Union Budget 2022-23 has set the right path for education

By Pawas Tyagi

It is only fair to begin this discussion by understanding the importance of a fiscal catalyst for growth and progression. While it is only fair that the decision-makers, for ages, have been designating a Budget after prioritising the potential, scope and need in that domain, how it gets utilised in the future also plays an important role in its allocation in the future.

In a country like ours, where almost 40% of the population is under the employable age, we spend only about 3% of GDP on the education sector. Since 1968, the sector has expressed the need for increasing the allocation to 5-6% of the GDP. The realisation needs to factor in that this investment for the future generation is only reaping benefits in terms of a far more educated and equipped youth, ready to take on challenges in every aspect of life.

The years that have gone by, struck by the Covid-19 pandemic, have created a demand for technical advancements in the education sector. These considerations need to be reflected in the Budget to accentuate the learning experience and reduce the gap created by offline schooling.

While the NEP reiterates the importance of 6% of GDP to education formula, the previous trend shows that the sector was allocated Rs 93,224 crore for 2021, which was fairly reduced from 2020. Let us evaluate what the Budget FY23 has done for education:

  1. Syllabus revision of agricultural universities was long overdue, especially when the emphasis on farm productivity and food security also incorporates sustainability and green practices.
  2. One Class, One TV Channel was required and must be applauded. But I hope the government understands that it requires considerable motivation to get children to study from any medium and good production quality should be ensured. Otherwise, teaching on TV has been done before also and I am not very sure if any of it could be called a success.
  3. Digital University and Digital Desh are the need of the hour to rapidly skill a large and young workforce, especially in new-age vocations. Again, however, the devil is in the detail and implementation.
  4. Training teachers for online delivery is not only required but should be made essential to any teacher training.
  5. Five Centres of Excellence to be set with an endowment fund of Rs 250 crore each for urban planning courses that would assist in urban sector development.

Overall, my feeling is that the Budget has set the direction, but a lot needs to be done. Implementation is the key and states must carry the load more than the Centre.

The author is co-founder, Edustoke

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