The Tech Panda asked the EdTech industry what their expectations are from the upcoming Union Budget 2023.
The Union Budget 2023 is coming out, and the education sector has several expectations from the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st of February 2023.
The highlights of last year’s budget includedv the One class One TV channel program to be expanded to 200 TV channels, launch of Digital DESH e-portal, virtual labs and skilling e-labs; a Digital University, Digital Teachers, and expansion of the PM eVidya scheme from 12 to 200 channels.
Also, last year, the Union Budget honoured the exponential rise of EdTech in the education sector by allocating funds of INR40,828.35 crores for higher education while a fund of INR63,449.37 was granted for school education and literacy.
The Tech Panda asked the EdTech industry what their expectations are from the upcoming Union Budget 2023.
Rajeev Tiwari, Founder & Director, Stemrobo Technologies
“The New National Education Policy (NEP 2020) has set the pace for skill development for K-12 students. We expect that the Government will increase the education expenditure for the upcoming fiscal year. With more focus on the implementation and last-mile execution of the new policy, quality and tax-free education, and skill development, the reforms will pave the way for outcome-based learning, especially for school students. Classroom education needs to go a complete change due to the introduction of new skill-based courses in line with the recent circulars issued by various state and central bodies around the developments to be made in education, we expect that Government will put more focus on the usage of digital education in Tier 2, 3 cities and envisage avenues to make India as one of the preferred education destinations in the world.”
We expect that Government will put more focus on the usage of digital education in Tier 2, 3 cities and envisage avenues to make India as one of the preferred education destinations in the world
“The education sector plays an important role in shaping the future of India. As we all know, a majority of products and services are under the purview of GST in India. Though understanding the sensitivity and importance of the education sector, the GST Act has tried to maintain a fine balance whereby core educational services like books are exempt from GST, and other commercial education services like online courses, and skill-based offline solutions are taxed at a standard rate.
“However, as the importance of skill development courses rises day by day, it is much needed to ensure rebates are given to the companies working around to develop curriculum and educational solutions and ensuring the benefit of those rebates is passed on to the consumer I.e. the parents and students in this case.
“The rebates/exemptions in GST will help to lower the prices of the courses/solutions offered and thus help the Education solution providers be able to penetrate tier 1 and tier 2 markets at a much more affordable price thus benefiting a large segment of the market.
Aarul Malviya, Founder, Zamit
“There is no disputing that the pandemic has accelerated a shift from a predominantly offline learning system to one of hybrid learning for not only school students but also post-school and university students and even career professionals. As a consequence, apart from a host of new-age edtech startups offering tailored courses and curricula taking personalization to new levels, the existing educational institutions have reinvented their work models also incorporating digital mediums and formats into their everyday operations and practices. Now that the budget 2023-24 is around the corner, as an AI-powered edtech solutions provider for the school ecosystem, we expect that the government should focus on the following.
The foundational infrastructure for digital learning must receive adequate impetus in the budget in the form of financial and other policy incentives such as tax support and subsidies for private players who come forward to invest and contribute in this direction
“First, the foundational infrastructure for digital learning must receive adequate impetus in the budget in the form of financial and other policy incentives such as tax support and subsidies for private players who come forward to invest and contribute in this direction. Second, given the pivotal role that the quality of teaching plays in terms of learning outcomes for learners, the budget should make provisions that would incentivize and help in improving the teaching methods and techniques of instructors and teachers. The improved quality of teachers would not only result in students acquiring holistic learning but also make them adequately future-ready in light of the challenges that they might face in a more tech and skill-based workplace of the future.
“Third, the budget should ensure that digital technologies are utilized to the fullest in order to bridge the so-called access divide between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. In other words, for those students dropping off in the middle of their studies, especially at higher levels, the budget should make allocations allowing them to rejoin their educational journeys. At the same time, the budget should also encourage companies that are making efforts with a view to ensure that no child is deprived of education in this country. The overarching goal should be that every student wishing to study must be financially supported for his education.”
Yuvraj Krishan Sharma, Co-Founder & CPO, Edverse
“The Indian Edtech market has seen steady growth in recent years due to technological advancements, increased demand for skills in a competitive job market, and improved accessibility of education. The sector is projected to continue growing in 2023. In the upcoming budget, the government should focus on promoting emerging technologies in the education sector and building a strong e-learning infrastructure. This includes the adoption of AI, AR, VR, ML, and metaverse, which can help improve overall learning, upskill, overcome geographical barriers, and create more job opportunities for the future generation.
The government should focus on promoting emerging technologies in the education sector and building a strong e-learning infrastructure. This includes the adoption of AI, AR, VR, ML, and metaverse, which can help improve overall learning, upskill, overcome geographical barriers, and create more job opportunities for the future generation
“The government should also emphasize mandating and investing in skill development, providing training in these technologies, exploring the possibilities of the metaverse, and offering subsidies for EdTech startups in areas such as R&D, tax incentives, and financial benefits. Additionally, a comprehensive policy to help startups survive and grow during predicted economic downturns should be implemented. Improved internet connectivity, including last-mile access, reasonably priced 5G plans, and strict data privacy rules, should also be prioritized to benefit from the technology of metaverse and make education more accessible to everyone.”
Rishabh Khanna, Founder & CEO, Suraasa
“As we stand in 2023 and students are back in the classrooms, we can see the impact that the sudden shift to online learning has had on our education system. While it’s been necessary to keep our students and communities safe, it’s also highlighted the need to invest in bridging the skill gaps that have developed due to a lack of in-person learning. Teachers need to be prepared as well. This means investing in professional development and training opportunities that will help us effectively implement blended learning methods in the classroom and utilise the technology-enabled infrastructure. I am advocating for a budget dedicated towards programmes and resources that will help our students & teachers receive extra support and opportunities to succeed.
I am advocating for a budget dedicated towards programmes and resources that will help our students & teachers receive extra support and opportunities to succeed
“One of the key aspects that the EdTech industry is looking forward to being addressed is the need for technological infrastructure in every part of the country. Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities still struggle with online education due to tech-based infrastructure challenges. A lack of good internet speed, digital devices or computer systems stands as a big challenge for online courses. Hence, The EdTech industry is anticipating for the government to make these services accessible for all. Further, the industry’s key demand is lowering GST on online learning and resources for a fair and equivalent system for offline and online education providers.”
Ritika Amit Kumar, Co-founder & CEO, STEM Metaverse
“The government has taken some extensive initiative in skill development and has catered to STEM education macros. However, I would recommend focusing on micro factors as well, like reducing excise duty on lab equipment used in education, and also focusing on reducing GST on kits that are made in India.
I would recommend focusing on micro factors as well, like reducing excise duty on lab equipment used in education, and also focusing on reducing GST on kits that are made in India
“Additionally, a reduction of GST on STEM courses, content, VR, and AR equipment will ensure that experiential STEM education can be made available to all.”
Vineet Nayar, Founder & Chairman, Sampark Foundation
“The cascading effects of covid can be seen in significant drop in learning levels but an increase in enrolment in government schools. Unless we substantially increase allocation to education in the upcoming budget we will see this negative trend continue. Education builds the future of our country and we need 30% increase in number of teachers and their capabilities to teach in the right way. If we miss this opportunity, we would have millions of children who will miss benefiting from the focus on foundational numeracy and literacy skills and next year will be too late.
Education builds the future of our country and we need 30% increase in number of teachers and their capabilities to teach in the right way
“The challenge of balancing the budget is huge and I hope government sets the right priorities for the future of the children of this country. Today not only the allocation to education is much lower than what it needs to be, a substantial part of that budget goes into teachers doing non-teaching activities. Thus, what actually reaches the classroom is much lower than what is allocated in the budget. I hope we will not just have a substantial increase in education budget this year to fulfil the FLN mission but also draw a red line on using teaching time for non-academic activities, investing in frugal ideas instead of expensive technology solutions that are easy to buy but difficult to use and investment in increasing number of teachers at the cost of everything else because technology is not a replacement of teachers.”
Aashay Mishra, Co-founder & COO, PrepInsta
“Budget 2023 is expected to deliver much assistance to EdTech companies in the form of ease of doing business and faster document approval, as well as incentive policies to support innovation and job creation. A strong educational network, we believe, is critical for stimulating the economy and fostering new ideas, technologies, and next-generation businesses.
Budget 2023 is expected to deliver much assistance to EdTech companies in the form of ease of doing business and faster document approval, as well as incentive policies to support innovation and job creation
“Currently, taxation in India is very high in comparison to other nations, giving investors room for a second thoughts before investing. Therefore, for EdTech firms to lure foreign or domestic funding and accelerate business momentum, the government must lower taxes such as dividend tax and capital gains tax to gain investors’ faith to invest in India.”
Atulya Kaushik, Co-founder & CEO, PrepInsta
“India has the highest proportion of generation Z and millennials interested in digital learning to improve their skills and prepare for the technical jobs. Despite EdTech’s success post COVID-19 pandemic, India still falls short of technological resources to provide eLearning to aspirants.
We anticipate government to ramp up connectivity and offer schemes that bridge the accessibility gap for smart devices
“Over the years we have come to realise how students suffer because of inadequate internet speed and absence of smartphones, particularly in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Therefore, from the budget 2023, we anticipate government to ramp up connectivity and offer schemes that bridge the accessibility gap for smart devices. Doing so can enhance the skills of aspiring students as education can be managed and customized as per their preferences.”
Manish Agarwal, Co-founder & CMO, PrepInsta
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic’s outbreak, EdTech services have massively lowered the country’s skill gaps by linking the country‘s agrarian populace with digital learning. Without a doubt, the government has confined funding to develop high-quality educational infrastructure in outlying areas, but with the adoption of smart tools and hybrid learning models, we can conquer the large percentage of areas where modern education is still missing.
Loan and finance practices must be simplified for EdTech startups, which also serve as a driving force in the Indian
“Therefore, loan and finance practices must be simplified for EdTech startups, which also serve as a driving force in the Indian economy by retaining India’s brilliant minds.”
Sanjay Viswanathan, Chairman, AdiGroup & Ed4All
“Budget 2023-24 takes on significant, even outsized importance. It must address twin subjects of education and skills that are presently under-invested and underwhelming. India needs to keep aside at least 4% of its Budget for this, and for the next 25 years. Two logical sources of financing must be tapped. First is external financing through Institutional Investors – SWF and PF – to invest through long-term, low-cost capital. Position education similar to infrastructure and incentivise investors through a framework of structures (SPV) with sovereign guarantees. India can secure circa $500bn of infrastructure-orientated capital over 25 years with this.
Budget 2023-24 takes on significant, even outsized importance. It must address twin subjects of education and skills that are presently under-invested and underwhelming
“Second, internal financing. Establish 10yr Education and Skills Tax (EST) aimed at every firm in India, public and private, that generate revenues of Rs 10 crore and above to pay 1% of revenue for education and skilling in cash or actual contribution to exchequer, or in kind through provision of internships and apprenticeships for application of student’s theoretical knowledge, or a hybrid version of first two. This will contribute at least $20bn per year. Those firms that make larger than Rs 100 crore in contribution towards EST through can get special incentives from lower cost of borrowing to preferential allocation of land, power, water, et al.
“Combined, we will have secured $1.0 trillion or Rs 80 lakh crore to ensure education and skilling is well funded, structured, and resourced. And a bold and imaginative Budget and policy with job creation at its heart and prosperity of nation the soul.”