Education in India has been a costly affair of late. The schools have to raise fees owing to the infrastructure and facilities they provide in order to impart quality education. However, the government has tried a lot to strike a balance and regularise the fee structure but it hasn't had significant reflection on the outcome due to various factors. The increasing cost of education has an adverse impact on the overall education scenario for all the stakeholders. Unaffordability forces Parents to drop out their wards or to change schools and send their children to a school offering relatively less facilities while for the schools operating equilibrium is breached if they try to offer quality education at subsidised cost which eventually leads to the closure and shutting down.
Apart from this, penetration of quality education to the remotest place also gets hindered due to increased cost for all. This leaves a heavy dent on the entire education system, thus impacting the ambitious goal of ‘Education for All’. The online education has shown some promise and tried to act as a saviour for the education sector by enabling education to the students even at the remotest corner of the country. This even became quite successful but it couldn’t be leveraged by all the spheres of the society.
The Covid induced lockdown increased the woes for the education sector as the schools were closed for almost a year and not everyone was ready to embrace the online education due to various reasons like unavailability of online education infrastructure, lack of training, poor internet connection and most importantly cost. Despite all the challenges, edtech penetrated almost all the sections of the society and edtech companies spearheaded the initiative of enabling continuous education through various means it
has not been a cakewalk for all. Along with this, the taxation also plays a spoilsport for the edtech sector as 18 percent GST is imposed on the services they are providing resulting in the increment of the cost of education.
This significantly calls for the immediate government support in terms of special allocation of funds coupling it with strengthening of digital infrastructure and reduction in the GST. The stakeholders of the edtech sector firmly believe that reduction in the GST will have a long term impact on the overall education sector. It will encourage the learners to take up online education. The government should come up with the similar policies which it adopted for the penetration of the BFSI segment so as to promote digital services and financial inclusion in the country. Only conventional school education has been exempted of GST while the innovative and tinkering-based edtech sector is burdened with 18 percent tax. GST reduction will not only encourage more players to come in but will also help in ensuring last-mile reach. It will make the quality digital education accessible to all.
Students are the future of any country and all the governments work in the direction to empower them with education so that they can contribute in the better future of the country
Sunit Gajbhiye, Co-founder & CBO, Financepeer
Apart from easing out the GST, the government should also look for special allocation of funds and develop some strategies for providing quality digital education through the Private Public Partnership (PPP) model.
The future of the edtech sector seems promising in a country like India as recently it has seen an enormous growth and is expected to be worth about $18 billion by next year and if various reports are to be believed it is forecasted to grow at 20 percent over the period of five years. But, the government hand holding is of extreme importance so that more players with better ideas and innovation can be encouraged to enter the segment and make the difference.
Bringing down the GST will help in augmenting a culture of up-skilling among Indians which is the need of the hour for the country to maintain an edge in technical skills.
Students are the future of any country and all the governments work in the direction to empower them with education so that they can contribute in the better future of the country. Like it is advised, the most seminal returns are those that would be gained from investments made in them. Therefore, in order to make our students ready for the future, it is important to support the edtech sector which will also help in strengthening the overall education scenario in the country.