“2020 has been an unforgiving year and among the many industries severely affected by the pandemic, the education sector and learning is one of them. The pillars of primary as well as higher education was shaken abruptly resulting in learning losses particularly to those who lack digital access. The pandemic has once again underscored the digital divide that exists in this country. A lot of schools especially run by government in rural belts, small towns got badly impacted due to the yawning digital divide. Government schools where 80-90% of Indian students’ study are some of the biggest sufferers as students do not have the paraphernalia to attend online classes. Therefore, the first and foremost issue that needs to be addressed in this upcoming Budget is allocation of funds to develop digital infrastructure across the country, especially rural India, to bridge the gap between rural and urban and there is no inequality. Government must evaluate the situation on ground and spend on assets for long term that includes smart classroom, Internet connection and upskilling of teachers in line with NEP 2020. Teachers also need to adapt to the changing pedagogy and restructure their teaching methodologies. Meticulous budgetary guidelines need to be set for the implementation NEP 2020 as many things need to be restructured for its execution. While NEP 2020 focuses on raising the quality of education however upgradation of infrastructure of public higher education and professional institutions is key to achieving the desired outcomes. The Union budget 2021 should give guidelines on the ‘NEP implementation plan’ and further strengthen the focus and investment in Edu-tech to enhance experiential and immersive learning and reinforce the skill development process at par with the global education standards. One of the main highlights of NEP was turning technical institutes multi-disciplinary and to make higher education more flexible which will require development of infrastructures, in terms of, number of classrooms, number of teachers, new campuses, bringing in foreign faculty and more. The current public expenditure on education in India has been around 4.4% of GDP. This needs to be significantly increased to 6-7% of GDP with a combined contribution of Centre and State governments. Similarly, if we want to give due importance to research, the research and innovation investment, which currently stands at about 0.8% of GDP needs to be enhanced to at least 2% of GDP. FDI in education is another important aspect the forthcoming budget needs to address. To take advantage of the technological advancements to the fullest, FDI is essential. NEP targets a lot of content creation in local and regional languages as well, which demands internet connectivity and FDI can be an able differentiator in that.” – Prof Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur
About IIM Sambalpur: Indian Institute of Management Sambalpur (IIM-S) is one of the most promising and dynamic management institutions among the new generation IIMs of the country located in Sambalpur, Odisha, India. IIM Sambalpur was established by MHRD, GOI in 2015 and was declared as an Institute of National Importance as per the IIM 2017 Act. The Institute is already taking positive steps since its inception as a place for Entrepreneurial Innovation and Experiential Learning. IIM-S currently offers full time Master in Business Administration (MBA) and PhD programs and more courses to be added in near future. The Institute outscores all other IIM’s in terms of its gender diversity and its unique experiential learning pedagogy called “Flipped Classroom”. The institute became a pioneer among IIMs of the country in conducting part of their admission process and term examination through an online proctoring system and the institute will conduct all their examinations through the same online proctoring system henceforth. The foundation stone of the permanent campus of IIM Sambalpur was laid by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi on 2nd January 2021.