01 Feb 2021 18:30 IST

Emphasis on research a welcome move, says education fraternity

Industry experts believe the steps outlined to strengthen NEP could improve quality of education

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the ninth consecutive annual Budget in Parliament on Monday. This year's Budget was completely paperless, a significant break from tradition, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The speech lasted for 110 minutes (much lower than 160 minutes last year) and delivered out of a Made in India tablet. With special focus on Covid-19, one of the first focus areas to be addressed in the speech, the Budget has committed to provide ₹35,000 crore the vaccination programme. The first budget after the notification of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, here’s what leading educationists and industry experts had to say.

Dr Anunaya Chaubey, Provost, Anant National University




“I found the focus of the budget on effective implementation of New Education Policy reassuring. The proposal for the higher education commission as an umbrella organisation having four dedicated bodies for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding will bring focus on performance and bring clarity to institutions seeking help from the government. The creation of city-based structures to create synergies among higher education institutions located in a city supported by a grant is an innovative step.

I hope Ahmedabad will be one of the cities selected for the benefit as it has a large number of old and new educational institutions. The continuing commitment to National Research Foundation with the allocation of ₹50,000 crore over next five years will provide a thrust to the strengthening of the research ecosystem in India. Overall, I find the budget to be forward looking that continues to build upon past work and create new and facilitating structures that will help implementation of the new education policy.”

Dr Sanjiv Marwah, Director, JK Business School




“The overall allocation of ₹93,224 crore for the education sector is a welcome The budget emphasised the recent trend of tinkering at the edges of the problems that confront Indian education system. The Finance Minister announced strengthening of more than 15,000 schools, starting 750 Eklavya schools and 100 new Sainik schools which will have a great impact on the school education. On the other hand, Legislation of the Higher Education Commission of India will resolve the various challenges faced by higher education in our country. The budget consists of the apt strategies which will help in speedy implementation of National Education Policy (NEP).

Another point which deserves huge appreciation in the budget is the development of the National Research Foundation, which outlayed ₹50,000 crore over the next five years. It will strengthen the overall research ecosystem of the country and help India emerge as the R&D epicentre of the world.”

Sanjay Padode, President, Vijaybhoomi University




“I have never seen a Budget as focussed as this on quality of education. Mention of establishment of teaching standards, toy-based learning, and weaning away rote learning by altering assessment patterns, and adding monies to the National apprenticeship scheme are long-term initiatives, which will enhance the employability of our graduating students. An outlay of ₹50,000 crore to NRF should enhance scholarship across our Higher Education Institutes. The benchmarking of skill qualification framework with international countries will help our country in becoming a source for skilled manpower and will also enhance the value of vocational education. I am quite convinced that the intent and will of the government is intact, I am hoping that India has sensed this and will cooperate with the government to make the implementation easy.”

Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, Director, Jagsom






“Focus on health and well-being, reinvigoration of human capital, innovation and R&D are welcome steps in the budget. Introduction of the legislation to implement the setting-up of the Higher Education Commission of India is expected to liberalise higher education in sync with the NEP. Strengthening of 15,000 schools under NEP and setting up of 100 Sainik Schools are welcome steps. This budget's shift in focus on health, education and innovation are welcome, as these three are critical to India emerging as a superpower in the years ahead.”

Chocko Valliappa, Vice-Chairman, Sona Group of Education institutions




“The Finance Minister deserves compliments for focusing on internships for engineering graduates and diploma holders, extension of skill development initiatives along the lines of existing arrangements with Japan to other countries and allocation of funds to set up additional residential schools for SC/ST students as also providing for more scholarships.

Focus on Innovation and R&D, setting up of a ₹50,000 crore National Research Foundation will fire up the research activity. I hope the share of allocation to private sector institutions doing worthy R&D grows beyond a few IITs and research-focused government institutions.”

Dr Dishan Kamdar, Vice-Chancellor, Flame University





“The Government’s decision to allocate ₹50,000 crore over the next five years will serve as a great shot in the arm for the country’s research ecosystem. Lack of adequate funding has been a constraint for several higher education institutions and this support will enable the institutions and the faculty to produce high quality, rigorous research output. The creation of the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) as an umbrella structure having four separate bodies for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding under it will bring in synergies across higher education institutions.

In addition, a regulatory mechanism to promote academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions will help pave the way for Indian higher education institutions to become truly global in the near future.”

Hersh Shah, CEO, India Affiliate of Institute of Risk Management





“Among other critical developments, the Nation First policy, outlined in the budget, is based on strengthening education for all with an emphasis on primary and higher education. The budget focuses on the need to foster international collaborations in research and development as a critical tool for skill enhancement.

The announcement of higher education cluster in nine cities will bring synergy and further strengthen the education sector. It will allow enhanced cooperation between good private and public institutions, encouraging knowledge-sharing and coherence. We are looking forward to the Higher Education Commission which will be tasked with taking forward the vision of NEP 2020.”