Union Budget 2022-23: There should be an elaborate New Education Policy for implementation at the grassroots level
Over the past two years, all stakeholders of the education sector have been impacted since the onset of the pandemic. The last two Budgets have spoken about the reforms required by the sector. The main expectation from Union Budget 2022 is for a concrete execution plan for various elements of the New Education Policy (NEP), Skill India Initiate, and for the immediate challenges faced by the sector to be addressed.
While the New Education Policy provided a long-awaited framework for online learning and assessments, there is now a need to strengthen and elaborate the policy for implementation at the grass-roots level and provide the necessary budgetary allocation to support in terms of quality education as well as infrastructure.
Execution plan for skill development
An execution plan for the Rs 3,000 crore which was earmarked for skill development and benchmarking assessments is also awaited. This will boost the job market through effective corporate assessments and hiring, especially for the job roles most impacted during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 experience has led to a paradigm shift in promoting the holistic development of human resources for improving outcomes and raising productivity, rather than only boosting specific skillsets. In this regard, more focus needs to be laid on the Skill India Mission launched in 2015 to ensure that the world’s to-be largest working-age population is trained to be productive across industries and help boost the country’s economy.
More action awaited on teacher skilling, assessments
The initial drafts for the National Professional Standards for Teachers have been encouraging. It will be wonderful to see more action in this space with respect to teacher skilling and assessments. This can greatly help bridge the shortfall of quality teachers within the country across the spectrum while maintaining consistency in delivering quality education across the length and breadth of the country.
The plan for National Testing Academy to offer biannual high-quality common, as well as specialised aptitude tests, needs to ensure that the rubber meets the road soon. The setting up of a National Recruitment Agency (NRA) for a common entrance test for all non-gazetted posts is a positive step for the job-seeking youth of the country. We look forward to scaling up these NRA tests starting in 2022.
Technology will play a key role in the efficient and effective conduct of these examinations through modern proctoring capabilities. Assessment platforms have evolved significantly over the past two years to provide best-in-class learner experience and proctoring capabilities.
Partnerships between formal education institutes, tech partners
The revamped assessment systems for school students incorporating modern pedagogy and tools are slated to be initiated this year, and we are excited about the possibilities that it will open up. This will initiate deep partnerships between formal education institutes and technology partners for a synergised play of delivering quality education and benchmarking assessments within the country.
The right steps and measures from this year’s Budget will go a long way in setting a strong technological foundation for the education and skilling landscape of India.
The author is CEO, MeritTrac Services. Views are personal.