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Prebudget Expectations 2021 : Ms. Shweta Sastri, Managing Director, Canadian International School, Bangalore

 Education plays an important role in bringing change in society across generations and more so in this technological age. With education shaping the future workforce, a good percentage of the budget should focus on schools being able to manage costs of online education. Education cess should also be utilised transparently to improve government schools across the country. This is probably the most awaited Union Budget for the education sector in the past decade with education of millions of children in India impacted by the world’s largest school closure in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government must ensure additional finances to support the safe reopening of schools.   

The academic system needs transformation through adoption of innovative and contemporary teaching and learning methodologies. Our education system needs to be globally competitive and this will be possible only when emerging technology trends are incorporated into the education pattern of the country.  The government must allocate bigger spending on education and push greater digitization in the education sector. 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. Deeper spread of internet bandwidth, and making hardware devices more affordable for accessing good education content by children in rural areas would need to be key themes for Budget 2021. 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. Study In India program needs more investment for infrastructure and private sector penetration to uplift current institutes so that India starts pushing more institutes in the world ranking in the coming years. A holistic approach to education is therefore a must as there needs to be thrust not only on literacy, but also on higher quality of education beginning from basic school levels.

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