Nirmala Sitharaman, the Indian Finance Minister announced the allotting of Rs.99,300 crore entirely for the education sector during the announcement of Union Budget 2021 on February 1, 2021. Subsequently, she announced that 150 higher educational institutions (HEIs) shall start apprenticeship courses in the financial year 2020-21. Along with degree/diploma courses, carious urban local bodies shall provide relevant internship opportunities to engineers who just graduated from institutes across the country. The primary motive is to unite student skill sets with employer standards.
The Union Budget 2020 chalked out Rs.99,300 crore to the education sector of the country. The sector is representative of three themes namely Aspiration, Development and Compassion. The finance minister acknowledged that by 2030, Indian shall have the largest workforce. Hence, for addressing the issue of employability of students, Rs 3,000 crore has also been proposed solely for the skill-development purpose of students to increase their employability chances and acquire suitable jobs.
The Finance Minister also introduced a new education policy that shall play be instrumental in reforming the education system and students’ employability. According to the education policy, 150 Higher Education Institutes shall provide apprenticeship-based degree or diploma courses in the financial year 2020-21. The minister also proposed that a program shall be organised among local urban bodies across India to provide relevant internship opportunities to fresh engineers for a 1-year period. The reform shall result in industrial readiness and acquisition of new-age skill set.
The budget 2020 also proposed the digitalisation of education system. Entirely online programs at the degree-level shall be offered by top 100 ranking institutes for students belonging to the deprived sections of the society. These institutions are mentioned in the framework of National Institute Ranking. Similarly, under the ‘Study in India’ programme, an examination called ‘Ind-SAT’ is proposed to be organised in Asian and African countries. This exam shall aim at evaluating foreign students who have received scholarships for studying in Indian Higher Education institutions.
The Union Budget 2020 also proposed to leverage ECBs (External Commercial Borrowings) and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) for financing educational infrastructure. This shall be done to provide higher quality education and support Indian institutions in matching world-class education standards. Apart from these proposals, other reforms suggested in the budget included special bridged courses for nurses, paramedical staff and caregivers, national mission on quantum technologies, various courses for resident doctors.
The primary motive of the budget was to increase the employability of students and giving them relevant skillset. For this, along with apprenticeship, the government also has proposed internship programs across the country for fresh engineering graduates.