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Pune: Education sector expects more funds in budget to beat pandemic challenges

www.indianexpress.com | February 1, 2022
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Most educationists said that the budgetary provisions need to focus on the implementation of the New Education Policy.

Forced to shift to an online mode for learning, the last two years have seen many changes and posed several challenges for both the educational institutions and the students. In the Union Budget to be presented on Tuesday, the sector now hopes to see an increase in the budgetary allocation to the overall education sector to help it cope with the new challenges and demands before the sector.

Dishan Kamdar, Vice-Chancellor, FLAME University said that he hopes for fund allocation for the advancement in technology infrastructure to help enable institutes to invest in the latest technology tools, software, and high-speed connectivity.

“We need to deliver a seamless high-quality learning experience to the students. The government could also develop an education loan scheme for ease in accessibility, disbursement and repayment terms that will support students from the lesser privileged strata and the deeper pockets of the country to benefit from,” he said.

Most educationists said that the budgetary provisions need to focus on the implementation of the New Education Policy.

“The New education policy was rolled out in 2020 and we will see no implementation of this NEP unless provisions are made in the Union Budget. Therefore, we hope that the allocation to education is increased so that all aspects of NEP can be implemented as the implementation has to be done by the state governments as well,” said Vidya Yeravdekar, pro-Chancellor, Symbiosis International (deemed to be) University.

Stating that there should be an increase in the budgetary allocation for education and the provisions of the NEP need to be accelerated, Dr Ravi Chitinis, Vice-Chancellor, MIT World Peace University, Kothrud said, “The Higher Education Council Of India as suggested in the NEP needs to be established with large budget allocation. The NEP specifies the creation of a national research foundation with a large budget for which provisions should be made. Healthcare education should get a boost by looking at the impact of the pandemic and need. Private investment in education needs to be encouraged as well as digital education needs a fillip.”

Wasudeo Gade, Vice-President of Vishwakarma University and former Vice-Chancellor of Savitribai Phule Pune University pointed to the serious problem of non-availability of competent teachers in the universities as well as colleges.

“There should be a provision in the budget for rigours and continuous training of faculty at the centre and state level. We always talk about industry-academia collaboration but not much has happened. The Budget should provide tax reliefs to the industry for their investments in academic activities and they should be made partners in content development and delivery as well as research. Depending on the investment, joint degrees with certain industries can also be given.”

“During this pandemic, one thing has been noticed that students from the marginalised communities and rural areas were at a tremendous disadvantage. They have no suitable device (laptop or smartphone etc) and no bandwidth to attend online classes. The Budget should make provisions for the same. Also, there should be a research fund specifically reserved for universities and colleges, which will strengthen the research culture in HEI without which teaching quality cannot be maintained,” Gade said.

(Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pune-education-sector-expects-more-funds-in-budget-to-beat-pandemic-challenges-7750548/)