COVID-19 likely to have a bearing on the education budget thereby on NEP

The NEP promulgation marks a paradigm shift in education, a prelude of sorts for these shifts has been witnessed in the changes that the schooling system has witnessed in the process of coping with the pandemic imposed constraints. The commentators believe that the upcoming budget will bear heavily on the NEP related plans and on the recuperation of the schools from the effects of the lockdown and the resultant general slowdown that the academics has faced in the last year. The experts are of the opinion that the government will keep in view the covid-19 effects and the NEP demands while allocating the budget for education.

According to a senior academic administrator, the budget 2021 has to take into account the investment demands that the ambitious NEP imposes. The NEP implementation demands expenditure on both technical infrastructure and framework and the proposed Academic Bank of Credit is one such framework. The tax bracket of 18 percent under which online education currently falls has to be brought down sharply to enhance accessibility.

Currently, there are about 500 government universities in the country, the remaining are the private universities and colleges and their audience is sizable, for this reason, the government is expected to assist the private players besides concentering on bringing up new IIMs and IITs. Another point for consideration relates to the grant of scholarships that need to be made merit-based while also attending to the socio-economic background of the applicants.

The experts on schooling are optimistic about the direction that the NEP promises to give schooling in India, especially to the early years of education. They contend that the implementation of the NEP will hinge upon the budgetary allocation that the upcoming budget affords education.

The experts are unanimous in their appeal for a liberal allocation of budget for education this year in the interest of modernization of education across the board. The first step of modernization involves the adoption of technology in the planning and delivery of education.



The emergent view is that the students should be exposed to the culture of innovation and tinkering. The budget should promote initiatives like the Atal Tinkering Lab and promote a culture where Intellectual Properties become universally protected and promoted. Moreover, innovation ought to become part and parcel of education at the K-12 level. an excess of 5000 such labs have already been set up but given the humungous numbers of students in India, there is a need for many more.

The ranking of India has improved by 4 places in the Global Innovation index since 2019, that being said there is a lot that needs to be done in this direction.

Another significant area that cries for improvement is the availability of teachers in our educational institutions. currently, there is a chronic shortage of millions of teachers, and many teachers on rolls are not adequately trained. This inexorably points us to a scenario where development is arrested and this needs to be addressed at war level.

The inequalities in access to quality education now lay exposed in the aftermath of the pandemic and it is believed that in order to afford equitable educational opportunities to the marginalized demographic, the allocation of education has to be much more than a measly 3 percent.

Other areas need to be liberalized for the facilitation of the refinancing of retail education loans. The GST rate for online education makes the conditions restrictive for the lower-income groups

“The high rate of GST for online education, 18 percent, and online assessments makes it expensive, we are witnessing calls for slashing it to 5 percent to make conditions more equitable.

 

Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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