Union Budget on education

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has just presented the Union Budget 2022 and made several announcements in her budget speech for the growth and development of the country.

Of the many path-breaking announcements and initiatives, the Finance Minister said that a digital university will be established to provide access to students across the country for world-class quality universal education with a personalized learning experience at their doorsteps. She said that the content will be made available in different Indian languages and the best institutions in the country will collaborate as a network of hub and spoke.

Reacting to the announcements made by the Finance Minister, many welcome the move, and here is what some of the EdTech founders, education leaders, and investors say about the Union Budget on education.

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Gerald Jaideep, CEO, Medvarsity, India’s emerging healthcare EdTech brand offering online/blended learning fellowship and certificate courses to healthcare professionals:

"In her Budget 2022 address, Hon’ble Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman made several announcements which collectively will boost the health EdTech sector. The rollout of 5G was much anticipated, and the tech industry is elated to learn that 5G spectrum auctions will happen this year. This will definitely open up tremendous opportunities for the online education sector to leverage high-speed data connectivity and innovate better learning and education products especially in subjects like medical education where visual demonstrations play a big part in imparting knowledge and virtual experience. With the budget, the Government has reaffirmed its position on three important verticals: the ramping up of digital infrastructure across the urban and rural landscape, the launch of an open platform for the national digital health ecosystem, and the increased focus on online education, learning, and skilling through initiatives such as the launch of PM eVidya, Digital University, Digital Ecosystem for Skilling and Livelihood – the DESH-Stack eportal. All these initiatives will further knowledge transfer, education, learning, and skilling across geographies through digital means. As a leading health EdTech company, we look forward to the integration of these factors with that of health education and medical training, which will help the sector scale and further advance level health education to healthcare workforce across India."

Dr. Sridhar G., Founder, Deeksha:

"Increased focus on delivering education in regional languages will help improve learning outcomes by overcoming the language barrier. The pandemic has brought out the need of using technology to curate content to individually fit students' learning needs and the government's focus on delivering personalized learning at the doorstep is a step towards that. Increased focus on technical skills in ITIs will help promote the employability of students and further put India on the world map as the hub of engineering excellence. In addition to this, the opening of a digital university will not only improve access towards higher education learning in India, but it will also improve access of international students to Indian education."

Chitra Ravi - Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Chrysalis - India’s leading educational research and innovation organization:

"The pandemic has completely altered the way of learning and has increased the pace of digital adoption in the education sector. With improved digital infrastructure and the new initiatives introduced by the government such as the 'One class, one TV ‘, strengthening online education, quality education can now be possible. As Educators, we should realize Technology has opened up lots of possibilities to improve the quality of education. Tech can be used for the professional development of teachers and also get assessment insights from children. We can safely say that Technology has the potential to solve some of the traditional challenges and pandemic related challenges as well."

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Amit Ratanpal, Founder & MD, BLinC Invest – India-based Venture Capital firm committed to funding EdTech and FinTech startups focused on building a better tomorrow by harnessing the power of technology:

"With Budget 2022, the government has clearly taken a stride in the right direction to support inclusion of technology in the education and financial services sectors. With initiatives like digital DESH e-portal, digital university, digital currency, and credit extension to MSMEs coupled with ease of doing business, increasing the penetration of EdTech and FinTech products to the masses will be the key area of focus for the coming years. However, a closer alignment with the budget allocation as per the New Education Policy would have added significantly to the current momentum in the EdTech sector."

Karanvir Singh, Founder & CEO Pariksha – Vernacular EdTech Platform:

"Digital education became the familiar way of new-age learning following the lockdown. The new trend has been well accepted by the government as the way forward for upskilling, widening access to education, and strengthening the higher education system in the country. Additionally, the budget too circumscribed the fact that in a diverse nation like India, education can only be delivered by understanding the vernacular requirements of every region. The expansion of ‘One Class One TV Channel’ to provide supplementary education in regional languages for classes 1-12 will boost the early and secondary education in the country. And the proposed launch of the digital university will simultaneously cater to the requirements of higher education. Thus, the budget has served, end-to-end, to raise the education system in the country in a holistic manner."

Piyush Bhartiya, Co-founder of AdmitKard – EdTech for higher education abroad:

"The budget has been very much in line with the latest trends and changing paradigm in the education system. We are glad that the government is promoting digital education in India. The budget mentioned the launch of a nationwide digital university, which might be the answer to the long-prevailing gaps in the higher education system. What initially started as a result of the global lockdown, has now been acknowledged as the probable solution to the difficulty of accessing higher education in the country where 65% of the population resides in the rural region. Simultaneously, stressing on Higher education will reflect in the next generation's culture and quality of skill-set in the employment market." 

Ankit Maggu, Co-Founder, Geekster – an EdTech platform that focuses on providing quality technical education:

"The biggest challenge that our youth face is the lack of in-demand skills, the reason for this is that our higher education has not been able to adapt as per the changing Industry requirements. The new-age entrepreneurs are trying to address this gap through different models making skill-based education accessible to the masses but a lot more needs to be done. The launch of the digital university is a great step, as it will increase the penetration of quality education even in the remotest areas at affordable price points. Additionally, Digital DESH e-portal will help further refine the skills of the youth making them more employable and will reduce the skill gap, benefiting both - job seekers, and employers.”

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Himanshu Tyagi, Founder & CEO of Digikull – an EdTech providing Full Stack Development Course, with pay after placement only service:

"The long-prevailing skill gap in the market was a challenge for both- the recruiters, and youth of the nation too. With the launch of Digital DESH e-portal we can expect to fill in this gap to a certain extent. The interesting part is that following the lockdown, the adoption of digital media had increased. The budget has leveraged this shift in behaviour to add to the ultimate aim of digital India. If the execution is right, we can gradually expect digital learning to become the primary education system 5 years down the line."

Pratham Barot, Co-Founder & CEO, Zell Education – a specialised EdTech that offers courses in finance and accounts:

"With the rise in online education and the constant need to upskill, the government’s decision to provide international education for courses in financial management and fin-tech is truly a game-changer. India today faces a major talent gap when it comes to qualified finance professionals. With the constant increase in demand for such professionals, this announcement will allow Indian students to study international courses in a more centralised and efficient manner. This is a win-win for both companies and students as pursuing these courses will also allow students to have higher earning potential post-graduation to kickstart their career with the right education to make them job-ready.”

Divya Tej Periera, Founder, Tutrrd – an online platform that connects students with teachers after school:

"It is very promising to see that education has found a prominent place in this year’s budget. The government's decision to introduce a digital university with an aim to provide quality e-content is definitely a forward-looking proposition aligned with improving learning and teaching methods during the second year of the pandemic. Also, the union budget's introduction to provide digital training for teachers while focusing on personalisation by using the hub and spoke method will definitely be a game-changer in the learning methods for students. This is a significant move for the edtech industry as it pushes it towards Edtech 3.0. With digital education being the core of the conversation this year, EdTechs that provide personalised learning to students to be better equipped will only help boost this vision that has been laid down in this budget. Additionally, the PM’s eVidya program which is set to provide supplementary education in regional languages will sure be instrumental in contributing towards the major government priority of inclusive development of the country’s education sector."

Prateek Bhargava, Founder & CEO of Mindler:

"One of the biggest highlights of the Union Budget 2022 is the announcement of establishing a Digital University which shall democratize access to world-class quality education for students in different languages. With hybrid learning models expected to be the future this is a great initiative by the government. Another major highlight was World-class foreign universities and institutions to be allowed in GIFT IFSC to offer courses on FinTech, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Allowing world class Universities to offer courses free from domestic regulations will be great for students as this would make such education more accessible and affordable.

The budget also recognized the need to impart supplementary teaching and build a recipient mechanism for education delivery.  To compensate for the pandemic-induced impact on education, a very promising move has come in to ensure the reach of needed coaching and guidance to the rural population via PM’s eVIDYA program in their regional languages. This will ultimately boost the content creation, adaptable mechanism for the students and will empower and equip teachers with digital tools of teaching to facilitate better learning outcomes, which is the need of the hour. The Union Budget 2022 also talks about the need to empower and equip teachers with digital tools of teaching to facilitate better learning outcomes, which is the need of the hour. Focus on promoting critical thinking skills and stimulated learning environment through virtual labs and skilling e-labs is also an excellent move."

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Vinay Sharma, CEO & Director – Convergia (S Chand Publishers):

"Budget really builds on the digital transition in education and takes measures to strengthen and broad base it. One key initiative is the creation of high-quality content which can be delivered through multiple means like mobile, cloud, TV, etc. along with professional development of teachers to equip them in using digital tools and pedagogies. This will help towards improving the quality of learning outcomes. Another significant initiative is a creation of a digital university which will deliver quality education to students across the country using remote delivery. This can help in bridging the skilling and knowledge gap because of limited physical infrastructures like universities and colleges."

Manoj Chawla, CBO, Tribyte Technologies – Bengaluru-based Future Ready Interactive Learning Platform:

"Digital ecosystem for skilling & livelihood (DESL) portal is an acknowledgment that online education can support the traditional learning pedagogies. Allocation towards Education has been increased to 1.42 Lakh crore. This is a significant change from previous years. The fine print may reveal investment in resource development, something which was much needed."

Dr. Atul Nischal, Founder - Director, International Council for School Leadership (ICSL):

"I am delighted that teacher training has become an investment priority in addition to building the educational e-infrastructure by developing quality content and creating channels for mass access. I wholeheartedly welcome the government’s commitment to digital learning as a solution to mend the pandemic-induced losses as well as achieve the goals of the NEP 2020. There are close to 1 crore school teachers in India who need to be supported with a minimum of 50 hours of quality professional development every year. Without the support of e-Learning it is impossible to achieve this scale. As a next step, the government should create provisions for not-for-profits, such as International Council for School Leadership, to play an active role in empowering and enabling teachers in India."

Himanshu Gautam, Co-founder and CEO, Safalta Education Pvt Ltd – a platform focused on quality education, accessibility, and economic viability:

"The 2022 budget’s approach on aligning education with employability resonates with our vision. The National skill qualification framework will be of great help for the right kind of talent creation for actual industry needs, on which Safalta contributes through its skill courses. We also aim to contribute to the government’s vision of providing supplementary education in regional languages for students of class 9-12th. Safalta provides an affordable, high-quality education through vernacular pedagogy for students of semi-urban and rural India. Our commitment to creating an outcome-based learning Platform leading to employment will be magnified by the government’s push on creating a digital ecosystem through the setting up of a digital university and DESH portal. We welcome the FM’s announcement to extend the period of co-operation up to 31st March’23 for tax incentive of Startups."

Nirmal Shah, Co-founder of Countingwell – dedicated maths learning app:

"We are glad to see the government's focus on building digital tools and quality content for students. Given that education was one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic, the development of a digital university and the expansion of eVidya scheme, along with One Class One TV Channel, will greatly benefit the students to access high-quality education. From the EdTech industry perspective, it brings us into the mainstream, going beyond "had to have it because of Covid". The impact and benefit of EdTech to the education systems will gain greater visibility with schools and parents, and we expect that to give us great impetus."

Narayan Mahadevan, Founder, BridgeLabz:

"The budgetary allocation this year emphasises on the needs of skilling, reskilling and upskilling citizens. Considering the situation of the last couple of years which greatly impacted the job pool and led to declining job opportunities leaving the employable workforce jobless, this years' union budget focused on creating 60 lakhs jobs. Hence, by prioritizing skilling and reorienting skilling programs the government will give an immense boost to the youth of the country to get back to work. I wish the government had definitive plans to accomplish the same and even encourage such platforms that work towards skilling from the perspective of employability and create business models on successful employment."

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Nikhil Barshikar, Founder and MD of Imarticus Learning:

"Path-breaking initiatives such as digital DESH e-portal, digital university and e-content portal for teachers serve to provide comfort on the acceptance of EdTech by the government and the regulatory bodies. We are pleased with the way Budget 2022 has focused on leveraging technology to drive deeper penetration into the market and breaking barriers to provide access to top-quality education to the masses. We expect EdTech businesses catering to customers in the Tier-II and lower cities to gain significant momentum in the coming years. Education is one of the key pillars of growth and youth upskilling is a major contributing factor. With technology playing a key role in the growth of various sectors, the availability of a skilled workforce will be critical. This provides significant tailwinds to opportunities in the technology upskilling space. Additionally, the focus on agricultural upskilling has given rise to a new opportunity for all the non-technology skilling players in the market."

Sidharth Agarwal, Director, Spectrum Talent Management:

"As per today's budget announcement by the FM, there will be creation of 60 Lac new jobs. Using a capital investment approach to do so and not making much alterations would work considering how well the corporate sector is doing. Taking into account the last 2 years of the pandemic which has been difficult for all, there wasn’t much for the salaried class/middle class. However, if I must say so, the goal is to improve things through infrastructure investment and by not putting money directly in the hands of the consumers. Introducing Desh Stack e-portal should be a help in creating and stimulating the environment for skill development. In the last year's budget NAPS was the fourth pillar and now, announcing Desh Stack is a step in the right direction."

Varun Dhamija, Founder, Sukiru:

"There are some significant measures announced for K-12 as there is a learning loss for students throughout the country. Implementation will be the key to watch out as there is going to be a lag effect by the time the measures come into effect. Budget is largely silent on the higher education, up-skilling sectors. Expected some support from the government for the disrupted white collared workforce who are also big contributors to direct income taxes."

Ashwini Purohit, Co-founder & CEO, Winuall:

"It is great to see the government taking substantial strategies to promote digital learning. With the pandemic, we have observed a fundamental digital shift in the way tutors teach & students learn in the past two years. We believe digital tools will become an integral part of the learning experience and evolve our education system in a massive way going forward. The skilling program initiatives will not only help students but will also encourage teachers who face daunting challenges, especially in the rural areas. Education can be digitized in rural areas using technology infrastructure coupled with content and performance improvement recommendations. This will play a massive role in helping teachers and engaging students better. Every tutor will now be able to go beyond their boundaries and scale their business using technology.  This will also enable students in remote areas to have access to top educators across the country in every domain that they could learn from."

 Nishant Sinha, Co-Founder, ByteLearn:

"Excellent initiative by the Government of setting up a digital university, 750 virtual labs, and 200 TV channels to compensate Covid induced Learning Loss. However, the initiatives could have been better if these plans were teacher assisted than being one way in nature."

Arjun Gupta, Founder of Courseplay – a SaaS-based scalable talent experience solution:

"The 2022 Budget saw many missed expectations for SMEs and Startups. As one of the fastest-growing contributors to GDP, the SaaS sector should be promoted more by the central government. Share allocation process for startups to be simplified. Low-cost tech education in Tier 3 and smaller towns is a huge must, as the supply of skilled tech workers is at an all-time low compared to demand. Getting government contracts for tech startups is still very complicated and should be made easier. Labour Law reforms for tech companies would be appreciated too. The govt needs to stand behind Indian SaaS companies to make India the no. 1 SaaS exporter in the world. Hopefully, we will see some of this in next year's budget."

Siddharth Chaturvedi, Director, AISECT Group:

"The Union Budget 2022-23) is forward-looking with its focus on augmenting key areas of development. As we work on our mission of providing skill-based education, the Government of India’s focus in this area will bolster skilling and pave way for creating better opportunities for a vast pool of untapped talent in Semi-urban and rural India. The policy framework will give an impetus to online education, making it accessible to all. As an organization, we strive to promote education in regional languages to provide equal opportunities in a diverse nation like India. The expansion of one class, one TV channel program will play a pivotal role in realizing the potential of providing education in regional languages. With these futuristic measures, we aim to chart greater heights in the education and skilling space."

Balamurugan S P, Co-founder, Guvi:

"For education and skilling, there has been an increase in the allocated budget. Rs 1,04,278 crores has been allotted for education. It's higher than the last year's allotment. Curious to know about the e-portal DESH STACK, which will be used for skilling, upskilling and reskilling. Seems it will also provide API-based credentials, trusted skills credentials, payment, and discovery layers to find relevant jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. This will benefit the EdTech companies to collaborate in PPP. But I'm not sure how this is different from the NEAT Portal launched by AICTE."

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."

Vamsi Krishna, Co-Founder & CEO of Vedantu:

"The COVID-induced gap in learning needs to be addressed on priority and EdTech platforms should continue to ensure that students receive uninterrupted learning in such challenging times. By providing students easy access to quality learning, this year’s budget lays a clear emphasis to reduce the gap between students in remote areas and education. Initiatives such as the 'One Class One TV Channel' and the E-Vidya scheme is a welcome move that will drive impact at scale and bridge the language divide amongst students from small-town India. We believe that this budget rightly aligns with our vision of democratizing education by providing students access to high-quality learning, improving learning outcomes and thereby contributing to a vibrant knowledge economy."

Nithya Prabu, Founder, Lurnable, UK:

"The buzzword for Indian Education Budget 2022 is ‘Digital’. Right from the promise to establish a digital university in collaboration with the best Indian institutions to empowering teachers through its intention to expand digital content and focusing on offering digital skilling to students through virtual labs, e-labs and DESH STACK e-portal along with the expansion of PM eVIDYA channels, the current Indian education budget gives us hope for better learning prospects in the country.  Access to quality education, training and skilling opportunities across all student sectors can be made possible through digitization, a truly welcome move to democratize educational offerings in India."

Mihir Gupta, Co-founder & CEO, Teachmint:

"Given the level of disruption the education ecosystem has seen over the past couple of years, it is safe to say that the Education Budget 2022 was one of the most eagerly awaited. And it is heartening to see that there is a significant provision for education in the budget and a strong focus on empowering teachers through digitization. From the expansion of PM E-Vidya to 200 channels to the setting up a digital university, the initiatives indicate that the government has put the spotlight on digitization to boost the penetration and access to education across Bharat. 

The need of the hour to make this vision a reality is by integrating a mobile-first, teacher-led education infrastructure, which can take digitization to the masses. Focusing on mobile will boost the reach significantly as India’s smartphone base is estimated to cross 83 crores in 2022, with rural India seeing the fastest growth. 97% of all internet users in India also access the internet via mobile devices, offering a massive opportunity for education to be delivered seamlessly to students and teachers across Bharat. Putting teachers at the center is the key, as the budget rightly identifies, to not just reach more students but to also deliver relevant and high-quality content in regional languages. 

Timely and dependable tech enablement and integration hold the key. Exploring public-private partnership (PPP) models could significantly expedite the growth, penetration and impact of the government’s vision and ensure that no child gets impacted by the loss of formal education here onwards. All in all, at Teachmint we believe that the innovation we are developing and delivering to boost the teaching infrastructure across the country is completely aligned with the government’s vision of education progress, and we look forward to doing our bit in digitizing and strengthening the ecosystem."

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 Prof Sandeep Sancheti, Provost (Vice-Chancellor), Marwadi University:

"Focused on high growth, the 2022 budget is both balanced and bold. Compared to the previous year, it has enhanced the education budget by 12% making a clear policy intent focusing on the growth of education. However on-ground implementation will continue to be a challenge requiring deeper collaboration between industry, academia, and the private sector. The budget impetus on up-skilling individuals to fill the existing skills gap, virtual labs to promote vocal training and simulated learning environment, and facilitating R&D to boost indigenous technologies, especially in the defense sector is a welcome and progressive step. Launching a Digital University and expanding the PM E Vidya initiative to 200 channels will aid in bridging the learning divide and improving learning outcomes. While international universities will be allowed to offer courses, partnerships between Indian HEIs should also be promoted for better execution."

 Aayur Kaul, Market Head, Skillshare India – an online learning community for creativity:

"The focus on online learning in the Union budget 2022-23 will propel growth in India’s EdTech industry. The pandemic changed the atmosphere of learning in India, with most classes being conducted online. The focus on online learning is a step towards democratizing learning in India. Skill-based online learning took the center stage in this year’s budget, highlighting the importance of vocational and creative classes that online learning enables. The announcement to launch a Digital University and dedicated online videos, quality online content will see a higher demand, creating a positive environment for online learning companies to grow in India. Skillshare being an online learning community for creatively-inclined people, we welcome the focus on EdTech in the budget."

Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, India and APAC, Coursera:

"The Union budget 2022 has laid much-needed focus on the education sector. From assuring funds for R&D, innovation, and growth, to emphasizing the need for digitization, the Government has taken a practical and contemporary view to benefit masses across the spectrum of elementary, secondary, and higher education. The pandemic affected learning at numerous levels - from academic exposure to the medium of instruction to evaluation of the core course content and construct in some cases, education institutions, academicians, online platforms, and other key stakeholders have worked together in the past 2 years to innovate and offer solutions on the back of technology to keep the learning going. Enhancing e-content quality, launching a portal for upskilling, instituting digital universities, and easing operations of foreign universities will not only enhance a student/learner’s exposure but will seamlessly integrate offline and online modes of education to enhance learning outcomes. We congratulate the Indian Government for presenting a progressive and promising budget that furthers the cause of digitization, governance and learning, and growth for all. We are confident that the year 2022-23 will be a turning point in the history of Indian education as we move towards building an inclusive, digitally empowered, and technologically advanced education system for all."

Akshay Munjal, Founder & CEO, Hero Vired:

"We welcome the government's thrust towards upskilling the youth and digitization in the Union Budget FY 23 announced today. New initiatives such as digital DESH e-portal for skilling, the expansion of PM's eVIDYA scheme, and a digital university are not only innovative but also an encouraging boost to the education sector; and will provide students with equal opportunities across rural and urban regions. While we were hoping for the rationalization of 18% GST in online education services and some tax rebate online learning programs, we are excited to see the government adopt a collaborative strategy that allows world-class universities to offer courses in financial services and technology free of Indian regulations in the GIFT city. Moreover, it is heartening to see that the Budget also included steps for the empowerment of teachers, enabling them to facilitate better learning outcomes. Finally, we are thrilled about the animation, visual effects, gaming, and comics (AVGC) Taskforce, as it has the potential to create immense employment opportunities for the youth."

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Akshay Chaturvedi, Founder & CEO, Leverage Edu:

"I believe the 2022 budget is focused around smart digital expenditures in not just education, but across sectors! A very forward-looking budget in my opinion that will enable startups to take lead in India's next phase of development. Introduction of the e-passport facility will decrease friction in the immigration process and I look forward to Indians getting access to such world-class tech. Lastly, steps like capping off long-term capital gains at 15% clearly position this as a document which heard and implemented feedback from all quarters, and that’s amazing!"

Anirban Bhattacharya, AVP – Partner Schools, Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Schools:

"The proposals in the Union Budget 2022 aim to ensure recovery of learning loss witnessed during the pandemic by expanding and strengthening the digital learning ecosystem in India. Firstly, the proposal to create the Digital University will ensure that learning can continue uninterrupted for students across the country. The decision to create 750 virtual science labs and 75 virtual skilling labs will make learning experiential and practical. Another important takeaway is the push to promote the startup culture by introducing courses for skilling in select ITIs."

The Finance Minister said the one class one TV channel programme under the PM e-Vidya scheme will be expanded from 12 to 200 TV channels, which will enable states to provide supplementary education in regional languages for classes 1 to 12 students. Sitharaman projected India’s growth at 9.27 percent in the coming year.

About the Author
Author: Stephen Soulunii
Stephen Soulunii No more a student, but love to learn. Not a teacher, but care about how students are taught. Not an educator, but want everyone to be educated. Not a social worker, but desire to see change. Not a reformer, but always want to see a better world. The author believes that only sound education can bring a better future, better world and technology can help achieve a lot in this field.

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