Education budget 2022: In the Union budget 2022 presented by Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, major announcements were made for the education sector – from the launch of a digital university to the expansion of the PM e-vidya scheme. The budget also encouraged and emphasized the use of regional languages in online and offline learning.
The finance minister emphasized mental health, skills and teacher training, citing the pandemic and prolonged school closures. Here are the responses from education experts to the hits and misses of Budget 2022:
Push to narrow the demographic and digital divide
The union budget has led to positive measures in education that will boost the sector, especially in the context of the pandemic. The Minister of Finance emphasized the provision of education in regional languages, which is valued by educators.
“The 2022 budget for the education sector rightly focuses on further training and digital learning. The announcement of one class one channel and expansion to 200 channels under e-vidya will enable the reach of online education for a large number of students where online education is still not widespread. The pursuit of regional education is welcome as it will re-enable people in rural areas to access quality education in their language,” said Shweta Sastri, general manager of the Canadian International School in Bangalore.
Meanwhile, Tarun Jain, an associate professor of economics at IIM-Ahmedabad, said: “The finance minister has mentioned additional education through additional TV channels (PM eVidya) to make up for the educational loss of the past two years. This is minuscule considering the massive learning loss our children have experienced. Significant investment in improving school quality is critical to ensuring our demographic dividends are actually delivered.”
E-labs to boost skills training to improve accessibility
Rajiv Tandon, CEO-Executive Education at BITS Pilani WILP, said virtual labs and e-labs to deliver skills training online could transform mere access to education over the Internet into high-impact and rich learning experiences. This could be a boon for students in a vast country like ours, who lack access to proper physical laboratory infrastructure.
Shishir Jaipuria, president of FICCI Arise, said the establishment of 750 science and math e-labs and 75 skills e-labs will nurture the scientific temperament and critical thinking skills that are important to 21st century learners. “Going beyond e-learning initiatives, the government has rightly decided to designate 5 academic institutions as centers of excellence for delivering courses in urban planning and design. The move will continue the vision of India-specific urban development,” he added.
E-passport facility a boon for aspirants abroad
“The proposal to roll out e-passports is a welcome gesture as it will enable a seamless experience for the traveling population, especially the large proportion of students flying abroad for their studies. Extended tax breaks for startups announced in the budget will further boost the ecosystem and boost the growth of the economy,” emphasized Vaibhav Singh, co-founder of Leap Scholar.
No relief in education loan interest rates disappoints students
“Students expect major reductions in interest on education loans. The pandemic is putting many students and their families under severe financial pressure. There was no such announcement in the budget speech. It was disappointing. Investing in education is an investment in the future,” said Debashis Sanyal, director of the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon.
Launch of Digital University commendable but far-sighted step
Manek Daruvala, founder and director of TIME said the announcement to start a digital university is timely. “This could be a big forward-looking step to expand the reach of education, a huge step forward from the days of open universities. Establishing Institutes of Urban Planning courses across the country in five locations is another highly anticipated but much appreciated step.” he added.
Similarly, Prashant Jain, CEO of Oswaal Books, said that all the initiatives launched by the government are new, but most will not see the light of day in the coming years. Currently, the government needs to ensure that the existing budget allocated to the school and higher education is done efficiently to overcome the crucial learning loss.”
“The reforms that enable foreign universities in India to offer courses free from national regulations and the introduction of a digital university will help to introduce industry best practices, giving the students better job prospects. Also, the animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) sectors are very popular with the younger generation and have great employability potential,” explains Ruchir Arora, CEO and co-founder of CollegeDekho.
Accessible Digital Infrastructure Overlooked in Budget 2022
“The 2022 Union budget announced today was a bull’s eye for the education sector. While it has finally addressed and acknowledged the learning loss caused by the pandemic, the need to develop the country’s digital infrastructure was not budget focused enough. Further constructive measures for digitization and the resumption of physical classes are needed,” emphasizes Dr. Mona Lisa Bal, President of KiiT International School.