02 Feb 2018 17:24 IST

'Blackboard to digital board' initiative gets a warm reception

People in the education sector are happy with this year's Budget

Raghav Gupta, India Country Director, Coursera

India has a huge appetite for education which is seen as a driver to uplift one’s social and financial status. Considering it is not only critical to personal development, but more so to the effective growth and development of the nation, it is heartening to see that this year’s Budget addressed the issue of lack of quality education and infrastructure in the country.

With a number of schools and colleges falling short of the requisite, the launch of ‘RISE’ — Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education — with an investment of ₹1 lakh crore in next four years, raises some hope of witnessing drastic improvement in the current education infrastructure and technology across the country.

The government’s push towards integrating technology into education is evident in the budget. We wholeheartedly welcome its new mission to shift from blackboards to digital boards across schools by 2022. We firmly believe that technology-enabled education is a complementary means of learning and thus, it is great to see the increased focus on Digital India.

Coursera’s vision of access to quality education anywhere anytime is well in sync with the government’s proposal to treat education holistically without segmentation. Budget 2018 also recognises the importance of quality education with the launch of the new portal ‘Diksha’ to upgrade the skills of teachers. Higher education is also set to get a boost with the initiatives driven towards medical colleges and IITs.

With a strong focus on quality education and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things, online learning platforms will gain importance as the providers of standardised, world-class content. We also feel that the reinforced Digital India initiative will promote online learning, eliminate the evident skills gap in the country and help enhance employability of students at large.

Sivaramakrishnan V, Managing Director - Oxford University Press India

It was heartening to hear the Finance Minister state that while the government managed to get children to school, the quality of education is a concern. The focus on quality and learning outcomes is key to the long-term success of any education programme.

The allocation of ₹1 lakh crore for the development of education infrastructure responds well to the needs of India’s schools and colleges that need upgradation. This allocation ties in well with the intent to augment digitisation and the ‘shift from blackboard to digital board’, which is consistent with the Digital India mission, and will resonate with India’s young demographic.

Integrated education is a worthy mention in the Budget and we hope that it leads to a teaching-learning process that combines print, digital, assessments and teacher training. The focus on teacher training continues from last year’s budget announcement and it exemplifies the renewed focus on this noble profession given that teachers are the pivotal in the learning eco-system.