What EdTech Founders, Ed Leaders & Investors Say About Union Budget for Education

Union Budget on education

Varun Chopra, Co-founder & CEO, Eduvanz:

"The unprecedented times during the past year led to online gateways becoming a channel to take brands, institutions, universities, products, and businesses to a wider audience faster than ever before. However, lack of resources left numerous children at a loss. The introduction of digital universities and high-quality e-learning content platforms in multiple languages now is a good initiative by the government to make quality education accessible to all. Further, the introduction of Desh E-Portal is yet another great initiative to provide more skilling and upskilling opportunities to our youth, in turn helping them with better employment opportunities in the future. India is a young country having produced 40 unicorns so far, with a youth who has entrepreneurial aptitude in this digital economy. With startups budding more than ever before, announcing an extension for tax exemption to them for yet another year will help us in encouraging them further, giving them more liquidity to grow."

Rajiv Bansal, Director - Operations, Global Indian International School (GIIS), India:

"FM Nirmala Sitharaman talked about the impact of the pandemic on the education sector and highlighted the need to strengthen the education system by improving e-content quality, emphasising on teaching training, adopting innovative mediums of instruction, etc. to positively impact learning outcomes. The Union Budget 2022 highlighted the importance of adopting a progressive and inclusive approach by educational institutions across primary, secondary, and higher education. Announcements like eVidhya scheme and ‘One Class One TV Channel’ expand the learning horizon of the students and bring inclusivity as the regional languages are promoted equally. Adoption of technology and digitisation will help a student evolve into becoming a truly global citizen and will encourage a lifetime of learning. Focus on reskilling and upskilling at a higher education level and launch of the Digital DESH e-portal will enhance vocational learning and job readiness, making students independent and result-oriented. As a key member of the Indian education system, GIIS congratulates the Govt. for presenting a progressive and inclusive budget for the education sector. We are confident that digitisation and technology will help in building a more effective and rewarding education system in the years to come.”

Mr. Sumesh Nair, Co-founder & CEO of Board Infinity – an EdTech and career exploration platform:

"Digital university is a great move by the government. It increases access to education and increases the gross enrolment ratio. The usual trend of flocking to cities/one specific location for all kinds of education needs to an extend could reverse with this mode. The challenges that need to be solved will be the quality of education that can be imparted. If partnerships can be built with the best practice of established universities, then this model can be implemented well."

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Vivek Jain, Chief Business Officer, Shiksha.com, Naukri FastForward:

"This year's Union Budget increment in the funds compared to the previous year is a good sign. The Digital University is a great initiative, especially, in this pandemic situation as there is a lot of uncertainty around it. 200 channels from 12, covering multiple regional languages under the one class - one channel program will also boost coverage of education in the remote sectors with a minimal cost."

Sumeet Mehta, Co-founder & CEO, LEAD:

"Overall, this has been a progressive budget as it accelerates the government’s efforts towards inclusive and sustainable development. As an educator, I welcome the emphasis on creating digital and free-to-air channels of education. However, at the same time, the budget appears to circumvent physical schooling. I sincerely hope that is not the case. While online learning was inevitable due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it would never be as effective as offline learning, which brings out the best in students in terms of learning outcome and performance. Online education can at best only play a supplementary role in education. I would have also loved to see a greater focus on improving the teaching and learning processes in our schools vis-a-vis infrastructure and tech-enabled curriculum. Going forward, I hope there will be policy changes in that direction."

Sriram Subramanian, Co-founder & CEO of Clever Harvey – a career exploration and acceleration startup:

"We welcome the government’s move to cap the long-term capital gains surcharge at 15%. It will go a long way towards ensuring investor confidence not just in startups but in equity generally. Also, we appreciate the special focus on creative vocational fields like animation, graphics, and game design in this year’s budget. India has one of the largest talent pools for this, and this initiative will be instrumental in helping us move further up the value chain.

Given the battering and levels of disruption faced by the education system over the last three years, the emphasis given to mental health was another major highlight. It was, in my opinion, more important than ever, especially for students, and the budget does go a long way toward putting in place a mechanism to address it. Furthermore, one area where the budget fell short of our expectations is the ongoing disparity in GST rates applied to physical and digital learning materials. I suppose the goal of the lower rate policy on physical learning materials was to promote education, and given that the majority of education consumption has shifted to the digital domain in recent years, we expect some sort of parity in the GST treatment between the two."

Ujjwal Singh, CEO & President, Infinity Learn:

"The Budget 2022-23 has an inclusive approach. We are pleased that the Government has recognized the importance of digital learning provided by the EdTech companies in India. The extension of the PM eVIDYA initiative 12 to 200 TV channels will give the segment the requisite boost. Further, the availability of regional language educational modules from Class 1 to 12 will enhance the literacy rates in India’s hinterlands, over and above the metro cities. This will serve as the driver of socio-economic change, enabled through technology. Education specifically has taken a new direction that has made technology-based learning, whether online or blended, indispensable for our education systems. Digital learning holds the potential to empower the country’s grassroots level population through democratised access to education, thereby facilitating continued learning sans infrastructural challenges, pan-India."

Vaibhav Singh, Co-founder, Leap Scholar:

"The 2022 budget is promising for the education sector in promoting digital learning. Initiatives announced like the PM e-Vidya programme and setting up of a digital university will strengthen the broader vision - accessibility of education for all. The proposal to roll out e-passports is a welcoming gesture as it will enable a seamless experience for the travelling population, especially the large section of students flying abroad for their studies. Extended tax benefits for startups announced in the budget will further boost the ecosystem and drive the economy’s growth."

Vivek Prakash, Co-founder & CEO, Codingal:

"Education has been among the worst-hit sectors by the pandemic and we support the government's vision of promoting an inclusive education ecosystem through initiatives under eVidya. Emphasis on digitalisation in the learning system with quality e-content across all Indian languages will truly democratise learning and reach the nooks and corners of the country. We hope India’s EdTech players will be able to contribute meaningfully in helping India reach its digital education vision."

Amol Arora, Managing Director, SHEMROCK & SHEMFORD Group of Schools:

"I believe the budget is very futuristic for the education sector in 3 different ways. Firstly, the early childhood sector has been acknowledged for the first time in the NEP which has created a unified vision for the private preschool sector, and now the move to upgrade 2 lakh Anganwadis with better teaching aids will surely boost the quality in the public early childhood sector as well and bridge the yawning gap between the private and government early childhood institutes.

Secondly, the focus on technology with the rollout of 5G, acknowledgement of blockchain technologies, creation of localized content, expansion of One Class, One TV channel will go a long way in creating content to bridge the learning gap that has emerged due to school closures in the past 2 years. This is will increase the range of content and access to every child so that every child can learn in a language they understand and on a device they can access.

Thirdly, we are moving away from the traditional system of 25 years of learning and 35 years of work lifelong learning and constant upgradations. Children may enter the workplace earlier when they feel equipped to solve real-life problems instead of going for a traditional degree. Therefore the Digital University to be established will also become a pilot for the emergence of hybrid "anytime anywhere” personalized learning systems which is the need of the hour.

Prof. Pramod Kumar Jain, Director, IIT BHU (Varanasi):

"We welcome the move taken for the education sector in the budget 2022. As the pandemic had a large impact on the education sector, technology adoption showcases a positive move towards its development. Aiming to boost quality education in India, the government has announced developing a Digital University and catering towards e-content and e-Vidya initiatives. The government is also inclined to focus on supplementary education available in regional languages and telecasted in radio, TV, and digital platforms, hence targeting wider outreach of quality education in rural and village areas. Lastly, this big announcement is in sync with the National Education Policy giving the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, and planning both for school and higher education."

Dr. Ajeenkya DY Patil, President, Ajeenkya DY Patil University and Chairman of the DY Patil Group:

"I am glad to see the measures announced today in the Union Budget by our finance minister to improve the digital infrastructure and investment in e-learning as well as skill-based educational content that is delivered digitally. E-Vidya initiative demonstrates the critical need for supplementary education and the measures around 5G and digitisation should facilitate highly flexible learning opportunities to all students across the country."

Ankit Aggarwal, Dare2Compete:

"The budget was a balanced budget with a focus on growth. Nothing much for startups and common man in terms of tax rates. A significant increase in Capex will lead to a good economic revival with a multiplier effect on several sectors coupled with an increase in employment opportunities."

Ashish Jhalani, MD, Square Panda India:

"The reformist intent of this budget is clear. We welcome the focus of The Union Budget 2022 on digital learning, especially after the prolonged learning losses of the past 2 years have impacted students’ academic performance. This was much needed to strengthen the digital learning ecosystem on a mission mode. The setting up of digital universities, availability of high-quality regional e-content, and ‘One class, one TV channel' program of PM eVIDYA will also help facilitate improved learning outcomes. As the country with the highest number of school-goers in the world, we welcome the announcement of the creation of 2 lakh Saksham Anganwadi’s, which will surely provide an impetus for early childhood development. The emphasis on improved infrastructure, training, and use of audiovisual aids for teaching will help upskilling and capacity building programmes for teachers, as they are a central pillar of the education ecosystem."

Ramya Venkataraman, Founder & CEO of Centre for Teacher Accreditation (CENTA):

"This year's Union Budget has proposed some big thrusts on education since it was one of the most impacted sectors in the Covid-19 pandemic, with schools remaining shut for over two years. The digital university announced in the budget can help students access great teachers from anywhere. This should be done in a public-private partnership mode for rapid implementation and supported by certified teachers from local communities, to provide direct inputs where needed. Such a hybrid 'hub and spoke' network can help impart world-class education to the most needy segments. The PM eVIDYA scheme's 'one class, one TV programme' initiative is an interesting effort to deliver educational programming via radio and DTH channels to people without internet access. The quality of explanations and associated support for doubts will play a big role in making this successful. We are working on the implementation of this with a State Government and exploring mechanisms like missed calls, answering questions through SMS, etc. to make such programmes interactive and therefore impactful."

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