The Union Budget 2017-18 with its very specific focus on Higher Education is a welcome relief to this sector. The enhanced focus on skill development, with over 100 India International Skills Centres established across the nation and the Rs 2,200 crore allocated for vocational training will help bridge the skill gap among the youth. The Finance Minister has rightly shifted his focus on the youth as we stand as the nation with the largest youth population in the world with 356 million youth.
The introduction of a system of measuring annual learning is a progressive step attempting to improving the quality of education. We are happy to hear that the Government resonates our focus on STEM education. With the IET Faraday programme, which was successfully launched in September 2015, we have been working to encourage an ecosystem of curiosity among both students and teachers, to enhance the adoption of STEM education in India. We are glad that we now have the Government’s support for such programmes and the launch of e-learning platforms such as SWAMYAM will ensure the quality of our students is at par with their global counterparts.
The grant of an autonomous status to colleges and institutions based on accreditation is a master stroke by the FM to ensure that we, today, do not compete internally for quality standards but have a more universal approach. The International Accreditation is a measure of quality and benchmarking for educational institutions ensuring their curriculum is at par with the international colleges across the world. As a signatory of the Washington accord, the IET accreditation will be a major value add to engineering colleges across India. We have always felt that the concept of accreditation has been undermined in India and we would love to support the Government in their initiative through our accreditation workshops organised to increase the awareness and help institutions prepare for accreditations.
Overall, the Union budget 2017-18 is very promising with a strong grasp on the nation’s growth for tomorrow with its streamlined focus on the youth and is in line with the Government’s vision at making India an education hub.
The author, Shekar Sanyal is Director and Country Head, the IET.