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Budget 2022: Edtech sector urges govt to ramp up digital infra

Budget 2022: Edtech sector urges govt to ramp up digital infra

The edtech sector has adopted new technologies and methods to meet the growing demand for at-home learning. In Budget 2022, the industry seeks assistance from the government for its expansion.

Ramping up of digital infrastructure is the top demand of the edtech sector. Ramping up of digital infrastructure is the top demand of the edtech sector.

As students and teachers resort to digital learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the education sector has rapidly transitioned in the last two years. The edtech sector has adopted new technologies and methods to meet the growing demand for at-home learning. In Budget 2022, the industry seeks assistance from the government for its expansion.

"Edtech has seen a significant boom in the last year. There are factors that still need to be reconsidered by the government in the upcoming Union Budget that can help boost the industry, which is the future of education," said Madhu Agrawal, co-founder of Clever Harvey, a career exploration and acceleration startup.

Ramping up of digital infrastructure is the top demand of the edtech sector. Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities struggled when it came to online education due to infrastructure challenges. A lack of good internet speed, digital devices or computer systems posed challenges for online courses. The edtech ecosystem expects the government to make services accessible for both applicants and edtech firms.

"The government should consider improved internet connectivity infrastructure across the nation that promotes last-mile access, affordable 5G devices, and most importantly helps EdTech companies with strong data protection laws," said Shashank Pandey, co-founder, ConveGenius, a social edtech startup. 

Edtech industry expects the government to recognise the potential of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Science and engage the youth in training sessions at the grassroots level to build up capacities and acumen for new-age tech domains in educational institutions.

Pandey adds that although the government has taken numerous laudable steps to build an e-learning ecosystem, "India still requires a lot to educate its youth. The upcoming union budget may open doors to the facilitators working diligently to bring educational equity to this #NayaBharat."

Further, the industry's key demand is lowering GST on online learning and resources for a fair and equivalent system for offline and online education providers. For instance, a textbook is charged 5 per cent GST whereas the same book in an online format is charged 18 per cent GST.

"According to us, one of the key areas of concern for all edtech companies is the disparity in the GST treatment of print educational solutions vs digital educational solutions. We've seen the potential of online educational material increasing access to education and the quality of education. We expect this GST to be reduced so that more people can invest in digital education," adds Madhu Agrawal.

In addition, the edtech players have taken a keen interest in the National Education Policy (NEP) introduced by the government in 2020 and want to grab on its potential. They say that the focus should be on implementing the National Education Policy 2020. India needs a road map of 10 years that will articulate the way forward to implement NEP 2020. 

"Building a solid digital education ecosystem that enables skilling is a sure-fire way to combat the current pandemic. The NEP-2020 initiated significant changes in the education system of our country - it created a niche for edtech, permitted flexibility in the learning curve, and emphasised blended learning," says Pandey.

Vaibhav Singh, co-founder of Leap Scholar said that they expect the 2022 Budget to have a greater focus on the edtech sector as a whole, with significant investments to enhance greater access to robust and improved digital infrastructure and also better tax incentives.

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