It is an established fact that the Indian education system needs to be overhauled and transformed to remain relevant and contemporary. As India participates in the fourth industrial revolution, developing talent is recognized as one of the key factors for achieving the aspired economic growth in a disruptive world. It is important that the education system caters to the contemporary needs of students as the future workforce of the country. Innovation, creativity and lifelong learning are some of the key aspects that the transformed education system needs to focus on.
The draft National Education Policy (NEP 2019) announced by the Government of India is the step in this direction. The draft policy envisages a complete transformation of the education system during the student lifecycle from pre-school to higher education.
The proposed transformation as stated in NEP 2019 will require changes in pedagogy and consequently, teachers will need capacity development. Teaching and learning approaches are expected to be more interactive through discovery, discussion and analysis based learning which means that classrooms and other school facilities will have to be modernized with contemporary teaching aids, installation of smart classroom equipment, etc.
Budget 2020 will need to take cognizance of the expected upgradation in infrastructure, facilities of the public schools across the country where large-scale investments will be required to align classroom and institution’s facilities with the proposed introduction of modern pedagogy and teaching methods.
Another area that requires significant allocation from the Budget will be towards training of teachers in using New Age teaching aids and tools including smart classrooms in line with adopting conceptual learning methods. The introduction of foundational learning as part of Early Childhood Care and Education through setting up pre-schools across the country will require substantial resources in setting up/adding facilities along with capacity building for the teachers and anganwadi workers expected to take up this role in rural areas.
NEP 2019 states the intention to move the higher education system to large multidisciplinary universities, colleges, and higher education institution (HEI) clusters, with institutes proposed to be categorised as “research oriented” or “teaching oriented” to highlight their focus and the faculty and student population set they will want to cater to. It is expected that significant investments will be required in building and upgrading infrastructure and facilities of public higher education institutes across the country.
It is imperative that the higher education system is thoroughly revamped so that students receive quality and contemporary education and are ready to join the workforce of the future. This will facilitate in India leveraging and benefiting from its demographic dividend in terms of its youth population.
Given that a Higher Education Financing Agency has been established as the nodal body for financing modernisation of higher education institution through loans, budgetary allocation may be required to augment its funds to cater to the increased financing needs from public higher education institutes across the country. Additionally, funding mechanisms and funds may need to be made available as grants for public institutions who may not be able to qualify for loan financing.
Transforming the education system is expected to improve the quality of learning outcomes for the youth and make them ready for the workplace of the future. Requisite investments in the education system is the need of the hour for India’s continued recognition as the talent pool for the world. Budget 2020 needs to take cognisance of this need and facilitate availability of resources for effective implementation of transformative changes across the education system. To meet this envisaged expenditure, the annual budgetary allocation for education sector will need to be increased from the current levels of around 3 percent of GDP.
(The writer is Partner, Deloitte India)
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Updated Date: Jan 24, 2020 16:32:11 IST