All sectors have high expectations of the first budget post demonetisation in India. Education sector that is generally left disappointed needs a boost, feel educationists. While infrastructure and implementation of schemes are priority for those in the field of education, additional allocation of funds to introduce world class education is a common demand.
"Children are the future of this country and we want them to have quality education in world class classrooms and syllabus that will induce critical thinking making them competent on a global basis. We as educationalists hope for the best of infrastructure to students across economic background," said Sarayu Ramachandran, an educationalist.
Union Budget for education saw a single-digit hike during the previous fiscal year and those in the field hope that this year it can witness a double-digit growth rate in terms of budget allocation.
Here is a wishlist for the education sector for those from the fraternity:
- Close to 50 percent of India's population is below the age of 25 and as much percentage of the population is directly affected by the education budget. Allocating at least 10 per of the GDP may get the sector much needed boost.
- 2016 was a dismal year for the education sector. Government's initiatives such as PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana and Rs 1700 crore budget allocations to skill development was a positive step. Overall however, the total outlay for education sector remains dismal. Last year, the total outlay of Rs 72,394 crore to education, though significantly higher than 2015's allocation, was not enough. In fact, it was much below the desired 6 percent of GDP.
- Boost to foreign direct investment in education by allowing foreign universities to set up operations in the county and remove not for profit clause may help the sector taking on a Singapore model. Not only would it be a bold step to provide quality education to the youth of India that run abroad for higher studies, it would also provide a cheaper alternative to other foreign bound students.
- Tax rebates, much like most sectors is expected for education loan to higher education. Higher Education continues to be an expensive provision for the average youth of the country. Introducing micro-financing options would help the students in seeking better education and hence enriching the country, making its economic development progressive.
- While compulsory free primary education is the push of every government implementation is a long way to go. Applying the same to all public and private institutions will go a long way. Even though the government has tried to force its hand in providing access to the economically backward classes, the school authorities continue to mold the rule. Free and compulsory education would truly level the playing field and possibly pave way for a reservation free education sector in the country.
- The recent upgrade to IIMs in the country to give out degrees instead of diplomas is welcome. Likewise setting up more centre of excellence like IITs, NITs, IIMs to accommodate more students from varied background will be an advantage. What would be ideal would be to provide these in the rural areas of the country, assisting in providing the rural youth to aspire for excellence.