Budget 2022 Expectations: 'Education sector seeks faculty upgradation programmes; subsidised access to laptops and 5G internet'
If the government is able to make subsidized access to laptops for students and teachers, the reach and quality of education will receive a great boost.
The Union Budget 2022 is being presented amidst COVID-induced learning losses, fragile economic recovery, and growing interest in the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP-20).
Sharing expectations and suggestions for Budget 2022 on the education sector, Navneet Sharma, VB Padode Chair Professor of Business Responsibility and Registrar, Vijaybhoomi University believes these two critical touchstones for fund allocation by the Union Government are - (a) To invest in areas where private sector funds are not forthcoming; and (b) observe competitive neutrality in granting access to funds to public and private universities.
He feels the following four measures will boost the human capital formation in the country:
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1. Augment internet infrastructure and grant subsidized access to 5G internet to all universities without any discrimination
Access to all forms of knowledge is now dependent on high-quality internet. New universities are now being established in remote corners of the country. By providing free or subsidized internet access, the government can not only augment access to e-resources but also make learning in a hybrid mode a reality.
2. Subsidized access to laptops to all students and faculty
At school and university levels, students and faculty members need laptops as minimum equipment needed to access either live or recorded instructions. It is no secret that across all states, combined (rural and urban) population below the poverty line varies between 5 and 46 percent. If the government is able to make subsidized access to laptops for students and teachers, the reach and quality of education will receive a great boost.
3. Access to research grants to all universities based on their level of implementation of NEP-20
The NEP-20 seeks to dismantle manmade barriers in higher education. Indian universities are now keen to not only adopt a liberal framework in the curriculum but also foster strong research culture on campus. A policy to allow graded access to research funds based on a university's level of NEP compliance will achieve twin objectives of fostering research and high-quality education.
4. Faculty upgradation programs
The Union Government had announced Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission of Teaching and Teachers in 2014. Its extended timeline has ended in 2020. The mission is yet to deliver on its true potential. In Budget 2022, the Union Government should extend the duration of the mission for the next 10 years and extend its reach to all schools and universities without any qualifying criteria.
Learning is a core promise of our Constitution to citizens. Budget 2022 is an important occasion when the Union Government can transform the education sector and let the whole country celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav!