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Union Budget 2019-01-31

What Education Industry Experts Expect from Interim Budget 2019?

The announcement of Interim Budget 2019 is only a day away, here is what education industry experts expect out of it. Read on...

By Senior Sub-editor
What Education Industry Experts Expect from Interim Budget 2019?

According to news reports, the Union finance ministry has issued a clarification that the Budget will be called Interim Budget amid media reports and speculation that the government could present a full budget.

Now that we are just a day away from the announcement of Interim Budget 2019, here is what the education industry experts are expecting from it: 

Ravi Sreedharan, Founder and Director, Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), writes, “India's inability to double current levels of spending on public education must be highlighted more as a question of intent rather than resources.  

There is enough understanding of the number of monies that need to be allocated to public education and public health to have a chance of ensuring basic opportunities, basic safety and basic dignity of every citizen of this country. While it might sound ambitious, there is a need to double the current levels of spending in these two areas as a percentage of GDP. Spend on education as a percentage of GDP is still less than 3% versus the aspirational goal of 6%. Lots of developing and developed countries in the world have already been earmarking and spending close to this ballpark (as a percentage of GDP) on education. India's inability to do so must be highlighted more as a question of intent rather than resources.

Given the widespread inequality and poverty in India, education needs to play a critical role in bringing about intergenerational social and economic mobility with primary public education standing out as the most important area of focus. Without a good quality government schooling system, it’s impossible to envision us moving towards a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society. Without that the potential demographic dividend we could benefit from (with India soon to become amongst the youngest nations in the world) is nothing but a pipe dream.”

Dr. JamshedBharucha, Vice Chancellor, SRM University AP, Amaravati states, "Quality education needs to be made available to all. If we have to keep up with western nations and with regional neighbors in fields of science and technology, the two pillars of growth in the 21st century, our educational institutions need to step up funding on research for a wide range of applications from health sciences, bio-medical, genomics, data science, machine learning, agriculture and food production, space and astrophysics.

University-led research can be an important bridge between ideas and practical applicability in the industry. We need to put in a greater focus on this and commit resources to centers of excellence that will tackle the areas where research is most needed and of national significance. This needs to be done with a sense of urgency on a national scale. Because University research needs and national priorities (such as Defense Tech, Health & Sanitation, Nutrition & Food) are so closely aligned, the budget should also focus on University Research funding. Of equal importance is the need to invest in the soft skills development within the education sector so that qualified, talented and gifted young Indians are not handicapped in any way by communication abilities that can impede their success on a national and international stage.  I hope the interim budget will address at least some of these requirements.”

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