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Education Budget 2022: More Needed to Fill Learning Gaps, Push for Regional e-Content Welcomed

Union budget 2022: Experts give mixed reactions to education budget allotment (Representative image)

Union budget 2022: Experts give mixed reactions to education budget allotment (Representative image)

Education Budget 2022: While some experts have welcomed the move, others say more could be done to make up for the learning loss caused due to the pandemic in the past two years.

The Union Budget 2022 was announced on February 1, which saw several initiatives such as a digital university, upskilling, introduction of e-content in regional languages, job promises, tv channels for school-going students, and much more being introduced. While some experts have welcomed the move, others say more could be done to make up for the learning loss done due to the pandemic in the past two years.

While creating a digital university is a good move, it must also be noted that not every child has access to the internet or smart devices, says Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal, Co-founder, 21K School. “The announcement of Digital University is most welcome but, it misses the opportunity to leapfrog with more significant innovation and investment for improved access, equity, and affordability. The structural flaws of the education sector and problems on the ground could have been addressed,” he said.

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One class one TV channel not enough to compensate for learning loss

The finance minister also announced that 200 tv channels would be introduced to fill in the learning gap for kids. One channel will be dedicated to each class including both state and central level schools. Currently, there are 12 channels, each to telecast content for classes 1 to 12. Some experts suggest that although schooling via TV is an attempt to reduce learning loss, it may not have the efficacy that is expected.

“The budget should have outlaid funds to improve digital infrastructure for schools and higher education students. While NEP 2020 has identified many path-breaking initiatives, without the right infrastructure, schools and universities will find it difficult to build capability and capacity,” says Neeti Sharma, co-founder, and president of TeamLease Edtech. She adds that a combination of Digital, Physical and OnTheJob classrooms will have the highest efficacy of learning and even the potential to improve completion rates and GER.

Some experts however believe it would improve the accessibility of quality education for students all over the country. “This is a big win for inclusivity in the education sector. In a pragmatic move to ensure the production of high-quality e-content, it has promised to develop a competitive structure within which teachers will be empowered with digital tools and training,” says Shashi Banerjee, Director of Education, Shiv Nadar School.

For students and teachers who have nearly lost 2 years of learning and patience respectively due to the pandemic may find the remedy in the Budget 2022 but it is a little delayed. “One class one tv channel will expand the reach of education to the homes closing the digital divide and centers of excellence will help focus on quality education than mere figures of literacy. But most of them will not see the light of the day for years to come. Presently, the government needs to ensure that the existing budget allocated to the school and higher education is done efficiently to overcome the crucial learning loss,” believes Prashant Jain, CEO, Oswaal Books.

E-content in regional languages will make learning more effective

Providing high-quality e-content in regional languages is a very welcome allocation, says Paridhi Khaitan, Managing Director at ProTeen adding that it allows our multilingual youth to thrive and grow in the language they are most familiar with. “The proposed e-content delivery and personalized learning will also help dissolve geographical boundaries and make learning more effective, allowing students to learn at their own pace and time. We foresee more students getting equal access to quality education, which, in turn, will push up overall learning outcomes,” said Paridhi.

While the budget 2022 has prioritized skilling, upskilling, and reskilling programmes as it will give immense boost to the youth of the country to get back to work, the government could have had definitive plans to accomplish the same and “encourage such platforms that work towards skilling from the perspective of employability and create business models on successful employment,” says Narayan Mahadevan, Founder, BridgeLabz.

Although a total of Rs 1,04,278 crore has been allotted to the education sector, a rise of Rs 11,054 crore from last year, experts say the allotment to the school education sector is the lowest in the last two years. “School education which builds the foundation of education has been granted Rs 54,873.66 crore as against Rs 59,845 crore allocated in the last Union Budget. It is the lowest in two years. This will affect the effective promotion and development of school education in the country,” says Naman Jain, education expert, and director, Silverline Prestige School, Ghaziabad.

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Some educationists also expressed their disappointment over Union Budget 2022. Abishek Kumar Yadav, Academic Director and Chairman of Griffins International School said, “We Would have hoped that government would have additional tax benefits towards the tuition fee paid for the child’s education beyond the current limit. There is no significant announcement for the education sector.” While Akshay Munjal, Founder & CEO, Hero Vired says the edtech sector hoped for the rationalization of 18 per cent GST in online education services and some tax rebate online learning programmes.

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first published:February 02, 2022, 14:29 IST