Budget 2018: Reactions From Education Sector

Budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 has been set at Rs.1.38 lakh crore against estimated expenditure of Rs.1.22 lakh crore in 2017-18.

Budget 2018: Reactions From Education Sector

India is moving towards a digital India, said an expert.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced various benefits for students and education sector in India in his Budget 2018 speech. Budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 has been set at Rs.1.38 lakh crore against estimated expenditure of Rs.1.22 lakh crore in 2017-18. The Union Budget 2018 also mentioned that the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) would be suitably structured for funding the RISE initiative.

Views of experts from education sector:

 Harish Doraiswamy, Vice President, Qualifications, Schools & Vocational, Pearson India:

"The government has presented a well-balanced budget with a focus on addressing the fundamental needs of education in India. The budget rightly focuses on movement from traditional blackboards to digital boards which offer enhanced learning experience to students. We are confident that the promotion of digital platforms and use of technology will increase reach and ensure superior outcomes. The government understands the need for quality of education and setting up of higher education finance agency, integrated B.Ed programme and revitalizing infrastructure and systems' in Education by 2022 with Rs 1 Lakh crore in next 4 years, steps in right direction. Furthermore, significant budgetary allocation towards improving education infrastructure in the country augurs well for learners."

Manbir Singh, MD, CT Group of Institutions:

"India is clearly moving towards a digital India and as far as education sector is concerned then this budget includes the intention of elevating this segment as well. The government 's   plan and focus to move classroom black boards to digital boards is welcomed. The emphasis will now be given to training of untrained teachers and allocation of 1 lakh crore for education research which is allotted is a very fruitful move. Its also very commendable about the plans if coming up with 24 new Medical colleges. Also commendable is the plan of at least one medical college every three constituencies."

Manek Daruvala, Founder and Director, T.I.M.E.:

"This budget continues with the recent trend of tinkering at the edges of the problems that confront Indian education. On the one hand, the proposal to start Eklavya schools and new architecture schools and government medical colleges will have a certain positive impact in the areas that they are targetting. The proposal to help train untrained teachers is a very welcome move. At the same time, it is disappointing that the government has done nothing to provide better tax relief to parents for the school fees they pay for their children's education. Similarly, one had hoped that the budget would so something to help students with education loans who are unable to get a job immediately after they complete their course. A limited moratorium period towards repayment of the loan would be a huge relief.

But the real problems of Indian education lie in a domain beyond the budget. The government needs to liberalise the archaic rules governing education in India. This is essential to attract private investment into education and enable the setting up of a very large number of schools and colleges - particularly in under-served parts of the country. Successive governments have failed to even scratch the surface of the real problem. I fear that if nothing is done to address this issue, the demographic dividend could turn into a demographic disaster - with a huge number of poorly educated youth unfit to get employment."

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