Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced an expansionary Budget that included a massive 35.4 per cent increase in government’s capital expenditure. The Union government has allocated ₹1,04,278 crore for the education sector in the Union Budget 2022 for the financial year 2022-23. This indicates an increase in the budgetary allocation for education by 11.86 per cent from last year. To make up for the challenges faced by the education sector due to the Covid-19, Sitharaman has proposed to set up a digital university to provide education that will be built on a hub and spoke model. Here’s what leading educationists and industry experts had to say
Chocko Valliappa, Vice Chairman, Sona Group of Education Institutions, Salem
FM Nirmala Seetharaman’s announcement on further strengthening the digital education initiatives of the government is very welcome. Digital university will provide a new avenue for keeping abreast of technology. Opening up of defence research to private sector and academia to an extent of 25 per cent will open new pathways for research.
The students from financially challenged families will not be able to benefit from the renewed thrust on digital education until they have access to smartphones and computer devices. The government needs to enhance/provide access to devices to students below poverty line.
These students need to be provided access to a high-speed wifi through a nationwide network of Common Service Centres. Perhaps the enhanced Anganwadis can become wifi hotspots. Not embedding skill education as a part of the curriculum, in line with the NEP, is a miss in this budget. The announcement of a digital health ecosystem is a big step forward as it will enable digital registry of providers, unique health identity. The new mental health initiative is timely as we are coming out of a pandemic.
Sanjiv Marwaha, Director, JK Business School
When the balance sheet of the country is expanded, can capes be far behind? It is a growth-oriented budget with emphasis on ‘Make in India’. The Budget 2022 is a revolutionary budget, with digitalisation, deep-tech, and entrepreneurship, as the key economic drivers. The Budget 2022 holds potential to give the necessary push to the vision of Naya Bharat.
Mohit Thukral, Founder and Trustee, Plaksha University
This is a forward-looking budget that is both inclusive and progressive. The government’s focus on upskilling, vocational courses, and international education, and a fillip to entrepreneurship are steps in the right direction to bridge the skill gap and enhance job creation. Setting up virtual labs and skilling e-labs will be beneficial in developing critical thinking amongst students.
The Budget also opens the door for world-class foreign universities and institutions that will be now allowed to open their campus in the GIFT City to offer courses in financial management, fintech, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics free from domestic regulations. We welcome more world-class universities as India needs them. At Plaksha, we have partnered with international institutes including Purdue, UC Berkeley, and SRI International to promote research and innovation amongst the new generation. The initiatives announced by the Government of India will go a long way in building industry-ready, skilled workforce which will contribute to the economic growth and recovery.
Nitish Jain, President, SP Jain School of Global Management
From the standpoint of higher education, the budget is headed in the correct path by focusing on improving the digital infrastructure in the country. Moving ahead, the execution, and how quickly these things move will be the most important factors to watch. Education is what propels the economy and the country forward, and I am confident that Budget 2022 will go a long way toward ensuring that education remains at the top of our country’s priorities.
Vineet Nayar, former Vice-Chairman and CEO, HCL Technologies, and Founder, Chairman Sampark Foundation
The Union Budget is certainly a document looking towards the future. The focus on the digital university builds on the existing thrust on the SWAYAM courses and creates a basis for tech-enabled learning. Offering digital learning in regional languages is also a step in improving foundational literacy which is the crux of the NIPUN framework. These will also help in improving learning outcomes and bringing more students to the education system. A renewed discussion on funding innovation in the classroom is needed to fulfil the vision defined.
Sanjay Padode, President, Vijaybhoomi University
Union Budget 2022 and the other policy pronouncements by MHRD and UGC have laid a clear direction. The sector has been not only allocated 12 per cent more resources but also taken necessary steps to operationalise National Education Policy (NEP). An example of the policy intent is the draft National Higher Educational Qualification Framework (NHEQF) which seeks to bring job readiness to constitutional values, theoretical knowledge to technical skills, higher education institutes across the country under a new framework to assess students on a range of learning outcomes. I feel that the budget and higher education policy of our country is nudging the universities to graduate from degree-granting institutions to temples of holistic learning.
Vaidyanathan V, CFO, Great Lakes, Chennai
The Budget 2022 has provided a much-required push to the economy by increasing the allocation to Capital Expenditure by 35 per cent. The Budget has given thrust to the Gati Shakti for sustainable growth. introduction of Digital currency starting 200 TV channels to fill the gap in learning of the children due to the pandemic are some of the welcome points. Repealing 1486 Acts, which were redundant, introduction of e-passport, thrust for EV (electric vehicle) by introduction of charging stations and battery swapping are all welcome moves. Modification to the filing of tax returns for rectification/ including left out income at a nominal fee is a welcome move to avoid litigation.