What Can The Education Sector Expect From Budget 2021?

When it comes to education, no doubt, the year 2020 has been extremely disastrous considering how schools and colleges had to be shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s look at the key takeaways from the Union Budget 2021 regarding the ‘Education Sector’.

  • The National Education Policy (NEP) which was recently announced, has received a welcoming response. 15,000+ schools will be strengthened on a qualitative basis to ensure all NEP components are incorporated. These schools will turn out to be exemplar schools that will also help in mentoring and handholding other schools to achieve the ideals of NEP. 
  • In Union Budget 2019-20, the Finance Minister (FM), Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about creating a Higher Education Commission of India. To implement the same, the government will be introducing ‘Legislation’ this year. It is intended to be an umbrella body comprising four separate vehicles concerning accreditation, standard-setting, funding, and regulation.
  • Health and Education Cess shall be levied at the rate of 4% for the assessment year 2021-22, on the income tax amount so computed, including surcharge wherever applicable, in all cases. Marginal relief will not be given with respect to such cess.
  • 100 new Sainik Schools will be put up in partnership with states, NGOs, and other private schools.
  • Many cities across India comprise several research institutions, colleges, and universities supported by the Indian government. In 9 such cities, the government plans to set up formal umbrella structures to ensure these institutions have better collaboration and sustain their internal autonomy. To serve this purpose alone, a Glue Grant also will be set aside.
  • The government has a target to establish 750 Eklavya model residential schools across the tribal areas. FM has proposed to change the unit cost of every such school from 20 crore to 38 crore. For schools in hilly and difficult areas, the unit cost has been increased to 48 crore. FM mentioned that this step would help in the set up of robust infrastructure facilities concerning tribal students.
  • To promote the welfare of Scheduled Castes, the Post Matric Scholarship Scheme has been revamped. FM has also increased Central Assistance in this regard. The government is allotting 35,219 crores for a six-year period until 2025-2026 intending to benefit four crore SC students. 
  • FM also mentioned the proposal to establish a Central University in Leh to make higher education more accessible in Ladakh.
  • The government introduced the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme in 2016. With the Union Budget 2021, the government aims to amend the Apprenticeship Act to create more apprenticeship opportunities for India’s youth. The government will be realigning the existing National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS) to render training to graduates and diploma holders in engineering and post-education apprenticeship. Concerning this, more than 3,000 crore will be provided.  

A few of the initiatives concerning education as part of NEP have been listed below:

  • For all school teachers, standards will be developed in the form of National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST).  With this step, teachers’ capabilities will improve, and it will be followed by about 92 lakh teachers concerning both public and private schools within the country.
  • The government has proposed introducing a regulatory mechanism for permitting dual degrees, twinning arrangements, joint degrees, and other such mechanisms to encourage enhanced academic collaboration with the higher education institutions abroad.
  • To help students overcome their anxiety and stress, the government plans to introduce CBSE Board Exam reforms in a phased manner, which is effective from the academic session 2022-23.
  • A unique indigenous toy-based learning concerning all levels of school education will be developed.  This step will transform classroom sessions to be more engaging and joyful versus traditional teaching, which is mundane and repetitive.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at bhavana.pn@cleartax.in

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