The Tech Panda asked the Union Budget expectations from EdTech companies.
Quality education is one of the fundamental rights of every child. However, the pandemic has made this basic right difficult to access for many students in the past two years. Last year, the Budget proposed several changes, focusing primarily on innovation and R&D.
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Here’s what the EdTech sector is expecting from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget for 2022.
Himanshu Tyagi, CEO & Founder, Digikull
Revisit 18% GST on skilling
Lower interest rates for education loans
“In India, any skill development related service must come under the lowest tax slab. The government should revisit the 18% GST on skilling, which is very demotivating for the students who want to gain skill-related education.
“Even the loans related to education must be provided for lower interest rates. Only then will we be able to say that in India the policies are encouraging towards education and literacy. During the pandemic too EdTech played a vital role in keeping the show running for education institutes. Now they need the Budget to consider a decent allocation to the sector to suffice for long term tax exemption, technology and accessibility.”
Rachit Agrawal, Co-founder & Director, AdmitKard
Facilitate hybrid model of education in school infrastructure
More tech enabled early education
Greater emphasis on skills & language training
“This budget we expect to see the Indian economy moving its focus to build stronger capabilities in the school infrastructure to enable the hybrid model of education which has become essential in the recurring pandemic scenario.
“Additionally, early education needs to get more tech enabled and we expect that should work in favor of the EdTech community. Further, there should be greater emphasis on skills and language training in order to make Indian youth ready for the global economy, and encouraging more Indians to migrate for work or studies,”
Sahil Miglani, Co-Founder, Geekster
Improve digital infrastructure
Revisit the high GST on education related services
“The pandemic has changed the way learning happens and fast-forwarded the adoption of online education by 5-10 years. Delivering quality education to every town and village of the country is now possible, provided we improve the digital infrastructure. We expect the Government to revisit the high GST on education related services, and overall higher budget allocation to this sector,”
Sharad Bansal, Co-founder, Tinkerly
Reduce GST for online programs & STEM toys
Better Internet connectivity, infrastructure in tier 3-4 cities
Implement programs like One Student, One Laptop
Upskill teachers to teach online classes
Include IoT, AI, and coding in curriculum
“Online lessons have become commonplace now that the country is witnessing the third wave of COVID, yet they are now subject to the 18% GST slab. The reduction in GST for online programs and STEM toys will encourage more students to join.
“We witnessed a demand-supply mismatch as a result of COVID, and it is critical to close the gap by providing internet connectivity, better infrastructure in tier 3 and tier 4 cities, and implementing programs like One Student, One Laptop, and awarding scholarships for great achievements.
“Teachers should be required to receive technical and soft skill training. They should be taught how to teach online classes and how to keep students engaged. A budget provision can be established under SSA for the same.
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“To increase the quality of education, funds and payments to Atal Tinkering Labs should be expedited. Grants for Atal Tinkering Labs are now only available to schools; however, this should be expanded to private learning centres and independent educators so that community-driven Tinkering Labs can be formed.
“IoT, AI, and coding are examples of futuristic tech skills that should be included in the curriculum. Currently, India’s government spends substantially more on education per child in government schools than it does on private education per child in private schools. This inefficiency can be decreased by giving direct education vouchers with the freedom to select where and how they are spent. The core elements of technology, such as equity, access, quality, affordability, and accountability, should be leveraged and imposed, as stated in NEP 2020.”
Dr. Pankaj Sharma, Director of Placement & Admission, JK Lakshmipat University
Better Internet connectivity infrastructure for affordable 5G device access
At least 6% of GDP on education sector
Job-ready education curriculum in higher ed institutes to curtail drop-out rates
“In this budget, the Government should announce multiple schemes to enhance better Internet connectivity infrastructure across the nation so that last-mile connectivity can be ensured and access to affordable 5G devices.
“The education curriculum in the higher education institutes should be job-ready so that drop-out rates can be curtailed. If we see the education expenditure, India spends only 4.6% of its total GDP and ranks 62nd in total public expenditure on education per student, therefore it’s high time that the government should allocate at least 6% of Indian GDP to the education sector.”
Emphasise implementation of NEP across different levels
More policies to encourage tech-based education in schools & colleges
Re-skill teachers with digital capacities
Centralised union body to create a framework for EdTech
“This year’s union budget brings many expectations and scopes of work on the EdTech core. This budget should lay proper emphasis on the implementation of NEP across different levels. More policies should be introduced to encourage technology-based education in schools & Colleges as the ongoing COVID-19 situation is already putting immense pressure on schools.
“Effective and sufficient infrastructure should be in line to implement EdTech learning structure effectively in schools. Schools should be supplemented with technology supporting infrastructure to make education accessible for one and all even during such tough times. It must also help in re-skilling teachers with digital capacities for creating an efficient digital learning ecosystem at all levels. We further look forward towards a centralised union body to create a framework for EdTech space ensuring transparency and fair practices.”
Continue focus on Indian education system for literacy & employability
Propagate financial literacy
“No country can have a bright future without a strong literate population. I would like the Union Budget to continue its focus on the Indian education system in terms of both literacy and employability. The budget should also pay more attention to the allocation of funds to propagate financial literacy in the country.”