02 February 2022 16:05:41 IST

Budget 2022: A turning point in digitising education

Covid accelerated the shift towards digital in the education sector. The government, in the Union Budget 2022, has recognised this shift and announced a slew of initiatives such as DESH-Stack e-portal to boost skill development. The focus on education, particularly e-learning owing to the pandemic, has received appreciation from educationists. Here are the hits and misses discussed by industry experts:

Amitabh Jhingan, Partner, EY Parthenon Education Strategy Practice and EY India Education Leader

There could not be a better time to build a state-of-the-art digital university in India and rapidly accelerate the democratisation of high-quality university and professional education for the youth of our country.  Expanding access to digital learning tools as students look to get back to school after almost two years is another laudable initiative.

So is the announcement to leverage agri universities to modernise course curriculum, and eventually agriculture in India, and enhance productivity and innovation in the sector. These are welcome initiatives and should be supplemented by a robust but practical policy and regulatory framework around online and digital learning in India.

Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, India and APAC, Coursera

The Union budget 2022 has laid the much-needed focus on the education sector. From assuring funds for R&D, innovation, and growth, to emphasising the need for digitisation, the Government has taken a practical and contemporary view to benefit masses across the spectrum of elementary, secondary, and higher education.

The pandemic affected learning at numerous levels — from academic exposure to the medium of instruction to evaluation of the core course content and construct in some cases. Education institutions, academicians, online platforms, and other key stakeholders have worked together in the past two years to innovate and offer solutions on the back of technology to keep the learning going.

Enhancing e-content quality, launching a portal for upskilling, instituting digital universities, and easing operations of foreign universities will not only enhance a student/learner’s exposure but will seamlessly integrate offline and online modes of education to enhance learning outcomes.

We congratulate the Indian Government for presenting a progressive and promising budget that furthers the cause of digitization, governance and learning and growth for all. We are confident that the year 2022-23 will be a turning point in the history of Indian education as we move towards building an inclusive, digitally empowered and technologically advanced education system for all.

Jaskiran Arora, Dean-School of Management, BMU

The hub and spoke model has traditionally been used in supply chain and logistics in the transportation sector, aviation to be precise. In this model, a “centralised” hub exists and the dispatch or collection to the end consumers is channelised through the spokes, for better efficiencies in the business.

For example, travelling to New York from Chandigarh or Indore directly is not possible. The Indira Gandhi International airport, in this case, is a hub and the Chandigarh or Indore airport is like a spoke. The traveller will first board the flight from their respective local airports to New Delhi and then a connecting flight with travellers from across the country, to New York. This of course is more efficient and economical as compared to the point-to-point model where the flights take off from all regional airports to New York directly. 

The hub and spoke model, used in the digital university, helps disseminate quality education to every nook and corner of the country. We have very good teachers/professors in the country, but currently, their reach is limited and very few students can benefit from their expertise. 

The hub and spoke model in the education sector would not only assist by hosting the lectures of such teachers and professors at a central point for a better reach but could also benefit a greater number of students by streaming them in multiple languages. Aspirationally, the flagship programmes of so many educational institutions in science, arts, architecture, fintech, liberal arts, commerce, medicine, and management, could be made available to anyone passionate to pursue the course. This model will also ensure a better tracking of the student engagement at the different platforms. 

In India, we already have Swayam and NPTL platforms covering a wide variety of courses, but a digital university operating on a hub and spoke model can transcend the dissemination of quality education in India to a different playing field. This will be enabling the entire country elevate to make a mark in the world.

Koneru Satyanarayana , President, KL Deemed to be University

In the Union Budget, the inclination of the government towards digital education is a progressive step. Involving the new universities in offering courses in financial services and technology, and AICTE in improving the urban planning courses will have long-term benefits for Indian education. Developing the employability of the youth through the Digital DESH e-portal for skilling, upskilling and reskilling, and the National Skill Qualification Framework will augment the ongoing efforts of some of the universities like us.

To promote crucial critical thinking skills, setting up 750 virtual labs in science and mathematics and 75 skilling e-labs for the simulated learning environment will also boost innovation amongst the student community.

S Vaidhyasubramaniam, Vice-Chancellor and Tata Sons Chair Professor of Management, Sastra Deemed University

The thrust given to start-ups with a focus on Kisan Drones and Drone Shakti is a booster for institutions like Sastra that have TBIs created to incubate such start-ups. This budget is fuel for campus start-ups that can create innovative university-farm enterprises to improve farmer livelihoods. The public-private partnerships in higher education can further accelerate the attainment of educational and skill outcomes and the budget could have included progressive privates in some of the schemes.