With a 6 per cent fall in government-allocated annual funding, the budget for 2020-21 was reduced from Rs 99,311 crore to Rs 93,224 crore. The education industry and other stakeholders have high hopes for this year’s Budget, though. Experts hope for a significant booster dose as the industry has been most severely hit during the pandemic.
Ujwala Chakradeo, the vice chancellor of SNDT University said, “Considering the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, this Budget 2022 should spend about 6-7 per cent of the total on education. It should focus more on learning loss due to the pandemic.” Chakradeo also wants to strengthen teachers training so that they are able to cope with the shift in teaching-learning mode. “Last year the budget allocation for the education sector was 2.67 per cent, which was approximately Rs 6,000 crore less than the previous year. This allocation was also less than the earlier year’s allocation in the last five years,” she said. She added that one of the recommendations of NEP2020 is to have 6 per cent of the GDP for education. Greater allocation, she said, is also necessary to take maximum advantage of demographic dividend through promoting the schemes of skilling the young population. “Making the youth employable and eligible for employment/self-employment is the need of the hour,” she said, adding there is also a need for higher focus on the EdTech sector.
“This sector is expecting that the GST slab on educational services will be brought down to 5 per centfrom the existing 18 per cent,” she said. Prajodh Rajan, co-founder and Group CEO of Lighthouse Learning, which is behind EuroSchool, Billabong, EuroKids and Kangaroo Kids, is hoping that the Finance Minister would thoughtfully consider operational expenses for preschools and schools at a time when physical learning has been impacted. “A significant jump in spending towards achieving the 6 percent for an educational promise, including 3 percent for primary education, 2 percent for secondary education, and 1 percent for tertiary education is needed,” said Steve Rocha, director and founder of PRATYek NGO, which educates and empowers children and relevant stakeholders to build a rights-based community.
Jai Decosta, the founder and CEO of K12 Techno Services Pvt. Ltd, the parent company of Orchids International School, said, “Last year, the education sector’s fund allocation suffered due to the unprecedented spike in Covid cases, as healthcare required greater attention from the government. However, this year, we are hoping we get a generous fund allocation, given the kind of hurdles faced by the sector.