Pre budget expectations from Shweta Sastri
Education is, understandably, one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future. Our education system needs to be self-reliant and globally competitive. This will only be possible when the emerging technology trends are imbibed into the education pattern of the country. The government must take initiatives such as allocating bigger spending on education and push digitalisation in the education sector in the upcoming budget. Technology has become a crucial aspect of enabling learning and empowering teachers with the usage of multiple tools to improve teaching methodology. With the use of technology, learning and teaching not only become more interactive and exciting, but also become personalized to suit the needs of every individual student.
There is need to improve facilities in institutions through the setting up of smart classrooms, modern laboratories, research facilities and libraries which would enhance the quality of learning. The current budgetary allocation for education in our country is less than 3% of the GDP, which is low, compared to developed countries where it usually ranges between 5% and 7% of the GDP. This increased allocation of fund will also ensure better quality government schools too that educate majority of children in India. Infrastructure should also be revamped to improve the quality of education services.
The initiative by the government like, the ‘study in India’ framework is the ‘need of the hour’ and need greater emphasis. This will help establish world-class higher education patterns and attract more foreign students to the country to be part of our education system. There is also greater need to push the various educational programs and teacher training across the country and equipping them with exceptional professional skills.
Given the widespread poverty levels in India, education needs to play a critical role in bringing about a change across generations with primary public education standing out as the most important area of focus. While the government proposed a range of major changes for India’s education system in the last budget and laid emphasis on the importance of not only providing literacy but improving the quality of education, we expect government to continue its thrust and treat education sector holistically. Going forward, we expect a boost in the growth of distance education in India and balancing of the urban-rural gap in education. In conclusion, with India set to be the next global educational hub, we expect increased focus from the government so that we can lay a stronger foundation for new-age learning strategies. We need to urgently transform our education system to meet the aspirational needs of the new generation, which will ensure that India’s demographic dividend continues to remain its asset.
Ms. Shweta Sastri, Managing Director, Canadian International School, Bangalore