What Education Sector Is Expecting From Upcoming Budget
In the upcoming budget, the government needs to provide more sops for providing quality education to all which is now possible with the help of technology.
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India’s young population provides us a strong demographic dividend. There are 300 million students in India but most of them are deprived of quality education. Despite the sharp increase in the literacy rate and availability of schools (credit goes to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan), the standards of education have not changed much. The registration rates of the students in our schools have reached a global average. The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018, estimates that 97% of the children between the ages of 6-14 were enrolled in school. While India is progressively inching towards universal education but still there are huge quality gaps. The unemployment rates are increasing and skill gaps rising. India even refused to participate in the Global Education International Triennial Survey, popularly known as PISA (Program for International Student Assessment). Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh participated in the 2009 PISA survey, and India was placed at the 72nd position among the 74 participating countries. Even we question the socio-cultural biases in the survey, India’s poor rank definitely reflects the gap in the quality of education.
Young Population – Asset or Liability?
If there are 3-4 kids in a family and one becomes an engineer, another becomes a doctor, another one becomes a lawyer, or scientist or an entrepreneur, the family becomes stronger. The same logic can be extended to the nation. The population is human capital when the masses are educated and use their energies for productive purposes. However, the population becomes a burden on the resources of the nation if they remain just human labour whose contribution is not going beyond the physical work. Education plays the most critical role in shaping the human capital of the nation.
Educations makes a difference
Investment in education are very long-term investment. Returns start coming after a gap of 10-20 years and keep coming even after 80-90 years. What one learns during one’s early years makes long lasting impact in the career.
1. Make all form of education free of any tax. Due to free data and strong internet connectivity students of small towns and villages are studying online. Taxing these students by charging 18% GST on online learning is a huge burden on these students who come from the lower middle class and poor families and aspire to change their fortune by education.
2. The government spends about 3% of the GDP on education which needs to be increased. Investment in education gives best returns to the nation in the long term. Use of technology is making education affordable and accessible to everyone. The government needs to budget for investing in the education technology such as smart classrooms, ICT, use of Artificial Intelligence for personalised learning, etc. Registration of students is not enough; more funds are required for improving the poor infrastructure of government schools and colleges.
Great nations and civilizations are made by great people. Education makes the most signification impact in shaping people and is, therefore, the most critical element in making a great nation. In the upcoming budget, the government needs to provide more sops for providing quality education to all which is now possible with the help of technology.
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