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Expectations From the Education Sector The budget allocation for the education sectors should be increased by at least 9-10 per cent compared with the previous year

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The whole situation in the education system has turned upside down due to the pandemic. The transition from conventional to digital learning has led to the development of edtech startups and existing businesses. We have also seen a huge growth in the use of online classes, e-learning sites and language learning applications, coding among the K-12 students and skills development programmes becoming popular among the graduates and professional students.

While the edtech market has already gathered traction over the last few years, the pandemic has engendered the whole situation and brought it to the fore.

The budget allocation for the education sectors should be increased by at least 9-10 per cent compared with the previous year. The budget for 2021 must benefit the education market. So, it provides more momentum to businesses and inspiration to implement creative ideas and provide exciting prospects for establishing unicorn in the education industry.

We assume that it is important to take into account those areas which have not been in the spotlight before. The Narendra Modi-led government should give importance to the education sector if it is to enhance the development of the Indian economy in comparison with other areas of concern.

In view of all the points, we infer that the government should reflect on these areas when presenting Budget 2021 to the general public.

Increase focus on Innovation and IPR in education at the school level

The Budget can focus on a more the comprehensive and extensive way our young students in K-12 segment get exposure to innovation and tinkering while they are in school. Therefore, by the time they graduate we have some real innovators at our doorstep. It is high time the Indian students and professionals get a boost in recognitions of their innovations via Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). There has to be a culture within the country to promote brain gain. Considering this, there's a government scheme of developing Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) through which around 5000+ ATLs are already setup, but given the fact that there are 1.5 million-plus schools in India, there is still a lot that needs to be done. Undoubtedly, the establishment of thousands of ATLs across 715 districts of India, enabling students from grade 6 to grade 12 to learn and experience the tinkering tools and equipment and develop innovative projects to solve community issue like never before.

As India improved its ranking in the Global Innovation index to 48th in 2020 from 52nd position in 2019. But still, there is a lot that requires to be done if we have to take Innovation at grass-root level and make it significant for the masses.

Reducing the GST rate

The government has been giving so much emphasis on the penetration of digital services and financial inclusion in BFSI segment, but as far as education is concerned only the conventional school education has been kept out of GST, not the online/e-learning/live classes. Innovation and tinkering based edtech firms still have to pay GST @18 per cent. There should be some provision wherein they need to pay reduced GST@5 per cent or so.

Push towards technology-based learning wherein quality of education delivery is effectively monitored

Until now, the emphasis in education delivery for the government sector at K-12 level has usually been on quantity, improving education scope and spread. However, there seems to be a growing need for Indian students to organize themselves and be serious about their companions around the world. In order to achieve this, the technology-oriented curriculum delivery, based on technique, pedagogy in line with the demands of the 21st century skills, should be assimilated in our education delivery for K-12 students and schools. Budget 2021 should allow for improved accentuation and discretionary designation in order to resolve these concerns.

Enhancing teachers capacity and skill building

There is a shortage of millions of teachers in our education system and, at the same time, there is a need to update and redesign the qualifications of current teachers so that they are able to train their aspirants for the demands of the future. Budget 2021 should also include provisions and proposals for Teachers' Abilities, taking into account the digital sustainability, development, enhancement and acceleration of the study patterns.

Rajeev Tiwari & Anurag Gupta

Co-Founders at STEMROBO Technologies

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