necessary reforms in Education.
It is imperative that the Union Budget considers the challenges faced by the sector and the educational institutions since March 2020. With pandemic and the lockdown suddenly hit, the educational institutes or even teachers and students were not ready for online learning.
Apart from the technological challenges like internet connectivity or even financial challenges for schools to ensure smooth delivery of education.
If considered the data of last three years, the Budgetary allocation for Education has been shrinking from 3.71 percent of GDP in 2017-18 to 3.48 percent of GDP in 2018-19 and further to 3.2 percent in 2019-20.
In the last financial year, the Government had allocated Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector.
1. Strategic Implementation of NEP:
Ensuring sufficient fund allocation to NEP’s and empowering the Central and State level bodies
2. Initiatives to Promote AI and Other Technologies in Education:
With digital learning and blended learning being the game-changer for Education, we expect strong support from the government on promoting AI and other technologies. Although the pandemic gave a push to digital learning, there is no looking back to it now. To keep the sector abreast with technological advancements, efforts are required to give an impetus to Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies.
3. Strengthening the Educational Institutes
Educational institutes are the backbone of India and the future of students depends on these institutes. The pandemic saw the closure of a lot of educational institutes due to a fund crunch. Taking that as an example to go forward, we expect the government to strengthen these institutes and provide support through various initiatives.
4. Relaxing Education loans:
The high-interest rates of Education loans deter the students and families to opt for a course of their interest. We at Financepeer witnessed a tremendous number of enquiries from parents during lockdown for zero per cent interest education loans. This was truly alarming. As the Education sector is gradually recovering from the pandemic in terms of newer admissions and entrance examinations, we expect the government to consider relaxation in the interest rates of student education loans.
5. Focus on Holistic Development of Students
The NEP focuses on flexibility in the entire career and learning aspiration of the students through optional subjects from any stream and focuses on extra-curricular activities. There is a need to strengthen and elaborate the Policy further for better implementation at the grass-root level.
6. Better Infrastructure to Support Online Learning:
With online learning getting the required push, it is important that the tech platforms and their range of offerings reach the remotest areas. We expect the government to take measures towards building better infrastructure and uninterrupted internet services to support online learning.
7. Higher Dudgetary Allocation:
Although the introduction of NEP is in the right direction. We expect the government to give special attention to the education sector through higher budgetary allocation, which will give the sector the required to push in terms of infrastructure, institutes, quality education.
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