Expectations from Union Budget 2023-2024 for the education sector

India is at a juncture where the significance of design is being realized immensely. With the latest onslaught of digital technologies, the industry has realized that while skills like coding are replaceable by AI, there’s still no substitute for creative thinking and innovation. Design has emerged as the new value-adding activity across all verticals while at the same time, the shortage of design talent has become apparent. As design education is new to India, strong government support is needed to meet the burgeoning demand for designers. With the upcoming union budget, there are a few areas that the World University of Design hopes the government will be touching. States the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta:

– Government must look into creating a National Design Research Fund to support the development of new design technologies and methods and to attract top talent to the field. This could be implemented easily through R&D departments of various ministries that can support projects financially and by widening their scope from STEM to STEAM. This could further help in creating a better faculty base, and infrastructure and support students to carry out assignments effectively.

– The Education Ministry could introduce a slew of measures for Design-Faculty Development. Since the shortage of qualified faculty members is the most significant challenge facing design education in India, the first step would be to bring in foreign faculty that are qualified and experienced in their field, to teach the first few batches as also to train new faculty. Institutions can be incentivized for a limited period of say 5 years to hire foreign faculty members. A foreign faculty hiring fund can be created to be used to support the hiring of foreign faculty members by providing financial assistance for their travel and living expenses. Streamlining visa and immigration processes as also giving a tax incentive on the salaries paid to foreign faculty members will make it easier for institutions to hire them and will encourage more foreign faculty members to come to India to teach.

– A CSR-like Tax incentive for companies collaborating with design institutions across verticals would be highly encouraging for design students to enhance their exposure and employability.

– Design education is one of the most expensive streams. Thus I’d suggest increasing the scholarships and grants for students pursuing design education, to make it more accessible for individuals from diverse backgrounds and financial backgrounds. Doing so will allow real talent from low-income families to seize relevant opportunities.

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