What do education experts hope for in the 2023 union budget? (Representative Image)
Education Budget 2023 Expectations: India can achieve NEP 2020 targets through proper allocation of resources and their effective use, experts believe
Although the government added a slew of measures during the Union budget last year, including the digital universities initiative, the one class, one channel initiative, Prime Minister Gati Shakti’s master plan, remote mental health, we still have a lot to do doing more as India should become a real digital hub of the world, says Prof. YSR. Murthy, Founder of Vice Chancellor, RV University.
The budget committed to the education sector last year was 2.6 percent, it is expected that at least 3-3.5 percent of the budget will be allocated to education, if not 6 percent, says Sri Bharat Mathukumilli, president of GITAM and founder of Kautilya School of Public Policy. In the 2022 Union budget, a total of Rs 1,04,278 crore was allocated to the education sector. This was an increase of Rs 11,054 crore from 2021. The education budget allocation was Rs. 93,223 crores in 2021.
“The big spend has to come from the private sector and there is huge demand. Good B schools generally receive no fewer than 5,000 applications against, say, 240 available places, implying a demand of more than 20 times the available supply. With such an offer, the higher education market is definitely a seller’s market,” said Dr VP Singh, Professor of Economics at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon.
India can achieve NEP 2020 targets through the proper allocation of resources and their effective use, believes Prof. Murthy. “As two-thirds of the higher education sector is owned by the private sector, it is time to encourage private corporate philanthropy at scale through tax and other incentives. We need to create a favorable environment for the private sector to come forward and create new institutions. Ease of doing business is more important here than anywhere else,” he added.
“There is an urgent and important need to transform the education system. For example, modern tools like ChatGPT require institutions to have a strong technology infrastructure and skilled human resource teams that understand how to handle this rapid technological change. The government has a desire to raise the Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) in higher education to 50 percent. However, the institutions fueling this growth are largely private institutions. On the contrary, the support they receive is very limited,” added Mathukumilli.
Proper use of allocations would lead to changes mentioned in the NEP 2020, said Dr. Silpi Sahoo, president of the SAI International Education Group. “This could include providing free or subsidized education, upgrading school infrastructure, establishing scholarships and grants, and engaging technology-based learning. An expanded focus and allocation for revised learning methods such as situated learning environment (SLE), vocation/apprenticeship (hard skills) and incentives for employers to invest in talent pipelines can be expected.”
A scholarship is to be established related to the higher education sector with a corpus of Rs.1,000 crores contributed by the country’s top 1000 companies. This should be administered by an eminent independent council and the government should provide full matching grants, as well as a tax exemption of up to 300 percent for all contributions, says Prof. Murthy.
Dr. Sahoo further adds that facilitating formal partnerships with leading universities abroad to offer online and hybrid degree programs to meet the government’s GER goals is relevant to consider this year. She further added that some portions of the money will be allocated to wellness programs and programs by qualified professionals to provide students with the right guidance and support to help them learn coping strategies and build resilience, creating a conducive learning environment .
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