Expectations Education

Fostering digitisation

Pie chart on a stock chart with a budget

Pie chart on a stock chart with a budget  

In the run-up to the Union Budget, experts from online education platforms discuss the expectations from the ed-tech sectors

“In the Budget estimates for 2018-19, the inadequate fund allocated towards higher education is making it difficult to achieve the desired excellence in the sector. In such a scenario, where infrastructure and finance is the top most concern, it becomes important to understand the cost effective measures that can be encouraged and advertised by the government,” says Anil Nagar, CEO and founder of Adda247, an online learning platform.

Adding to the sentiment, Ishan Gupta, MD of Udacity, a global lifelong learning platform, says, “Last year, the budget was highly focused on revitalising the infrastructure in traditional schools. While that was an important step to lay the foundation of a strong education system, digitisation in education can help bridge the skill gap that the industry is facing today.”

For growth

Stressing on the need to foster digitisation in India, Anil Nagar says, “The government is not encouraging online learning platforms; it is the only medium through which students in all the remote areas of the country can access high quality education. GST of 18% is levied on online delivery of education, whereas it is 0% on physical books. In such a scenario, technologically equipped entrepreneurs are unwilling to take up such ventures.”

“Moreover, the budget remains silent on the funds allocated to the ed-tech and corporate learning sector. There should be a clear demarcation on these lines for a smooth, progressive growth of these sectors.” he adds.

Important skills

Kamal Dutta, MD, Skillsoft, a corporate learning online platform, says that the focus on skill development in the Indian workforce has been encouraged by the government through initiatives such as NITI Aayog and Skill India. However, there is much work required in the field in order to meet the declining rate of labour participation from our country. “This gap can be easily bridged if skills are acquired by the majority of the population. E-learning platforms remove the barriers of cost, infrastructure and place, as they ensure quality education at the click of a button,” he explains.

“Last year, the budget had suggested incorporating a national apprenticeship scheme to offer training to five million youth by 2020 and a proposal to set up 306 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras for imparting skill training. Looking at the scale of demand, which is only going to grow in the future, the budget should focus on creating a co-existing public and private learning environment,” says Ishan Gupta.

“In this case, any impetus given to technology and digitally led learning platforms can play an important role in it. I hope this budget focuses on building an infrastructure for providing democratic access to learning opportunities,” he adds.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 10:56:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/fostering-digitisation/article26035226.ece

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