In the last two years, business sectors including Restaurants, Healthcare, Travel & Tourism, and Education have undergone major changes. Here are the education sector’s expectations for the forthcoming budget.
Fund allocation and efforts for reducing the Digital Divide to ensure access to online learning and online examinations
The Union Budget 2021 should focus heavily on creating online infrastructure & making it available till the last mile via the use of affordable smartphones, free internet, and democratic distribution of technological devices. Boosting online learning & online examination system and providing facilities for online exams across the country.
Regulate EdTech monopolies
Education is too important & sensitive to be allowed to be monopolized by a few Edtech companies who have raised a significant amount of funds. Many of their practices are also monopolistic and exploit the users and their emotions for their children. It is important that the Government looks at these critically and ensures that these are regulated and existing institutes should not be allowed to tie up and run courses on revenue share mode as that would change the very alignment of the sector in the wrong direction. Institutes and Universities should instead be provided with funds to implement and adopt digital interventions and solutions but not end up outsourcing the very core of their existence, the delivery of education.
Fund allocation and linking of funds to the adoption of Digital Interventions in Education / Examination delivery
Significant numbers of Institutes and even Govt. led Open Schools / Universities have seen declining enrollments in the year due to Covid. In contrast, most online learning providers / Edtech companies have seen a massive increase in their enrollments number. Existing funds must be linked to the adoption of modern technology and solutions by the Govt. Institutes and Boards.
The high rate of GST for online education and online assessments makes it expensive, thereby restricting its access to only the elite. Therefore, considering the need of the hour, the government should reduce the existing rate of GST from 18% to 5% in the Union Budget for 2022 for online assessments and online education. The step will not only enable access to the online education & examination system at a lower cost but also provide a fillip to ed-tech companies.