Experts from the education sector lauded the Union government's announcements on increase in the budgetary allocation to National Education Mission and National Artificial Intelligence Portal. The government on Friday announced a budget of Rs. 38,572 crore for its National Education Mission which comprises the centrally sponsored schemes for education under which it allocates funds to the states and union territories. The budget amount is an increase from last year's Rs. 32,334 crore. The Finance Minister announced a National Artificial Intelligence Portal, which will be developed soon as a part of the National Programme on 'Artificial Intelligence'.
However, several educationists and ed-tech entrepreneurs expressed their disappointment over the allocations to whole education sector.
Most part of the fund allocated to National Education Mission -- Rs. 36,472.40 crore -- is for school education for students from pre-primary to class 12.
This amount is meant to be allocated for schemes which include Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan -- formed with the merger of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan last year -- and teacher training.
Budget 2019: Responses from education sector
Prateek Bhargava, CEO, Mindler
"While it is an interim budget, many important measures have been announced for critical sectors like agriculture and defence. Education meanwhile has not received the same attention. Though the FM has rightly put a lot of emphasis on harnessing youth energy through various government schemes aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and start up culture, one would have like to see more allocation for technology upgradation and teacher's training, the two critical elements that will allow Indian schools to leverage the power of digital solutions and prepare students for new age jobs and careers"
Mr Ishan Gupta, MD Udacity India
"The budget has clearly recognised the importance of technology in the growth of the country by announcing the development of the National Artificial Intelligence Portal. Government move to convert Indian Villages to Digital Villages in next 5 years with 1 lakh digital villages seems to be promising as this would help us educating more and more learners in tier - 2 and tier - 3 cities. We welcome and look forward to India's startup growth where the country has become the second largest hub for startups with youth turning into job creators from job seekers.
Anil Nagar, Founder and CEO of ADDA247
"The step towards converting Indian Villages to Digital Villages in next 5 years with 1 lakh digital villages seems to be promising as this would help us educating more and more learners in tier - 2 and tier - 3 cities. We are also positive with regards to India's startup growth where India has become the 2nd largest hub for startups with our youth turning into job creators from seekers. It also has noticeably recognized the importance of technology in the growth of the country by announcing the development of National Artificial Intelligence Portal. To sum up, the Budget as a whole is balanced with respect to each sector and aims to foster the growth of our economy again"
Shweta Sastri, MD, Canadian International School, Bangalore
"The focus on the National Education Mission will provide a great push to Sakshar Bharat, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and teacher training programs, the four prominent schemes under National Education Mission. The budget allocation for education has been increased this year compared to last year which is again an appreciating move. Greater spend on National Education Program will make provision for skilled teachers in the system with better pay. Also, it will provide incentives to encourage research across all disciplines along with strengthening the technical capacity of the central schools. With the budget's major stress on digitisation, AI and advanced technology, not only integration of technology in classrooms is expected to get a considerable boost, but also education will become more accessible for all"
Shobhit Bhatnagar, Co-Founder, Gradeup
"The budget announcement that the Government will set up a national Centre for Artificial Intelligence to look into AI programmes is a welcome move. With this, we hope that we get the right set of people, agency and minds to lead this initiative. A policy was much needed from the government around usage of data and AI, so that India can lever on its own creation of data and not just be a digital colony. If this policy is made and executed correctly with the right system design, it will also be a great value add for consumer startups"
Vineet Chaturvedi, co-founder, Edureka
"The setting up of a National Artificial Intelligence Centre is a welcome move. India can no longer ignore the power of #AI and with this governmental support, India can finally catch up with US and China - which have much more advanced R and D in AI - and become a skill hot spot for Artificial Intelligence professionals"
The farmers and the middle class were the biggest focus areas of the government in the last budget presented today before the general elections by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.
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