Budget 2024: Education Experts Weigh In Expectations

Budget 2024: Education Experts Weigh In Expectations

Experts suggest that the interim budget should focus on skill development, vocational training, and infrastructure spending to boost economic growth and create employment opportunities

Megha ChowdhuryUpdated: Wednesday, January 31, 2024, 09:26 AM IST
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Prateek Maheshwari, Co-founder of Physics Wallah (PW) and co-chair of the India Edtech Consortium (IEC) (R) And Sachin Jain, country manager for ETS India and South Asia (L) | Special Arrangement

As the anticipation builds around the Interim Budget for 2024 to be presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Feb 1, experts are voicing their expectations, particularly regarding the education sector. 

The Free Press Journal spoke with some of the education experts on, what are the expectations from the Union Budget 2024 for the education sector. Experts suggest that the interim budget should focus on skill development, vocational training, and infrastructure spending to boost economic growth and create employment opportunities

‘Sanction additional funds to ease educational financial burden’

Rajendra Shinde, principal of St Xavier's College highlighted the pressing need for increased government spending on higher education. He emphasised that the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has exacerbated the financial burden on education institutions. 

“(The) government also needs to sanction additional funds to ease the strain, particularly by granting more teaching NOCs. This load has increased due to NEP 2020,”  he stated, emphasising the importance of improving college and school labs, particularly in the field of science education, which he says has been neglected under NEP.

Rajendra Shinde, principal of St Xavier's College

Rajendra Shinde, principal of St Xavier's College | Special Arrangement

Echoing Shinde's viewpoint, Neha Jagtiani, principal at RD & SH National College, agreed on the necessity for augmented funding across various educational facets, including teacher training, technology integration, inclusive education, scholarships, and financial aid.

Presenting a holistic strategy for educational sector investment, aligned with NEP's objectives, she highlighted the significance of infrastructure, capacity, and collaboration (IC2). 

"To empower Indian youth for the job market, we need to increase public-private partnerships and encourage the development of future-centric courses. This includes enhanced funding for teacher training, technology integration, inclusive education, as well as scholarships and financial aid," she further stated.

Neha Jagtiani, principal at RD & SH National College

Neha Jagtiani, principal at RD & SH National College | Special Arrangement

‘Increased support for economically weaker students’

"The budget 2024 should increase support for economically weaker students, implement new pedagogical methods, strengthen vocational training programmes to equip students with industry-relevant skills and increase investment in research and innovation in the field of education," says Samir Somaiya, Chancellor of Somaiya Vidyavihar University in Mumbai, in addition to calling for the expansion of infrastructure and investments in skill development aligned with emerging industries.

“We expect that the upcoming budget promises adequate public investment on education to lead young India on the path of unprecedented growth,” he added.

Samir Somaiya, Chancellor of Somaiya Vidyavihar University

Samir Somaiya, Chancellor of Somaiya Vidyavihar University | Special Arrangement

‘Optimistic about budget's impact on education and research’

Speaking on the expectations from the Union budget, Prof Rajeev Ahuja, officiating director, IIT Guwahati mentioned, "As we anticipate the upcoming union budget, IIT Guwahati remains optimistic about potential allocations for higher education and niche research. Adequate funding in key areas will undoubtedly catalyse research, innovation, entrepreneurship and infrastructure development, fostering a brighter future for our academic community, industry and the nation at large. We look forward to a knowledge-based Viksit Bharat with our students."

Prof Rajeev Ahuja, officiating director, IIT Guwahati

Prof Rajeev Ahuja, officiating director, IIT Guwahati | Special Arrangement

‘Incorporate global language skills into Indian classrooms’

The country manager for ETS India and South Asia, Sachin Jain, stresses the importance of having a global perspective and calls on legislators to mandate that work certifications and language proficiency be taught in Indian classrooms. 

For worthy Indian students pursuing postgraduate and research courses overseas, he highlights the necessity of a merit scholarship programme. “Skills development enterprises, both public and private, must leverage globally benchmarked and recognised skills framework and certifications as these are valued by employers internationally,” he adds while also urging policymakers to advance public-private partnership models that accentuate the ‘Study In India’ initiative, which aims to reinforce India’s position as a Vishwa-Guru to the world.

Sachin Jain, country manager for ETS India and South Asia

Sachin Jain, country manager for ETS India and South Asia | Special Arrangement

Expectations of the ed-tech sector this year

The booming ed-tech sector, which experienced rapid growth during the pandemic, eagerly awaits favourable measures in the interim budget as well. Stakeholders hope for GST reduction, enhanced AI integration in education, improved rural accessibility, and more.

Co-founder of Physics Wallah (PW) and co-chair of the India Edtech Consortium (IEC), Prateek Maheshwari, expressed the EdTech sector's anticipation for favourable measures in the interim budget. 

While he asked for a reduction in GST on educational products/services, he also stated, "Apart from this, focusing on collectively enhancing youth skills to increase employability and reduce skilling gaps is imperative for the Indian economy's growth."

Prateek Maheshwari, Co-founder of Physics Wallah (PW) and co-chair of the India Edtech Consortium (IEC)

Prateek Maheshwari, Co-founder of Physics Wallah (PW) and co-chair of the India Edtech Consortium (IEC) | Special Arrangement

Krishna Kumar, the founder, and CEO of the ed-tech firm Learnbay, echoed these sentiments, emphasising the need for increased allocation towards digital infrastructure and policies encouraging innovation in ed-tech.  

“By prioritising these areas, the government can significantly enhance learning outcomes, preparing our youth to be globally competitive and equipped for the challenges of tomorrow. Such steps will empower the education sector and resonate with our mission to bridge the skill gap through cutting-edge, accessible learning solutions,” Kumar added. 

As the countdown to the Interim Budget 2024 continues, these expert insights serve as a roadmap for policymakers, highlighting key areas that require attention to propel India's education sector towards a brighter future.

Krishna Kumar, the founder, and CEO of the ed-tech firm Learnbay

Krishna Kumar, the founder, and CEO of the ed-tech firm Learnbay | Special Arrangement

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