HYDERABAD: With the Union Budget likely to be presented on February 1, ed-tech experts are rooting for policies that will ramp up the sector in the years to come. Reduction in the GST slab for digital education, incentives for skill development and increase in budgetary allocation for the education sector are some of the major expectations of the industry.
Highlighting that the budget reserved for education reforms have been constantly declining over the past years, experts said that at 3.7 per cent of the total budget, education has been one of the least valued sectors of the government, particularly in comparison to the developing countries that spend over seven per cent of their total education budget, despite high literacy rates.
“Currently, ed-tech is taxed at 18 per cent GST which limits affordability to high-income groups. Education is not a luxury. In fact, online learning is the only way to cater to individual needs at a fraction of the cost. This should be made tax-free to lower after-school education costs for students,” said Zishaan Hayath, CEO and co-founder of Toppr.com.
The recently-released Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) pointed out the poor learning outcomes among both government and private school students.
The edu-tech firms feel that could be improved by digitising schools at a mass level and furthering support to early-stage edu-tech industries.
“The government should move educational services to a no GST or the five per cent slab,” said Shobhit Bhatnagar from Gradeup.
Beas Dev Ralhan, CEO and Founder of NextEducation, said that to tackle the dearth of a teacher, the government should take up initiatives like Teacher Professional Development courses on the digital platform Diksha.