01 Feb 2020 16:25 IST

Welcome focus on increasing fund-flows into education, skilling

While leveraging of the ECB and FDI routes is a good move, domestic investments must be attracted too

Here are some reactions from education sector players on what the Budget has in store for the education and skilling sector, that were badly in need of a big fund infusion.

Robin Bhowmik, Chief Business Officer, Manipal Global Academy of BFSI

Robin Bhowmik

 

An employer is always appreciative of the energy and skills that an apprentice brings to a business. Apprenticeship-based diploma programmes will play a key role in bridging the skill gap between education and employability. As India will have the largest working-age population in the world by 2030, as a nation we not only need to reboot our not-so-happening apprenticeship ecosystem, but also drive inclusion while skilling and reskilling the workforce. Apprenticeship is a popular model in countries such as the US, the UK, Germany and Japan. It is a great opportunity for young adults to transition seamlessly from school to work and get into the ‘learning by earning’ and ‘learning by doing’ modes. Let’s not forget how apprenticeship provided a crucial foundation to the rise of Europe during the industrial revolution in the mid 18th century.

Bridge courses and boot camps will bridge more skill gaps and become more prevalent. It will not only address the employability gap through demand-driven skills, but also boosts ancillary competencies to benefit businesses. Finishing schools as a concept will become mainstream so that technological smarts get the desired skills to foster transformation. We cannot expect that the Indian education system can provide roughly the same standard of education to all, across cities, semi-urban towns and villages. But the idea of sharing education available to everyone online through the top 100 leading universities is what a socially just education may look like. This will be a triumph for the market economy as far concerns of employability go.

Akhand Swaroop Pandit, CEO & Founder, Catalyst Group, Online Learning Platform

Akhand Swaroop

 

This Budget said the new education policy (NEP) will be announced soon and, this time, the focus will be on attracting experienced and qualified teachers. The education sector needs greater financing to attract good teachers and thus ECBs and FDI will be leveraged. A total of 150 higher education institutes will have apprenticeship programmes by March 2021. Urban local bodies will provide fresh engineers a job opportunity for one year, says the Budget. This will help engineers learn on the job, which is actually good because the bulk of engineers lack the skills required for growth. The major step towards boosting online education is the introduction of a degree-level, full-fledged online education programme to be offered by the top 100 institutions in the country. Degrees can be obtained online soon and will be offered by the Top 100 NIRF-ranked institutes. This time, the education sector has come into sharper focus and the introduction of online courses and degrees will definitely prove to be a big step towards digitalisation of the system. The Finance Minister also announced a ₹99,300-crore outlay for the education sector in 2020-21 and ₹3,000 crore for skill development. As observed by the Finance Minister, by 2030, India is set to have the largest working-age population in the world, and this is definitely going to boost the economy.

Amol Arora, Vice-Chairman and MD, Shemford Group of Futuristic Schools

Amol Arora

 

It is good to know the Government has acknowledged that by 2030, India will have the largest working age population in the world, and has stressed the need for greater fund flow to the education sector to attract good teachers. In the previous Union Budget, the Government allocated ₹94,800 crore towards the education fund. This time the Finance Minister has announced a ₹99,300-crore outlay for education and ₹3,000 crore for skill development. This may not, however, be enough to match the current need. Considering the option of external commercial borrowings (ECBs) and foreign direct investment (FDI) for this sector was much-needed. But the government should look beyond ECB and FDI and also attract more domestic investments and talents. This requires political will to permit return on capital since investment in education will give the highest ROI in the country. We require to cover more students, add better infrastructure and, most importantly, improve the quality of education. Some 150 higher education institutes are being given apprenticeship programmes by March 2021, and this is a welcome announcement as it will promote skills and employability. We are looking forward to contemporary and emerging trends being incorporated in the curriculum with the National Education Policy 2020 that will be announced soon. It is disappointing that the Government hasn’t passed on any benefits for the ed-tech and skill-tech sectors by extending tax benefits and incentives for players, corporates or education institutions.

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