Budget 2022: What to expect from Budget 2022 for Education sector?

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The Union Budget of 2022 is around the corner and the government is ready to present what it has for different sectors and classes of the country this year. The education sector also is eagerly waiting for the Finance Minister to open the pages on the Budget 2022 on February 1st. The education sector is one such sector that has witnessed a no less than revolutionary change during the COVID pandemic. With the shutdown of schools and colleges, we were forced to adopt the new means of connecting, teaching, and learning. This lets us expect a fair bit of change in the structure of budget allocation in the path of modernizing the education sector. 

We are already into this transformation era, thanks to the National Education Policy that outlined the necessary and most impending reforms required in the education sector. The budget 2022 education is also important as the education sector has seen the emergence and growth of a number of private players in the ed-tech industry. This industry is also hoping for something from the Finance Minister this year. Let us then have a look at the expectations that we can have from the budget 2022 for education.

Expectations for Education Section From Union Budget 2022-23

Higher Expenditure in the Education Sector

The budget allocation for the education sector in the past 5-6 years has almost remained stagnant and also not enough to offer the needed boost to the sector. Although the budget allocation for the sector has been increasing gradually, it is not sufficient to meet the global standards set by a number of countries. The Niti Aayog has also recommended to increase the education budget to 6% of the GDP, which is nearly double of the present education budget. We should not expect a jump to 6% by this year only but a hint of the same is very likely in this budget.

Implementation of NEP

We are likely to see definite measures and fund allocation for the implementation of NEP throughout the education sector of the company. The Budget 2022 can reserve funds for state and central universities for planning and implementation of modern and efficient educational policies. Besides funds allocation, we can expect a timeline for the completion of the NEP project. Some states like Karnataka, MP, Haryana have already embarked on their plans and many other states are also joining the line. The education budget 2022 is going to provide further impetus to reform the education policy with the implementation of NEP.

Increased spending on Research and Development (R&D)

The government has already invested huge sums to promote skill development among the students. We are also witnessing how the entrepreneurial environment is being promoted along with education among students. Investment in education promotes real skill development which will allow students to land with better job in the future. This can be done by setting up research facilities in schools and colleges, allocating funds for vocational training, etc. Therefore, R&D is going to be a big expectation from the government this year.

Enhancing Digital Infrastructure

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that brick and mortar structures are not necessary to learn. The online education industry has witnessed a spike in growth in the past couple of years. Online learning has the potential to make education accessible easily to the remotest areas of the countries. This can be done by make internet accessible and cheaper throughout the country. The government should invest in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities to develop the digital infrastructure so that the population can reap the benefits of online learning.

Education Welfare Schemes

The government migh also increase allocation of fund to existing welfare schemes that have promoted children to enroll into schools and continue their education further. Free mid-day meals, construction of toilets and sanitization facilities, etc., have worked well in the past years and thereby are likely to continue along. The education sector is also expecting more such schemes from the government that can help improve the quality of rural education.

Supporting the Ed-tech Sector

The ed-tech sector is booming in India. Apart from providing online learning facilities to the students, these startups have also created a lot of job opportunities. Hence, it is expected that the government will offer subsidies or tax incentives to the investments made in the ed-tech sector. The budget 2022 for education might also include relaxation on regulatory framework and ease of raising funds, particularly from outside the country. 

Promoting E-learning

Not only academic education but the online learning facility has made it easier to offer training, conduct job interviews, organize seminars, take exams, etc. It can be seen that the entire education system can be run online. To make it more efficient, the government might setup platforms such as e-library, digital schooling services, and many more things. 

Overall, the education budget for 2022 is going to receive much more attention as compared to the previous years. It will be interesting to see that how the government responds to the faster growing and changing education sector.