The Finance ministry proposed to allocate an estimated budget of Rs 93,224 crore for the education sector for fiscal 2021-20 on Monday.
While presenting the Union Budget for 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to set up a National Research Foundation (NRF) with an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore over the next five years to boost the research output of the country.
She also proposed to open 100 new Sainik schools based on a public-private partnership model and 750 Eklavya model residential schools in tribal areas and a central university in Ladakh.
Schools and universities witnessed an unprecedented shift to online education due to the pandemic. Having played a critical role in helping schools and students continue the teaching-learning process in this period despite all challenges, the edtech industry was hoping that fund allocation for education in this budget would see marked focus on Digital infrastructure, online learning push and Teachers training etc.
Therefore it was a little disappointing to see that the budget, which had many positives for education sector like setting up of new Sainik schools under PPP, qualitative transformation of 15,000 schools in line with NEP and most importantly setting aside of 5000 crores for R&D, fell a bit short on capitalising on the opportunity to build momentum for digitisation in Indian education that could have had far reaching benefits for our young population.
(The author is Head of digital services, S.Chand and Co.(Mylestone and Learnflix). Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of Outlook Magazine.)
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