01 Feb 2018 16:56 IST

The govt needs to go beyond the surface to help the education sector

'The government needs to liberalise archaic rules'

This budget continues to tinker with the problems that confront Indian education.

On the one hand, the proposal to start Eklavya schools, architecture schools and government medical colleges will have a positive impact on the areas they are targeting. The proposal to help train untrained teachers is also a welcome move.

At the same time, it is disappointing that the government has done nothing to provide better tax relief to parents for the school fees they pay. Similarly, one had hoped that the budget would help students who are unable to get a job immediately after completion of their course with their education loans. A limited moratorium period towards repayment of loans would have been a huge relief.

But the real problems with the Indian education system lie in a domain beyond the budget. The government needs to liberalise archaic rules governing the education system in India. This is essential to attract private investors and enable the setting up of a large number of schools and colleges, particularly in under-served parts of the country.

Successive governments have failed to scratch the surface of the problem. I fear that if nothing is done to address this issue, the demographic dividend could turn into a demographic disaster — with a huge number of poorly educated youth unfit for employment.

(The author is the Founder and Director of T.I.M.E.)