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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce the Budget 2023-24 on February 1. Most industry sectors have high expectations for the Union Budget 2023–2024 ahead of the year's much-awaited financial and economic presentation. In the area of education, all academic levels were impacted by the school closures during the Covid-19. Based on an exclusive interview with Shashiranjan Jha, Associate Vice President, Education & Skill Development, IPE Global, the spokesperson highlighted various expectations from Budget 2023-24 for the education sector which is as follows.

School closure during the Covid-19 had impacted millions of students across the education level. A sizable population of students were forced to drop out of school under the impact of COVID-19, a huge learning loss has already taken place, as evident from National Achievement Survey 2021 and the quality of education has deteriorated across levels of education. These have significant implications for how the education system is strengthened to support NEP 2020 goals.

In the past two years, the allocation for Education in Union Budget has been declining and a boost after the COVID-19 pandemic is expected.

Budget allocation for teacher training and adult education was 250 crores in 2021-22 which declined to 127 crores 2022-23. Even though Smagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) saw an increase of 6000 crores in the budgetary allocation in 2022-23, it still was below the budgetary allocation of 2020-21. Therefore, it is expected that this year teacher training and SSA receives a higher budget for the effective implementation of NEP 2020.

GST on Educational Services should be removed for a period of 10 Years - This includes, Ed-Tech, Training, Coaching and other related educational activities. It really does not make sense that the GST and Education Cess is being collected from activities on education. It will also provide some kind of level playing field for new Ed-tech companies.

Tech-Enabled Training of Teachers - A separate fund can be created for capacity building of human resources in the Education sector. This will give a boost to Technology in Education as well as upgrade the quality of education in government as well private institutions in India. Currently, Diksha Platform exists for online education/training for teachers but, the basic technical understanding of regular teachers needs to be improved and institutions should be allowed to come up with their own learning platforms with fair competition in the tech space.

Focus on Pre-Primary Education requires physical infrastructure and deployment of trained human resources - In the recent past government of India through New Education Policy has emphasised a new framework which has duly included pre-primary education but the financial measures towards it are still half-hearted. There is no clear policy and investment plan towards pre-primary education. This year it is expected from the government to give a clear vision towards Pre-Primary education and its integration into mainstream education.

Compulsory Vocational Component in Schools from Secondary education level - This is another very important area which requires decisive effort from the government. Only few selected schools are having vocational courses from the secondary education level onwards. According to the norms of the New Education Policy, students should be given exposure to vocational education at an early stage of their career selection and it will have far-reaching outcomes for skilling of the workforce in India.

The development of Research and Development Centres at the university level was proposed with a fund for research in the previous budget. It is expected to increase research funds and provide mobility for students at the Higher education level through academic credit banks and credit transfers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vipul Das

Vipul Das is a Digital Business Content Producer at Livemint. He previously worked for Goodreturns.in (OneIndia News) and has over 5 years of expertise in the finance and business sector. Stocks, mutual funds, personal finance, tax, and banking are among his specialties, and he is a professional in industry research and business reporting. He received his bachelor's degree from Dr. CV Raman University and also have completed Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication (DJMC).
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