Education Sector’s Reaction On Union Budget 2021-22

Here is how the different stakeholders from the education industry react to the Union Budget 2021.

Prof Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur 

“From Education standpoint, as was predicted, this Budget has also stressed upon the implementation of NEP 2020 with the setting up of new educational institutions across the country, in the remote corners and focusing on strengthening the quality of education in existing schools. The setting up of the Higher Education Commission will also add a structural reform and streamline the higher education scenario of the country. Allocation of funds towards upskilling of the youth was imperative. As Hon’ble Finance Minister rightly mentioned, channelization of the skill of our youth is of utmost importance which can fillip our economic development. The learning that we received from the pandemic has also been properly implemented by earmarking funds to support the research ecosystem of our country. This can create more job opportunities and reduce dependency on other countries. Setting up of the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) is a positive step. However, some more stress had to put on the development of digital infrastructure of the country for the implementation of NEP 2020 and mitigating the challenges institutions are facing in remote learning. A substantial step towards lessening the digital gap that exists would have helped make the education sector become future-ready.”

Prof (Dr) Atmanand, Director (Additional Charge), MDI Gurgaon

“The National Education Policy 2020 was a great step towards the betterment of our education platform in India, however, it majorly depends on its meticulous implementation. We think with the Union Budget 2021, there is a clear line of execution with the first layer of 15,000 schools which will then act as mentors. With the inclusion of the Research and Development in Education sector by collaborating with many countries, we hope the best practices from countries all around the globe get implemented in our system so that B-schools and higher education students make the most of it. National Language translation mission to translate policy-related information into regional languages will help the content to reach tier-2 and tier-3 cities. A Central University in Leh will help the students to receive a quality education. 3000 crores have been allotted to The Apprenticeship Act which plans to increase opportunities for students and training of engineering graduates, post-graduates and diploma holders.”

Reeta Sonawat, Member of Advisory Council, Association of Indian Schools

“The Budget 2021 initiated a significant step with the announcement of 15,000 schools to be strengthened as per the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. This holds greater relevance considering the overall impact Covid-19 has caused on the education sector. The education sector awaits a revival and Budget 2021 to an extent managed to address a few of the concerns.  For example, the move to raise the allocation for ‘Eklavya’ Schools to Rs Rs 38 crore and Rs 40 crore for hilly areas is one such step. Continuously trained teachers and sound curriculum which will give quality education to the children and better implementation of NEP 2020.”

Sumeet Jain, Co-founder, Yocket

“Nothing concrete has been mentioned about higher education in the budget. Only setting up of Higher Education Commission via legislation was mentioned. But no mention about the budget allocation or how the implementation of the NEP for higher education. It will be interesting to see the details of the new law to set up the Higher Education Commission. With such a huge population, education is of prime importance if we don’t want to see joblessness grow in the coming times. However, a 50,000 crore for research initiatives is a welcome move. Research needs a big boost and this might be a good start. If we need to strengthen our education system, research will be extremely important.”

Rahul V Karad, Managing Trustee & Executive President, MAEER’s MIT Group of Institutions & Executive President, MIT World Peace University (MIT-WPU) 

“As an educationist, I welcome the budget announced for this year by our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The budget aims at the overall economical revival with a major thrust on infrastructure, healthcare and agriculture along with other sectors. The announcement about putting up of a central university in Leh to 750 Eklavya Model residential schools in tribal areas and 100 new Sainik schools is definitely a positive move in the right direction. The setting up National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) and the emphasis on the development of digital infrastructure of the country for the implementation of NEP 2020 will surely address the challenges institutions are facing in remote learning. Apart from this creating a Higher Education Commission will help streamline the higher education scenario of the country. This year’s budget has taken into account some of the challenges faced by the Indian education sector and presents opportunities that can be turned into strengths to make our nation Atmanirbhar, as India will have the largest working-age population in the world by 2030.’’

Ramananda SG, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Pearson India

“Education Budget 2021 presented by Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister of India today concentrated on effective implementation of National Education Policy (NEP), Research & Development and upskilling. the budget highlighted some of the initiatives such as the development of National Professional Standards for Teachers, CBSE board exams to test students on their conceptual clarity and analytical skills, academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions and setting-up of Higher Education Commission of India. The announcement towards building the research ecosystem in collaboration and Training Inter Training Programme (TITP) with countries like Japan will enhance teaching, learning and transfer skills among learners. I am confident that ‘The Apprenticeship Act’ by the government will improve opportunities for students further helping them to progress and become employable.”

Prof Manoj K Arora, Vice-Chancellor, BML Munjal University

“The establishment of the Higher Education Commission with four verticals viz Regulation, Accreditation, Standard Setting and Funding, each working independently, is a welcoming step, which was long due. The regulation perhaps will now hinge on accreditation which is directly related to the quality of education. Allocation of 50000 crores to National Research Foundation over a period of 5 years is very forthcoming. Both public and private institutions will be able to take part with equal stakes to apply for research funding in thrust areas. The creation of nine clusters of academic and research institutions without disturbing their autonomy will certainly be helpful in optimal usage of hard and soft infrastructure, quality knowledge creation and dissemination and collaborative learning.”

Rishab Mehta, CEO & Founder, GrayQuest

“This year’s Union Budget was in the spirit of “do no harm” in terms of any adverse policies being implemented. Broadly, the various decisions laid out in this year’s budget are more “incremental” rather than “transformational” in nature. Accessibility and affordability of education across the weaker economic strata of society has been a perennial challenge in our country, especially this year with the disparity increasing manifold due to lack of online education infrastructure both at school and student level. This year’s budget has indicated a good intention of progress in addressing this gap. Government’s decision to strengthen over 15,000 schools under NEP, set up 100 new Sainik Schools, raise the allocation for ‘Eklavya’ schools in hilly areas etc. will provide a fillip to quality education.”

Zishaan Hayth, CEO and Founder, Toppr

“The goal to empower 15,000 schools is really promising. They can further mentor other schools in their region and help achieve NEP goals faster. With the future of education as a hybrid, we believe that edtech companies can act as true allies to the government and education ecosystem as a whole. Technological interventions can multiply government investment manifold and accelerate the implementation of NEP goals ie. focus on tracking and improving learning outcomes and holistic progress of students.”

Charu Noheria, Co-Founder & COO, Practically

“The budget for FY 2021-22 has been a balanced one. The decision to strengthen the education sector as per the National Education Policy has certainly been one of the highlights of the Union Budget 2021. We welcome the government’s move to set up a Higher Education Commission of India and its plans to integrate nine cities, including Hyderabad, our home market, under an umbrella structure for higher education institutions to allow for better synergy among them. Also, the government’s decision to extend the tax holiday by one more year, to March 2022 along with capital gains exemption will help India’s startup ecosystem deal with the pandemic blues.”

Aakash Sethi, CEO, Quest Alliance

“Strengthening of 15,000 schools for the effective implementation of National Education Policy (NEP), in the Union Budget 2021-22, is a welcome move. However, there needs to be a greater focus on improving the digital infrastructure in order to boost online learning and bridging this digital divide amongst the youth.  Knowing that India is a young nation, with over 180 million people joining the workforce in the next 15 years, there is a serious need for quality education and skilling in order to increase their employability quotient. It is extremely critical to address this issue so that India’s demographic dividend becomes its biggest asset.

Rustom Kerawalla, Chairman, Ampersand Group

“The government’s decision to strengthen school education with the implementation of the National Education Policy across 15,000 schools despite the hurdles owing to the COVID-19 pandemic shows clear intent. However, the rollout and implementation across all states should be done within a couple of years to bring parity for students to access education across the country. The participation of the private sector and NGOs in managing and operating schools will be an enabler in providing a modern and high-quality framework for education and boost the sector to engage with many more projects under the public-private partnership model.”

Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Simplilearn

“Post 2020, we have witnessed the role of technology taking centre stage, opening new job opportunities and increasing the demand for a technically skilled workforce. The government’s decision of introducing post-education apprenticeship with an investment of over Rs 3,000 crore towards the skilling of engineering graduates, diploma holders, etc. is definitely a forward-looking proposition aligned with improving employment opportunities for students pursuing different disciplines. However, it would have been encouraging if the government had introduced a reduction on GST for online education services, with learners and teachers alike taking to online skilling programs in view of the demands of the New Normal.”

Dr Chenraj Roychand, Chairman, Jain Group“The budget 2021 brings with it good tidings for the education sector. The highlight being the announcement of establishing 100 new Sainik schools in partnership with NGOs and other private academies and setting up of Central University at Ladakh. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also asserted that more than 15,000 schools will be quantitatively strengthened, which gives great impetus to the education sector. The announcement of the legislation for an umbrella body of higher education is just what is required in the post COVID era to boost our education system. Education is what drives the economy and the country, and I am convinced that the Budget 2021 will go a long way in guaranteeing that our country keeps education at the pinnacle of its priorities.”
Manish Mohta, MD, Learning Spiral
”From a Higher Education viewpoint the budget sets the right direction by focusing on the implementation of NEP, setting up of the Higher Education Council and the large fund allocation to research are all great ideas. Execution and how fast these things move will be the key thing to observe moving forward. Education budgets being stagnant is also a concern as it was already far lower than most countries in terms of a percentage of GDP. EdTech startups will also be happy with the provisions for Startups in general.”

Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal, Co-Founder and Principal Director, 21K School

“We are hopeful of the education sector and its role in making India atmanirbhar. The budget had a few positive announcements for the formal education sector. Many parts of it were covered in the NEP 2020, and the union budget certainly provides a stimulus to the education policy. However, the informal education sector led by EdTech space had no mention and was disappointing. We expected budgetary allocation to push greater adoption of digital education in the Tier 2 cities and rural areas. A thrust on online education at Government level would have helped India accelerate access, equity and quality of school and higher education in the country.”

Manit Jain, Chairman, FICCI ARISE; Co-founder, The Heritage Group of Schools

“In order to fulfil the objectives established by the National Education Policy, spends in the education sector need to go up substantially. Given the economic crisis that we are in due to COVID and that there several competing social sectors that demand great attention, it is high time that the State and Central governments invite private capital to invest in education. This would mean higher investments through the private sector and FDI which could then be regulated by a government body.”As per UNDP estimates, the total financial requirement for India to reach SDG 4 by 2030 averages $173 billion per year, far exceeding the current government budget of $76.4 billion a year for education. Government schools spend about Rs 24,000-30,000 per child per annum, while in private schools, 91% of students pay lower than Rs 24,000 per annum. In contrast, the average per student expense in the US is about $13,000 per annum. Schools will only invest in post-Covid-19 technologies if there is some predictability in regulation and freedom of salaries, fees and curriculum. We have been wishing for opening up and formalising the sector and ensuring long term responsible and patient capital, giving the much- needed confidence to potential investors to invest in the sector and expect legitimate RoI as spoken about several times in the past.” 

Rishabh Khanna, Cognitive Scientist & Founder of Suraasa

“The National Education Policy has clearly shown India’s vision and bright future for school education and higher education in the country. Its implementation in 15,000 schools is an excellent start toward a more holistic education approach and a good deliverable for the union budget. International partnerships are a must for India to become a global workforce supplier. Partnerships with countries like UAE, which have been successful in improving the quality of learning outcomes with their national standards and licensing systems, will act as key drivers in bringing our education system at par with international standards.” 

Pavan Allena, Founder & CEO MetamorphosisEdu

“We are pleased with the Finance Minister’s announcement with respect to the education & start-up sector. The introduction of the New Education Policy with a special focus on skill-based aspects will help in transforming & up-skilling not only the existing faculties but also the students. This will help us in creating content that will transform the education regime to global standards. Also, the Government’s vision of Digital India and Startup India is incomplete without efficient entrepreneurs who not only have a vision but the skills to execute them. The Finance Minister’s announcement to incentivize start-ups funding and propel single entrepreneurship in the country will enable the development of cutting-edge and indigenous technological solutions, create high-tech jobs in India, up-skill Indian professionals, and enable us to tap the ripening global market.”

Chef Niklesh Sharma, Founder of Academy of Pastry & Culinary Arts (APCA)

“We are pleased to see the vocational & skill-based courses coming to the forefront in our Finance Minister’s speech today. They have for way too long served in the sidelines of the Indian education regime and with this push, we are hopeful that we will be able to produce better professionals and overall an impactful educational culture in the country. The introduction of the New Education Policy (NEP) has also served as a propellant for the age-old educational infrastructure in India and we are hopeful that the Government will keep on bringing necessary amendments in the future as well.”

Kiran Dham, CEO, Globus Infocom

“Budget 2021 is quite promising & positive as it is focussing on the 6 different pillars which also includes education & development. Government has taken special measures to make education more technology-friendly & digitally empowered by strengthening the digital as well as supporting physical infrastructure including road, electricity etc. making education easily accessible to one and all.  Government has proclaimed to carry forward the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign which will boost the confidence of Indian brands like ours. With the promise of introducing more schools following the NEP policy, the focus will be on the training and development of 56 lakh school teachers under the policy which will surely put forth education in a different & enhanced way. The formation of the Higher Education Commission will be making higher education more accessible which will result in securing a better career. The announcement of the National Language Translation Mission to emphasize & promote the importance of Indian languages is a welcoming step too.”

Rohit Jain, Co-founder, DUX Education   

“The market is reacting and how! All the major stocks are up and that says a lot about the public sentiment with this budget. Specifically, on education and start-ups, there isn’t much excitement in place as far as the budget is concerned. Some baby steps towards implementing the NEP which is good – but remember that execution is the key there. The increment in the budget isn’t significant, we should have landed at around 6-7% of GDP to create some impact. Education should be seen as infrastructure – you are essentially building the Human Resources for the country. There isn’t much around re-skilling or up-skilling of teachers in the budget – which is the need of the hour. I think the 15K school to start with for the NEP experiment is way too low given the base we have. Should have definitely targeted higher.”

Rajeev Tiwari, Founder, STEMROBO Technologies

“NEP (New Education Policy) has been given a thrust in the budget. The plan to set up 15000 Pilot Schools as a showcase for NEP, which can be exemplary for other schools, is a welcome step and will lead to promoting NEP in the School Ecosystem. Tribal School-Eklavya Schools with newer allocation – in tribal areas will spur further development of education in tribal areas. Allocation of the National Apprenticeship Scheme for 3000 Cr and increasing the contours of it will benefit companies.”

Anoop Gautam, CEO & Co-founder, Tinker Coders

“Union Budget 2021 has focused on strengthening 15000 schools with all the components of NEP as a pilot project. Also, skill enrichment programs will be initiated in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates which will bring new opportunities for the youth of our country. FM Shrimati Nirmala Sitharaman also mentioned initializing a collaborative training program with Japan, which will be launched for more countries as well in the upcoming future. This year’s Union Budget has focused primarily on innovation and research development, therefore it has become even important for the students in the K-12 segment to enhance their 21 st -Century skills in order to become skill-efficient in this tech-led generation.”

Abhishek Gupta, Founder and CEO, Hex N Bit

“In the National apprenticeship training scheme–the Indian government has now allocated Rs. 3,000 Cr. for National apprenticeship which will create a Skilled & talented workforce with the bilateral partnership with United Arab Emirates (UAE) to provide training, certification, assessments etc. India will collaborate with Japan in order to adopt cutting edge technology, technique & vocational programs for scaling up the technology in India to newer heights.

The government of India has proposed the budget of Rs 50K crore over 5 years for innovation & R&D. There will be an expectation from the Government to spend setting up the Innovation lab focusing on the technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Data analytics, etc. which can showcase the solution to most of the problem statement in most of the field including medical, agriculture, defence or any natural disaster.”

Sumesh Nair, Co-founder & CEO, Board Infinity“It is a welcome move to train engineers, but we are forgetting that arts, science, and commerce background students form the majority of higher education bucket (close to 70% of entire intake). Most programs are unable to cater to these majority population, skilling should be inclusive and not just be focused on engineers. New-age digital skills can also be learned by arts, science, and commerce background students. The learning curve is slightly steep, but it is very much possible and we have seen people picking it up. I would like to see for inclusive points in apprenticeship training that can cover a broader spectrum of people and not just niches. Probably it is because the narrative is owned by engineer employability, but I request to the government to make this inclusive for all types of higher education students.”
Mohan Lakhamraju, Founder & CEO, Great Learning
“We welcome the allocation of Rs 3000 crore towards realignment of the existing scheme of National Apprenticeship Training Scheme in order to provide post-education apprenticeship to engineering graduates and diploma holders. It will help create talent that is employable and equipped with the right set of skills for the industry ensuring professionals are job-ready. The moves to join forces with UAE to benchmark skill qualification and introduction of collaborative training programs with the Japanese workforce are also steps in the right direction. This will help us keep our skilling endeavours in sync with global trends.”
Payal Gaba, CEO and Founder, Beyondskool
“The Union Budget 2021 has displayed a good implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) that was launched in 2020. Over 15,000 schools have embraced the NEP 2020 and we wish to see more schools and other educational institutions benefitting through the policy in the upcoming months. The NEP 2020 has shown an increased focus on Higher Order Thinking Skills such as Critical Thinking, Analytical Thinking, and Logical Reasoning, which help students harness their creative and analytical side. We expect that more and more students, schools, and colleges will utilize this to the fullest especially through online education amidst the current scenario.”
Pratik Agarwal, Co-founder and Chief of Growth, SOAL
“The Union Budget 2021 has shown a good execution of the National Education Policy and it’s good to know that the Government is following up on the NEP, which had shown a lot of promise when it was released back in 2020. We appreciate that the government is focusing on digitisation, be it the census or boosts for 1500 crore digital payments and 15.7 thousand crores for MSMEs. It shows STEM and learning to code will continue to grow as an integral part of one’s learning journey- which is the need of the hour. We are excited to acknowledge the Higher Education Commission that has been announced and we expect that ed-tech startups will get to play a major role in it and will qualify for recognition under the body. Reduction in Education GST from 18% could have allowed a big boost for students/working professionals who are looking to upskill and reskill.”
Ashwani Awasthi, Managing Director, RICS School of Built Environment
“The Government of India had announced transformational changes in the education sector while launching the National Education Policy (NEP2020) in July last year. While NEP 2020 focuses on raising the quality of education however effectively implementing some of the policy reforms and up-gradation of infrastructure of public education institutions was the key to achieving the desired outcomes. The announcement of setting up of the Higher Education Commission, Implementing the examination reforms, creating more school infrastructure with the support of the private sector will help in effective implementation of NEP 2020. The allocation of Rs 50,000 crore for National Research Foundation will be key to
India’s growth in the Research and Development field.”
Prof (Col.) Shishir Kumar, Director General, ImaginXP
“The budget gives a runway to the dream of reaching a 50 per cent Gross enrolment ratio in India. We are at 25 per cent today, and online degree programmes, focus on embedded courses in university and enabling colleges to work on their own curriculum are great accelerators. The budget helps a university in India focus on research-based learning. The budget is a 4 per cent increase over last year and the innovative idea to use retired teachers as mentors will take us a long way. The cream of the cake is in the implementation of the NEP 2020 and the budget sets the right direction over expenditure.”
Ruth Arnold, Senior Advisor to Study Group and to the National Indian Students and Alumni Union
“It is encouraging to see a strong focus on engineering and manufacturing education in this budget. Indian students and graduates are respected around the world for their education and capability in this area which is so crucial for a sustainable future and economy. Pathway providers such as Study Group are proud of the role that we continue to play in providing a gateway to undergraduate and postgraduate STEM degrees and that these students go on to successful careers in STEM.”
Sneha Priya, Co-Founder, SP Robotics Work
“The NEP was a great step towards the betterment of our education platform in India, however, it majorly depends on how well the implementation goes about. I think with this budget, there is a clear line of implementation with the first layer of 15000 schools which will then act as mentors. This definitely gives great confidence in the NEP being implemented well. Another great inclusion is the Research and Development in Education by collaborating with many countries. It is highly essential we have the best practices of all countries implemented in our system and this is the right step towards that. With Japan’s technology and knowledge, hopefully, the online learning platforms will be strengthened. I am sure we could look at other South-East Asian countries and European education too, which gives a lot of emphasis on practical education and also a student’s mental growth without much stress.”
Ganesh Raju, Founder & CEO, Ken42
“Budget 2021 is growth-oriented and presents a lot for the industry to look forward to as the country recovers from the pandemic. At 600 million, the youth comprise more than half of our population, and the budget has included announcements to improve their lives and education, as well as the future of the nation.  The announcement to strengthen 15,000 schools as part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 will be a major fillip to the quality of school education. The proposal to start an apprenticeship and embedded degree and diploma courses for students in non-science and technology streams in 150 higher education institutes by March 2021 will increase the available opportunities to students for upskilling and employment. It’s also likely to open up more opportunities for edtech companies to collaborate with the government education sector.”

Kartik Sharma, Co-Founder, DcodeAI

“The government’s continued efforts to boost the excellence of education in India is greatly appreciated. With an emphasis on strengthening the Nation First Policy in Union Budget 2021, the government will offer robust remedial solutions that are aligned with the vision of creating a thriving education ecosystem. With a focus on education for all, providing quality education through National Education Policy (NEP), collaboration with Japan for the sharing of technology and knowledge, skilling youth and launch of data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning-driven MCA21 Version 3.0, the government have rolled out incentives to provide impetus to the activities and subsequently to the growth of EdTech as well as of skill-tech enterprises. Such incentives along with funding provisions will create space for collaboration amongst start-ups, especially in the education sector and open up new avenues of career growth for Indian professionals.”

Anupam Shukla, Counsel, Pioneer Legal

“Budget 2021 greatly emphasises the implementation of NEP throughout India. The push to initially strengthen 15,000 schools to work as a model for the implementation of NEP will act as a good test case for effective rollout of the policy across the country in the coming years.”

Nikhil Barshikar, Founder and Managing Director, Imarticus Learning

“The Central Government has proposed the implementation of Data Analytics, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to upgrade the functioning of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Specifically, the Ministry’s database management systems will be overhauled, leading to increased efficiency in e-scrutiny, e-adjudication, e-consultation and compliance management. To accomplish this, highly skilled Indian Data Scientists and Analysts will be required. We have also been informed that a Trans-Asian partnership between India, Japan and the UAE is in the pipeline, wherein Workforce Upskilling initiatives and Diploma & Skill Certification programs will be jointly supported by the 3 nations. Given that Imarticus Learning has already established a presence in the UAE this year, this development is of particular interest to us and we will pay close attention as more information comes to light. Furthermore, Rs 3,000 Crore has been allocated to upskilling and training Indian Engineering Graduates and Diploma recipients, in view of modernizing India’s domestic talent pool.”

Narayan Mahadevan, Founder, BridgeLabz

“FM today in the budget speech was on the spot to recognize India will have the World largest working-age population by 2030 which needs to be skilled for the Job. And Internship/Apprenticeship is the best way to garner the required Job skills. 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. It’s welcoming to see Startups get a tax holiday for one more year in Budget 2021. I wish the Government simplified the procedure to get Low TDS. Many startups do not make money and if the money is stuck with the Government as TDS, it creates that much more challenge for survival.”

Neha Bagaria, Founder, CEO, JobsForHer

“The government’s emphasis on creating an Atma Nirbhar Bharat is synonymous with ensuring that our women are also atmanirbhar, which can only come with their financial independence.  It is thus a welcome change that women will be allowed to work in all categories with adequate protection, a move which will open up further job opportunities for women, thus enabling higher financial security. Additionally, we had highlighted the need to ensure that gig workers, a huge proportion of whom are women, need to be provided with adequate benefits. It is thus heartening to see that Social Security benefits will now be extended to gig and platform workers for the first time.” 

Dr Akhil Shahani, Managing Director, Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management, Shahani Group and Ask.Careers

“The budget had some welcome initiatives, like the collaboration with UAE & Japan, adding more rural schools, and strengthening the national apprenticeship programme. However, I believe that a lot more could have been done to build India’s education sector as per the goals set out by the National Education Policy (NEP 2020). Increased allocation of funds up to 6% of GDP (as recommended by expert committees), opening the sector to private for-profit investors and allowing foreign universities to set up campuses in India, were great opportunities which were missed in this budget.”

Rohan Krishna, CEO, Co-Founder, Elite

“The Hon’ble Finance Minister’s 6 pillars for Budget 2021 include ‘Inclusive Development for Aspirational India’ and ‘Reinvigorating Human Capital’. This is a welcome development. Development of our human capital, particularly the youth, is a key area that has been tremendously underserved over the years in our country. The need of the hour is to skill, upskill and reskill not just professionals in the metros but the vast population in the hinterlands. The announcement of a Central University in Leh is a right step in this direction. I wish many more come up in the remote areas of the country. Many students drop out after 10th and 12th – a huge waste of human capital. The newly announced Higher Education Commission can deploy resources and funds into hybridizing vocational and professional skills training for this youth with a mixture of e-learning and skills building in vocational centres. The initiative to strengthen our human capital and train our youth by providing Rs 3000 crore towards the National Apprenticeship Scheme is a hugely welcome step.”

Gaurav Tyagi, Founder – Career Expert
”The budget presented by the honourable Finance Minister tried to address many facets of the educational sector. The government’s decision to strengthen school education with the implementation of the National Education Policy across 15,000 schools despite the hurdles owing to the COVID-19 pandemic shows clear intent. The budget emphasized the recent trend of tinkering at the edges of the problems that confront the Indian Education System. The Finance Minister announced the strengthening of more than 15,000 schools, starting 750 Eklavya schools and 100 new Sainik schools which will have a great impact on the school education.  The overall allocation of Rs 93224 Cr for the education sector is a welcoming announcement. On the other hand, Legislation of the Higher Education Commission of India will resolve the various challenges faced by higher education in our country. The budget consists of the apt strategies which will help in speedy implementation of National Education Policy (NEP).”

Dr Sandeep Shastri, Vice-Chancellor, Jagran Lakecity University

“The Budget 2021 is a growth-oriented initiative which is presented in the extremely amidst extremely difficult times to boost the spirits of the nation. The stock market has also reacted in a positive way towards the declarations and the allocation of budget to the various sectors. The budget will especially strengthen the education sector to take innovative steps and encourage the public-private partnership in the field of education. The focus on access to education, employability and skill development is also evident which will have a long term positive impact on the ambitious targets we have set for the country. We at JLU welcome this budget and hope to implement it with the same enthusiasm.”

Kavita Gupta Sabharwal, Founder and Head of School, Neev Academy

“It is delightful to see the reinforcement of NEP 2020 in the budget speech and I hope this will accelerate its implementation. Another good thing is the 2.2 lakh crore health care expenditure because health is a precursor and vehicle for learning. The budget’s proposal to open up higher education to university collaborations will increase competition and choice for students, and raise gross enrolment ratios. These are all steps in the right direction, but now need funding and commitment for implementation.”

Ritesh Rawal, Founder, Dudes and Dolls The Cosmic School, Adhyay School and Ritesh Rawal Foundations

“The introduction of a new education policy in 2020 was a path-breaking step in itself and today announcement of 15000 schools under NEP has added a tangible element in the vision of universalization of education from preschool to secondary level. In my opinion, a lot of work needs to be done to enhance both quality and access to education in our country especially in the rural areas, and these small steps such as high-quality schools such as Sanik schools, focusing on teachers selection and quality of delivery will surely enhance the quality of education. Replacing 10+ 2, education structure with 5+3+3 +4 model of education will make learning choice based and result orientated. Last year after recognizing Early childhood education as a special segment, the government has taken a much-needed step, as someone who has been dedicatedly working in the early childhood education school segment since 2012, I take this as a very positive step.”

Keshav Murugesh, Group CEO, WNS and Past Chairman, NASSCOM

“What was promised, the honourable Finance Minister has delivered today – a ‘budget like never before’ that seeks to fast-track India’s growth story in the new world order. This growth will undoubtedly be fueled by digital, the biggest force shaping our collective future. In fact, digital was the common thread binding the earmarking of INR 1500 crores to incentivize digital transactions and setting up of the National Digital Educational Architecture to nurture a digital-first mindset. The thrust on digital is complemented by the emphasis on training our youth for the digitally driven world – the INR 50000 crore inflow into the National Research Foundation to spur innovation, concrete steps announced to strengthen our human capital and to allocate INR 3000 crores for focused training interventions are indeed game-changer moves. Extension of social security benefits to gig workers – a global first – will prove to be shot in the arm for the digital-led gig economy.”

Col. (Retd.) Gopal Karunakaran, CEO, Shiv Nadar School

“The greatest strength of budget 2021, also dubbed as the “recovery budget” lies in the recognition of its role in rebuilding sectors deeply affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic over the last year. The 2021-22 budget outlined some solid steps towards the implementation of the exemplary New Education Policy. In keeping with the aims of the policy to bring about education that is Accessible, Equitable and Affordable while qualitatively enriching the educational system and ensuring greater accountability, the finance minister’s intention to “qualitatively strengthen” more than 15,000 schools to help them emerge as ‘exemplar schools’ is deeply laudable. The budget has also paved the way for greater collaboration and cooperation among different educational institutions and within the larger educational community in a region by guiding ‘exemplar’ schools, with exceptional qualitative standards to mentor other schools in the region in order to help them develop on similar lines. This will go a long way in cultivating the much-needed spirit of working and growing together within the schooling community. Continuing on a similar agenda, private schools have been incorporated in this process by giving them the role of acting as partners in the establishment of 100 new Sainik Schools.”

Neeti Sharma, Senior Vice President, TeamLease Services 

“Given the change we have seen since Covid’19, I was expecting today’s budget to focus on up-skilling & reskilling of the workforce across sectors such as Manufacturing, Ecommerce, Logistics, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals etc., however, these aspects were neglected in the announcement. While the budget has spoken about increasing skilled workforce for new technology competencies like AI, Big Data, Robotics etc.; it has not looked at any impetus or reforms to augment the skilling ecosystem.”

Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, Director, WeSchool 

“We applaud the Government’s focus on strengthening education at B-school level which will help position India as a preferred destination for higher education. The attempt to strengthen the NEP (National Education Policy) through budget allocations is welcome. The Government’s initiative to deploy the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) this year will help institutes, to streamline their objectives, improve the standards of education and strengthen the accreditation to become globally renowned educational institutes. This will also encourage Indian students to pursue higher education in their own country and nurture their talent. Allocation made towards skilling and apprenticeship (Rs. 3000 Crores) will help students as well as educators to understand the requirements of various industries and prepare them for the future workforce.”

Rohan Sagar, Member – Governing Council, Dayananda Sagar University  

“I find some of the proposals with regards to education in the Union Budget 2021 to be extremely positive, well-thought-through and welcome. The particularly good measures are the move to qualitatively strengthen more than 15,000 schools to include all components of the National Education Policy. These schools are to emerge as exemplar schools in their regions, hand-hold and mentor other schools to achieve the ideals envisaged by the Policy. The decision to bring in legislation for the establishment of the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) is a laudable move. The HECI is expected to be an umbrella body having 4 separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation and funding. The proposal for investing Rs 3,000 crore for skilling through post-education apprenticeship, training of graduates and diploma holders in Engineering is significant and the Finance Minister deserves accolades for the same. Deploying these skilled young people at foreign destinations will go a long way in providing employment to the educated workforce. The collaboration between India and Japan on the Training Inter Training Programme (TITP) to facilitate the transfer of Japanese industrial and vocational skills, technique, and knowledge and the proposal to set aside Rs 50,000 crores, over a period of 5 years to support research through the National Research Foundation (NRF) are extremely useful and timely.”

Anshuman Das, CEO and Co-founder, CareerNet  

“It is a welcome sign to see the Union Government heeding to the industry’s recommendation to stimulate the development of new-age, high-value skills. The government underlining its emphasis on skill development is certainly a boost to the industry. The budget aims to address the strategic pillar of talent by facilitating the supply of organized talent. The proposed initiatives in skilling and the spotlight on the country’s manufacturing sector is a move in the right direction to address the talent gap in high-tech manufacturing. Initiatives in partnership with the United Arab Emirates which aims to benchmark skill qualifications, assessment, and certification as well as having collaborative Training Inter Training Programme (TITP) between India and other countries are positive steps towards moving from being a base knowledge economy to becoming the preferred destination for high-end skills.”

Sanjeev Goel, Business Head – Consumer Goods & Others, UNext

“Human capital has been identified as one of the six strategic pillars for India. Towards this, one of the most significant and far-reaching moves in today’s Budget is the proposed legislation for setting up of the Higher Education Commission as an umbrella body to replace various regulatory bodies but having four separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding, is a step in the right direction.  The other is the PPP model for higher education. We await further details in the detailed press releases in the next few days.”

Navneet Sharma, Registrar, Vijaybhoomi University 

“I see the twin push to infrastructure and education as the key takeaways from the Budget 2021. A total of 5.33 lac crore rupees have been allocated to roads, railways and power sectors. Such a push should help trigger the growth reaction not only in these sectors but also ripples in many associated sectors. The higher education sector is going to witness the new Higher Education Commission and also an outlay of Rs 50 thousand crores on the National Research Foundation (NRF). NRF allocation is in follow up to the last year’s budget announcement. The announcement of qualitatively strengthening 15,000 schools under National Education Policy is likely to exert favourable impact on school education. Overall, education deserved  more than what has been offered in this budget.”

Dr Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, Advisor to The Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan (Rank of Minister of State), Govt of Odisha and Founder at SAI International Education Group

“The Union Budget 2021 has touched all the sectors and rests on six pillars, i.e. Health & Well-being, Inclusive Development Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, Physical & Financial capital and infrastructure, Minimum government and maximum governance. I am happy that the Union Budget 2021 has focused on qualitative strengthening of over 15,000 Schools across India under National Education Policy 2020. It is a great move by the Finance Minister. An ‘umbrella’ structure will be created for central higher education in various cities.  Legislation to set up the Higher Education Commission will be introduced soon. Last year, the government allocated Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector. To further the National Education Policy under the reinvigorating human capital under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission the minister said a central university will also be established in Leh for accessible higher education at Ladakh. 100 new Sainik schools to be set up in partnership with NGOs and private schools, 750 Eklavya schools will be set up in tribal areas, Increase in the expenditure cost for tribal schools. It will a major boost for rural education.” 

Suresh Ramanathan, Dean, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai

“The Honourable Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has rightly included the education and skills sector as an integral part of the Aspirational India plans. We are thrilled to see the support given by the government to boost the country’s education system, recognizing the need for a greater inflow of both funds and talented faculty along with the importance of innovation and better lab infrastructure as a means to improve overall standards. As a leading management institute, Great Lakes is proud to charter a course that heavily emphasizes knowledge creation as a means to deliver highly relevant and contemporary education to its students. We believe that this will eventually and invariably lead aspirational India towards better standards of living and greater employment opportunities. The allocation of Rs. 50,000 crores in the budget towards the National Research Foundation is a step in the right direction. It will put India firmly on the path to attaining global standards in knowledge creation.”

Preethaa Ganesh, Vice President, Vels Group of Institutions, Chennai

“We acknowledge the initiative taken by the central government to make India as a preferred destination for higher education. Towards the same, the proposal of Ind-SAT comes in as a boon as this will help in boosting the education scenario in India by bringing in more foreign candidates. Enhancing online education by introducing a full-fledged education programme will majorly benefit the students of the deprived section of the society. Increase in apprenticeship embedded degree/diploma courses by March 2021 will result in providing more internship opportunities to fresh engineers thereby creating a wholesome job environment. In addition to this, we feel that the sum allocated for skill development and training of teachers will give us room to create a better work environment and deliver a higher quality of education.”

Prof Amiya Kumar Sahu, Associate Professor (Finance), Goa Institute of Management

“The Finance Minister presented a forward-looking budget that would boost economic growth and investors’ confidence. I am particularly impressed with the resource allocations on Healthcare, Education, and Infrastructure. The fiscal deficit targets look pessimistic. The government would do better as economic activities normalize. The GST collections figures for January 2021 is a good signal. I expected excise duty cuts in petrol and diesel. The capital market has reacted positively, but the realities will unfold only tomorrow and further during the week. The focus of infra-push on election-bound states looks to be a big-promise. My rating is 7/10.”

Dr Mona Lisa Bal, Chairperson, KiiT International School

“Budget 2021-22 was significant as it was expected to revive the economy after the COVID-19 crisis. Education for All was one of the prime focal areas of the Budget and overall, the announcements made for the sector were positive.  The industry was expecting allocations on the implementation of NEP 2020 which has been met to an extent. Emphasis on strengthening the quality of education in schools will benefit students by cementing their primary education and promote growth and knowledge. Setting up of new Sainik schools and Eklavya model residential schools, especially in the remotest parts of the country will further bolster educational development. Upskilling of the youth has become extremely vital in the present scenario. Our youth is our strength and streamlining skill development for them will catalyse a better tomorrow for India. International collaboration on research and development is also a welcome move because the pandemic has made it clear that innovation is the way of the future. Setting up of the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) Development is a firm steppingstone towards a digital transformation to take the country to newer heights.”

Divya Lal, Founder and Managing Director, Fliplearn

“The allocation of Rs 5000 crore towards R&D is one of the highlights of this budget and can be committed to strengthening edtech platforms and building a strong digital infrastructure for education. FM’s plan to qualitatively strengthen 15000 schools under NEP can lead as an example of a blended learning approach where digital education complements traditional brick and mortar schooling. This transformation will, however, require the involvement of school heads and teachers in adopting the “Phygital” model of education to align with the MoE’s vision. While R & D and skilling initiatives are explicitly mentioned in the FM’s speech, training on leveraging technology in education has not been spelled out and this will be critical to actualising the impact of digitization of education.”

Abhishek Kumar, Regional Director, Onvu Learning

“The annual budget brings in good news for Smart Class solutions. The Union budget has a major thrust on the education sector. The decision to strengthen 15,000 government schools provides a major avenue for Smart Class teacher-training solutions such as Onvu Learning. The decision to set up more than 100 Sainik and Eklavya schools with a 50-100% increased budget further opens up this sector for video-enabled teacher’s self-training solutions.”

Prashant Agarwal, President, Narayan Seva Sansthan (NSS)

“We are happy with the 2021-22 budget, where the central government is seeking the help of NGOs in setting up 100 new Sainik schools in partnership with NGOs/private schools/states. Also, Income Tax relief for senior citizens is also a welcome step as NSS has a donor base for senior citizens across India. With this, we were expecting from the budget that no GST on aids and devices, and low-interest rates for differently-abled individuals.” 

Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, Provost – HSNC University

“The modern outlook and approach in the budget outlook for the Education sector is opening-up floodgates to reinvigorate human capital on a serious note. The outlays drawn is paving the path for the advance of India on the global map via extensive initiatives and measures like Rashtriya Shiksha Mission, extended support continues for primary education and for tribal areas as well as underprivileged additionally encompassing focus on higher education inclusive of skill development that falls in tune with NEP 2020. An ambitious target of supporting 15000 schools via NGO’s and other organizations will go a long way in revamping education management in the system. The FM’s proposal towards skilling and apprenticeship for students on amending the same and dedicating a sum of Rs 3000 crores will give multiple opportunities to the aspiring NextGen leaders of tomorrow. Special outlays of Rs 50,000 crores over 5years to strengthen the renewed focus on Research & Development.  Furthermore, introducing legislation to form a Higher Education Commission of India to look after accreditation, funding, regulation, and standard-setting is a strategic four-pillar move that strongly builds on National Education Policy.”

Dev Roy, Founder, Digital Aristotle

“The announcement by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to qualitatively strengthen 15,000 schools under the National Education Policy is a welcome step. The education sector has been in dire need of a push with regard to quality and this move by the government will act as a major boost considering the ordeals faced due to the ongoing pandemic. This assumes significance as several doubts have been raised with regard to the quality of education imparted through remote mechanism with existing infrastructure. Another welcome move is the proposed introduction of a new higher education body.”

Sumeet Mehta, Co-founder & CEO, LEAD School

“The year 2020 was a catastrophic one for the education sector with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing schools and education institutions to shut down. I commend the finance minister for giving a boost to the adoption of National Education Policy and strengthening 15,000 schools in the country is a right move in that direction. Tribal students have suffered the most due to the pandemic with no access to quality education and lack of appropriate infrastructure to adopt online learning in a school-from-home environment. The Government’s target of establishing 750 Eklavya model residential schools in tribal areas will enhance the quality of learning and enable them to avail learning opportunities and help in the overall development. I am confident that the Budget will bring a positive change in the lives of SC/ST students as it aims to bridge the learning gaps and make education affordable and accessible for a larger audience.”

Dr Chandrima Sikdar, Associate Dean, School of Business Management, SVKM’s NMIMS Deemed-to-be University

“The announcements for the education sector in the Union Budget 2021 spell out a road map towards inclusive education in India. From setting up of a central university in Leh to setting up 750 Ekalavya Model residential schools in tribal areas to 100 new Sainik schools to revamping of a post-matric scheme to a proposal to amend the Apprenticeship Act, the announcements clearly indicate a concerted effort towards making education accessible, available and affordable to all and to the remotest and farthest of the places in the country.”

Dr Suresh Mony, Professor Emeritus, SVKM’S NMIMS Bengaluru Campus

“Three proposals of the Finance Minister in the budget for 2020-21 for the Education sector are appealing, viz: (a) Strengthening of 15000+ schools (b) Setting up of the Higher Education Commission (c) Fund allocation for the National Research Fund(NRF).

“It is the quality of primary education that is really hurting human and economic development. While India has over 15 lakh schools which are reportedly three times that of China’s, 40% of them are unviable with less than 50 students an