Hits and misses in the budget for education

03rd February 2023
Hits and misses in the budget for education

February 3,2023: Sumeet Mehta, Cofounder & CEO, LEAD , India largest School Edtech Companycomments  on the hits and  misses in the education budget 2023:

Eliminating GST on supply of goods including TVs/ tablets for digital education and services
National Education Policy 2020 recommends technology use in teaching and learning. The emphasis is on promoting multimodal learning so that high quality resources can be made available to all students irrespective of location, background or other demographic factors.  This can be made possible by increasing the penetration of digital infrastructure in schools and educational institutions.  Digital tools and content in smart classrooms can significantly improve students’ learning.  Elimination of GST on the supply of goods (currently ~28%) including TVs/ tablets for digital education can significantly reduce the tax impact on overall costs for schools and parents.  Moreover, GST exemption on services used for teaching and learning applications and content (currently ~18%) will also help in making education more affordable and foster the implementation of NEP.
GST exemption on printing of school textbooks and assessment material
Printing of school textbooks attracts a GST of 18% for the printers. The GST levied is passed on to schools who then pass it on to students as school fees.  Exemption on this GST can make these books more affordable for low-income parents. For the same reason, printing and service of assessments/ examination papers that are used as part of the curricula in schools should also be exempted from GST. 
Policy support for Public-Private Partnership models
The first Amrit Kaal Budget’s focus on quality of education for all is progressive and encouraging. I welcome the focus on teacher training and upskilling students with Industry 4.O skills.  However, while initiatives such as a National Digital Library and support for Eklavya Model Residential Schools are steps in the right direction to address the massive learning loss from the pandemic, well-designed PPPs are the need of the hour to create innovation at scale for millions of school-going students in India. This will make high-quality learning more accessible and affordable, especially for students in small towns who lack resources; and will result in long-lasting impact at scale.