Quoting Swami Vivekananda, Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley during the Budget 2017, says: ‘Education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves is it worth of the name?’, and announces an innovation fund for secondary education. He also added that Government will undertake reforms in UGC to improve higher education.
Education Technology, talks to few of the industry experts on how promising they feel Budget 2017 is…Here are the excerpts:
Prof Vijay Vancheswar, Prof.Strategy & General Management, IMI, New Delhi
The FM also proposed Swayam, an online education platform, or Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that would help people to build skills and gain employment. Swayam was first talked about in 2014, and a pilot program started in August 2016. Jaitley said access to Swayam would be widened by linkage with DTH channels, dedicated to education.
The digital education Initiative announced by FM (as above) is a very progressive move This will help unlock the learning and development needs of the youth who are increasingly aligned to the digital age and technological development happening in the country .
Aakash Chaudhry, Director, Aakash Educational Services Pvt. Ltd
The proposals stated by the government in the union budget will definitely lead to a paradigm shift in the education sector. It will give an impetus to quality education and global exposure. The decision to set up two new AIIMS in Jharkhand and Gujarat will open options galore for medical aspirants, thereby giving more quality medical professionals to our country.
Increase in the number of post graduate seats for medical sciences is a welcome move and will greatly benefit the students aiming at higher studies and research.
Further, the government’s effort to set up National Testing Service (NTS) to bring greater professionalism in conducting all higher education entrance examinations is also laudable. Overall, the budget has been quite constructive and we are looking forward to a better and significant education for students across the country.
Prateek Bhargava,CEO & Founder,Mindler
Introduction of a system of measuring annual learning outcomes, innovation fund for secondary education.
This initiative of the govt. is in the right direction. However even before measuring learning outcomes the emphasis has to be put on quality of education provided. We know significant gaps exist in the delivery of education, infrastructure in schools, adoption of technology and latest methods of learning. Till these issues are addressed measuring learning outcomes will not be effective. This initiative has to be driven with adequate focus towards substantial investments towards upgrading the process of imparting education. Leverage technology towards learning, evaluating the skills of the student and mapping students to the right programs suited to their skill set are important pre-requisites before such measures. Not all of India’s millions are required to become engineers, doctors or college professors. Recent governments have made great strides with regards to upskilling India but when you’re looking at employment for a working population of 860 million by 2020, radical approaches are required.
Beas Dev Ralhan, CEO & Co-founder, Next Education India Pvt. Ltd
The Union Budget for 2017–18 looks promising for the education sector. I see the process of standardising curriculum, which has been the need of the education sector for very long, finally turning into a reality. The proposal to launch National Testing Agency to conduct all major entrance examinations is a milestone. As Mr Jaitley pointed out, CBSE would now be relieved from the burden of conducting examinations and can henceforth focus on academics better. Besides that, this step would also free students from the burden of taking different entrance examinations. Last year, the hurried implementation of Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) had left students confused over whether to follow the CBSE syllabus or not. This move would dispel all such confusions over syllabus in future.
The finance minister emphasised that science education would be the focus in schools. He also mentioned that ICT-enabled education coupled with a system mapping the annual learning outcomes of students has the potential to boost the learning process of kids. This could be the beginning of the proliferation of Learning Management System (LMS) in Indian schools.
Moreover, the availability of 350 online courses on the Swayam platform is also an attempt on the government’s part to further its ambitious Digital India initiative by making the youth digitally proficient. It is amazing to see the government tirelessly promoting skill development and vocational training initiatives across the country. This year, we witnessed an allocation of Rs 4000 Cr to the Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness Programme called Sankalp.
Harish Thakkar, Executive Director – Imarticus Learning
The budget has reinforced the governments focus on skill development by not just extending the PM Kaushal Kendras to 600 districts, but also setting up international skill centres to help students get job outside of India. While we await more details on the reforms in UGC, it certainly means more autonomy to educational institutions allowing them to devise courses which are in line with Industry skill set requirement. The budget is certainly is step forward in the right direction particularly for the education sector paving way for more employment-oriented skill based education.
Jonathan Anchen, Head of Economic Research & Consulting, India, Swiss Re
“It is a balanced budget with several measures to ease the process of doing business. This will positively impact economic growth. The initiatives to incentivise manufacturing, clear red tape for foreign investment, institutionalise the dispute resolution mechanism for infrastructure projects, higher allocation for highways, etc, are very positive steps. The digital economy too will get a strong boost with high-speed broadband connectivity on optic fibers, and encouraging digital transactions.”
Rishi Das, Chairman and Co-Founder, Indiqube
“We see the budget quite positive for the start-up segment. The push towards digital India will present more opportunities for start-ups. The focus on less-cash economy will specifically be a boon for start-ups in the FinTech domain. Further, the tax concessions given for the Start-Ups and the SME segment are step in the right direction. Firms incorporated after 31 March 2016 can now avail of the three-year tax holiday in the first seven years of their existence instead of the 5 year period earlier.This would help most of the start-ups as the profits start accumulating from 4th or 5th year only. In all such cases, the losses accumulated in the first year years can now be offset against profits from year 4-7 which is a reasonable timeframe to utilize the tax holiday benefit.
On the implementation side, we would like to see the simplification of start-up recognition process under #startupindia initiative. Overall, we see the budget enabling the #startupindia”.