TOWARDS QUALITY EDUCATION
Our young generation is the helmsman of the country and they are also the nation builders of the future. Therefore, empowering today’s young generation means empowering India’s future. Keeping this in mind, a lot of emphasis has been laid on five things related to the education sector in the 2022 budget.
First: Universalization of Quality Education: Important decisions have been made to expand our education system, improve its quality and increase the capacity of the education sector.
Second: Skill Development: There should be a digital skilling ecosystem in the country. At a time when Industry 4.0 is being discussed, attention has been paid to skill development as per the demand of the industry and to improve industry linkage.
The third important aspect is: Urban planning and design: It is necessary to integrate the ancient experience and knowledge of India with our education today.
The fourth important aspect is: Internationalization: World-class foreign universities should come to India and institutes associated with fin-tech should be encouraged to invest in our industrial areas, like GIFT City.
The fifth important aspect is: AVGC, i.e. Animation Visual Effects Gaming Comic: It has a huge global market with immense employment potential. Emphasis has been laid to harness Indian talent in this regard. This year’s budget will go a long way in implementing the new National Education Policy.
I was stressing the digital future of the country long before the advent of Corona. Some people questioned our efforts in connecting villages with optical fiber, keeping the cost of data to a minimum and improving the connectivity infrastructure. But everyone has seen the importance of these efforts during the pandemic. It is digital connectivity that kept our education system afloat in this time of the global pandemic.
We are witnessing the rapid decline in the digital divide in India. Innovations are ensuring inclusion in our country. And now the country is moving towards integration even beyond inclusion.
Many announcements have been made in this year’s budget to strengthen the foundation of the novelty that we want to bring to the education system in this decade. Digital education is part of the broader vision of India moving towards a digital future. Therefore, educational infrastructure like e-Vidya, One Class One Channel, Digital Labs and Digital University is going to help the youth a lot. This is an attempt to provide better solutions for education to all, be it villages, poor, Dalit, backward, tribal community, in the socio-economic setup of India.
National Digital University is a unique and unprecedented step of its kind in the education system of India. I can see great potential in the digital university that can completely address the problem of seats in our country. You can imagine a huge change in the education world when there will be unlimited seats for every subject. This digital university will prepare the youth for the current and future needs of learning and re-learning. I request the Ministry of Education, UGC, AICTE and all the stakeholders to ensure the early start of this digital university. It is our combined responsibility to ensure that this digital university runs with international standards from the very beginning.
The intent of the government to build institutions of global standard in the country itself and the policy framework for the same is before you. Now you have to accomplish this intent with your efforts. Today is also World Mother Language Day. Education in the mother tongue is linked to the mental development of children. Medical and technical education in local languages has been started in many states.
Now it is the special responsibility of all academicians to speed up the creation of the best content and its digital version in local Indian languages. Work has to be done to make the E-content accessible in Indian languages to all through Internet, mobile phone, TV and radio.
We are also developing such courses in Indian sign language which are empowering Divyang youth. It is very important to keep improving it continuously. We have to emphasize training teachers online for digital tools and how to deliver digital content in a better way.
Dynamic skilling is very important for a self-reliant India and also in terms of global talent demand. We have to prepare our demographic dividend fast in view of the speed with which the old job roles are changing. Therefore, there is a need for academia and industry to work together. This is the thinking behind the announcement of the Digital Ecosystem for Skilling and Livelihood (DESH STACK e-Portal) and e-Skilling Labs in the budget.
We are putting a lot of focus on industries such as tourism, drone, animation and cartoon and defence. We need trained manpower for the existing industries and start-ups associated with these sectors. The formation of a task force for the development of animation, visual effects, gaming and comic sectors is going to be of great help in this regard. Similarly, urban planning and designing is the need of the country and also an opportunity for the youth. India is moving rapidly towards transforming its urban landscape in the virtuous period of independence. Therefore, the country expects institutions like AICTE to ensure continuous improvement in the education and training related to it.
Your inputs will be useful for the country on how to empower the campaign of AatmaNirbhar Bharat through the education sector. I am sure we will be able to meet the budget targets faster with our combined efforts. There is only primary education in villages. But experiences show that we can ensure good quality education even in villages through smart class, animation and distance education or through our new concept One Class, One Channel. There is a provision for this in the budget. How do we implement this?
It is not expected today to discuss how the budget should be, because it is over. Now it is expected of you to implement the budget proposals seamlessly and as soon as possible. You must have studied the budget. You are in this field. We should strive to create a good roadmap in a time-bound manner by combining the requirements of your work, the education department and the skill department. You must have noticed that we have preponed the budget by about a month.
Earlier the budget used to be presented on 28th February. Now it has been advanced to 1st February, so that every arrangement should be in place before we start implementing the budget proposals from 1st April itself. Our time should not be wasted. And I would like you to (contribute) a lot to it. I understand there are some issues which are not related to the education department. Now the country has decided to move a large number of Sainik Schools towards the Public-Private Partnership model. What should be the structure of the Sainik Schools and what would be the Public-Private Partnership model? The defence ministry is going to provide the budget for this. What kind of special training for teachers would be required in the new Sainik Schools because it involves the physical part as well? How can we do that?
Similarly, it is regarding sports. There has been a special attraction towards sports in our country after this year’s Olympics. It is not only the subject of the world of skills, but it is also the subject of the world of sports because it has a huge role in techniques and technology. We can also contemplate our role in it.
Have we ever pondered why our students are forced to study abroad when there are important educational institutions like Nalanda, Taxila and Vallabhi in our country? Is it good for us? Unnecessary money is being spent and families are taking loans for children going out of our country. Can we take care of our children by bringing the world’s universities to our country so that they can study in our own environment and with less expenditure? That is, how to prepare a blueprint for our pre-primary to post-graduation which should be compatible with the 21st century?
If anyone feels that the budget could have been better, we will think about it next year. Right now, it is pertinent to implement the budget in a better way so that there is an optimum outcome and not output. For example, those associated with Atal Tinkering Labs may be different, but they are connected with one or the other education system. When we talk about innovation, we should see how to modernize these Atal Tinkering Labs. There are so many issues in the context of national education in the budget. We want to implement the budget immediately and lay the foundation of the ‘Amrit Kal’ in the Amrit Mahotsav of independence.
When I emphasize “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas” then ‘Sabka Prayas’ (efforts of all) is very important in the budget. Budget is not just a statement of accounts. We can make a big difference with our limited resources if we can utilize the budget in a proper way and timely manner. It is possible only when there is clarity in everyone’s mind regarding the budget.
(Excerpts from Prime Minister’s recent address at webinar on positive impact of Union Budget on Education)