Don't Burden Students With Cost Of Education, Need Impetus From Government: EPSI Roundtable

EPSI, a national body representing wide spectrum of education sector and education service providers yesterday held a roundtable discussion.

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Don't Burden Students With Cost Of Education, Need Impetus From Government: EPSI Roundtable

Don't Burden Students With Cost Of Education: EPSI Roundtable

New Delhi:  Education Promotion Society for India (EPSI), a national body representing wide spectrum of education sector and education service providers yesterday held a roundtable discussion on "Indian Higher Education: Global Aspiration & Regulatory Challenges - Specially in the context of the GST Levy on Outsourced Services of Higher Education".  

The roundtable was inaugurated and presided by Dr.  Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha & National Vice President, BJP.  

Leading educationists deliberated upon the challenges and opportunities in the context of India's preparedness to take upon the challenges of global universities and the policy support sought from the government.

The EPSI members shared their thoughts and deliberated upon the key insights to help the sector rise to the challenges of global education ecosystem:
 
  • Half of India's population is under 25 years of age.  The new initiatives by Government like Skill India are aimed at improving employability and ensuring that the jobs that are created are filled with persons who can do justice to it, which means that the Government clearly wishes to build eligible candidates. This requires effective education.  However, the GST levy on input services but not on output would ultimately increase the burden of costs on educational institutions, disabling most of them to provide quality education they wish to deliver.  
  • It was further deliberated that India is one of the largest higher education system in the world.  As per the UGC Annual Report 2015-16, the number of universities has gone up to 753 and colleges in Higher Education sector to 41,435.     
  • It may be noted that over the past 10 years, central government expenditure on higher education has been fairly constant around 1-1.5% of its total expenditure.  In contrast, USA spends about 3%, Canada 2.5% and Chile 2%. 
  • At present, India is today geared up with a slew of Indian universities that are well prepared to compete globally on the basis of their quality, R&D, and Pedigree.  This is well established by the fact that Indian teachers are leading universities and departments abroad in international universities.
  • Education is not for profit sector.  The Indian institutions need impetus from Government for supportive regulatory regime and ensure that the cost of education is not burdened to students.

In a memorandum submitted to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday, it said the levy of GST on outsourced services in many cases will be detrimental to the quality of higher education.

Read also: Education Body Demands Rollback Of GST On Sector

The EPSI said there were serious implications of GST being imposed on several on-campus outsourced services like transportation, security, hostels mess and canteen, training, medical, shops and admission- related services.

"The higher educational institutions will be forced to stop outsourcing and do it in-house that will ultimately impact their delivery of quality education as they deviate from their core focus of providing education," it added.

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(With Inputs from PTI)

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