Higher education in India gets a Rs 8,000 crore boost

Government’s estimated schematic budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 is Rs 1.38 trillion. Photo: HT

Government’s estimated schematic budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 is Rs 1.38 trillion. Photo: HT

New Delhi: To increase investment in higher educational institutions, the Union Cabinet today approved a proposal for expanding the scope of Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) by expanding its capital base to Rs 10,000 crore and tasking it to mobilise Rs 1 trillion by 2022.

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government wants to increase investments in higher education, for which an announcement was made in the last budget and HEFA was established.

“At that time its authorised capital was Rs 2,000 crore and now it has been increased to Rs 10,000 crore,” Prasad said, adding that earlier central government universities and other new varsities didn’t get advantage of HEFA but in today’s cabinet meeting, it was decided that they can utilise this fund.

In his Union Budget 2018, the then finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced a new initiative of the government—‘‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE)”—to step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions. HEFA, a joint venture company of Canara Bank and Ministry of Human Resource Development which provides financial assistance for creation of educational infrastructure and R&D in India’s premier higher educational Institutions, was tasked to fund this initiative.

Government’s estimated schematic budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 is Rs 1.38 trillion against estimated expenditure of Rs 1.22 trillion in 2017-18.

[“Source-livemint”]

How to fund child’s education: Take a loan or use own funds?

Keeping your accumulated savings invested and taking an education loan instead can benefit you. Photo: Alamy

Keeping your accumulated savings invested and taking an education loan instead can benefit you. Photo: Alamy

Any big-ticket spending requires you to either have the required funds in place or a financing option. When dealing with long-term financial goals, such as higher education of children, you have the advantage of planning much in advance. Here’s how you can go about the planning.

Start early

A lot of parents have an inclination to send their children abroad for higher education, at least at the post-graduate level, said Suresh Sadagopan, a certified financial planner and founder of Ladder 7 Financial Advisories. “In that case, the planning needs to start really early. They would need a horizon of at least 10-15 years. When we talk of international education at post-graduate level today, most likely it is not going to happen below ₹40 lakh,” he said.

Click here for enlarge

How do you work towards saving that amount? Prakash Praharaj, founder, Max Secure Financial Planners, said that the future cost of a particular course needs to be calculated taking into account at least 10% annual inflation. “Then calculate the current assets and investments accumulated for these goals. Then the remaining gap for the aimed amount is to be filled through monthly SIPs over the years,” he said.

Starting an SIP of ₹5,000-7,000 in an equity fund for 15 years and increasing it by 10-20% each year could help. However, Sadagopan said, given the fact that there are so many ongoing expenses these days, including other loans, it becomes difficult for parents to put aside a huge amount for the child’s post-graduation alone.

Consider taking loan

Even if you have been working on creating a higher education corpus, you need to consider taking an education loan. At present, the total expenses for higher education abroad could be in the range of ₹1 crore per child, Sadagopan said.

“A realistic thing that parents need to realise is that the child’s higher education is not their only goal. Retirement is also an important goal and they need to be aware of the fact that you can get a loan for all other requirements but not for retirement,” he said.

Own funds versus loan

But if someone has already accumulated the required amount, why should another repayment burden be taken on? The answer lies in two things, Praharaj said. “A cost benefit analysis suggests that taking an education loan and keeping the accumulated amount invested works in your favour. Moreover, it also helps in developing a sense of responsibility in the student. The realisation that a repayment has to be done by them keeps them focussed,” he said.

The math of keeping your accumulated savings invested and taking an education loan instead suggests that taking a loan results in significant benefits. For instance, if ₹1 crore is kept invested and an education loan for the same amount is taken, at the end of nine years, including the repayment holiday on the education loan, the net benefit could be around ₹87 lakh (see graph).

This includes the tax saved on repayment of loan. Borrowers of education loans can claim deduction on the interest paid, though not on the principal amount. Also, unlike in home loans, there is no limit to the amount that can be claimed as deduction.

Sadagopan said it is better that the parents keep the money with themselves and let the child take the loan. “In future if the child is struggling to find a job and pay back, you can step in to help at that point,” he said.

[“Source-livemint”]

Education & You: On the syllabus for 2018

Buses are parked at First Student school bus transportation in Hempfield on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.

Updated 13 hours ago

The new year is off to a cold start, with hundreds of school delays and closings across the region. How has this impacted your first week back to school and work after the holidays? Tell us your story or send us other tips and feedback: [email protected] or 724-850-2867.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

1. School districts ave tough decision when temperatures plummet—and stay there

2. Schools in Allegheny, Westmoreland turn to digital career planning

3. New York governor calls for food pantries at public colleges

INSIDE THE CLASSROOM

First-grade teacher Debbie Walker, of Montour Elementary School, was browsing Pinterest when she came across a low-tech activity to help her students get excited about reading: Flashlight Fridays.

Every Friday, the first-graders spend a few minutes with a good book and read by flashlight. Walker says giving students the freedom to choose a comfortable spot in the room during the activity–at their desks, under a table or snuggled in a book boat–motivates them to focus.

WHY IT MATTERS

Here are the education stories of 2017 that stuck with TribLIVE Education Team reporters. Look for updates as we follow these stories into 2018.

Have an angle you think we should explore? Tell us: [email protected] or 724-850-2867.

1. EARLY ED: Early childhood education prep key to future success

Numerous studies have shown that preschool preparation is key to future success in a student’s academic career and beyond. While some school districts—like Derry Area in Westmoreland County—are finding ways to support their youngest learners,other parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties still lack access to quality preschool.

And in the City of Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto has plans for implementing universal pre-kindergarten in city schools.

2. K-12: Western Pennsylvania school districts experiment with later start times

The Centers for Disease Control has recommended later start times for schools since 2014. In the last few months, an increasing number of schools in the Greater Pittsburgh area—including those with start times as early as 7 a.m.—have started to take another look at that research.

Several districts, including Hampton and North Allegheny, are expected to move forward with reviewing policies in January.

3. K-12: Wave of threats rattle Western Pa. schools early in year

At least five districts in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties experienced or investigated rumors of violent threats targeting students or school buildings in the first seven weeks of the 2017-18 school year.

Though administrators and law enforcement do their best to keep students safe, challenges like social media can make it difficult to make a call on whether to close schools or increase security, and how to communicate concerns or threats to community members.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Don White (R-Indiana) is advocating for legislation that would allow teachers to carry concealed firearms in schools. This, he said, would give school districts more ways to keep students safe.

The bill has been sitting in the House Education Committee since June 2017.

4. K-12: Pittsburgh Public Schools to ban out-of-school suspensions before third grade

Pittsburgh Public Schools became the first school district in Pennsylvania to prohibit principals from suspending students in second grade or younger in December 2017.

Effective next September, the out-of-school suspension ban will apply only to students in preschool through second grade cited for nonviolent, “minor disciplinary infractions,” such as repeatedly showing up late, violating the school’s dress code or disrupting class.

5. K-12: The new state plan for education and changes to testing, school ratings

The Pennsylvania Department of Education released the proposed the new state plan for education in August, but it has yet to be approved by the federal Department of Education.

Long-term goals under the new plan include reducing the number of students who fail to graduate, increasing the number of students who achieve proficiency on PSSA and Keystone Exams and supporting English Language Learners in growth towards achieving English proficiency.

The state Department of Education also announced the development of the Future Ready PA Index, a new school report card that measures academic growth, school climate, graduation rates and readiness for opportunities after high school. The proposed tool would not give schools a letter grade or a numerical score.

Changes to the PSSA exam under the new plan could make the testing period shorter in 2018. While the testing overhaul received high marks from some parents and educators, others say the effect is likely to be limited.

6. HIGHER ED: Tuition-free California University program helps seniors get ahead

The 60+CAP program at California University of Pennsylvania offers free tuition to any Pennsylvania resident 60 or older, allowing some older adults to sharpen their job skills in a rapidly changing economy.

7. HIGHER ED: GI Bill a ‘cash cow’ for some Pennsylvania schools

Though the Post-9/11 GI Bill has helped some veterans at local colleges and universities continue their educations, the program has become a ‘cash cow’ for some Pennsylvania schools.

8. LOCAL: How lead in the water impacts Pittsburgh’s youngest residents

Pittsburgh’s water has a lead problem. The city’s youngest residents are especially vulnerable to the neurotoxin, which can damage the brain and lead to development, learning, hearing and speech problems.

Locating the source of the lead can be difficult. Last month, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority told the Tribune-Review it will start using Allegheny County Health Department data to prioritize lead line replacements at homes with children.

But the depth of lead problems at school buildings across the Greater Pittsburgh region is still unclear.

9. LOCAL: Pittsburgh’s bid for Amazon HQ2 is submitted; now the wait

Pittsburgh is one of many cities across the countries interested in scoring the Amazon HQ2 bid, which promises to bring 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment to the region.

Among Pittsburgh’s biggest advantages is the city’s large number of university graduates, officials have said.

We’ll be watching to see how Pittsburgh and other cities like Detroit, which touted proximity to Carnegie Mellon University in its pitch, fare. But even if Pittsburgh doesn’t win the bid, the city’s interest in attracting tech companies is likely to have an impact in K-12 and higher education as schools strive to prepare students for jobs in STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—fields.

10. NATIONAL: Greater Pittsburgh demonstrators to lawmakers: Save DACA

Demonstrators turned out to lawmakers’ offices in Pittsburgh and D.C. following the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for childhood Arrivals Program, known as DACA, in September.

Calls to preserve the program, which grants protection to individuals who arrived in the country as children and do not have legal status, also came from local leaders in higher education.

According to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, Pennsylvania is home to 5,889 DACA recipients. The program was started in 2012 under the Obama administration, but never offered participants any clear path to citizenship. Congress has yet to act on a solution.

[“Source-triblive”]

OpenStax Textbooks Teams With Blending Education, LLC to Introduce Content-Driven Microlearning

HOUSTONJan. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Blending Education, LLC today announced a partnership with OpenStax that will enhance and personalize the learning experience for students through microlearning developed from OpenStax’s free, open-source textbooks.

Blending Education, LLC, a provider of microlearning libraries and content-driven digital education services, will commence its partnership with OpenStax, a Rice University-based nonprofit organization that makes education more accessible for students, to provide greater access to quality, cost-effective course materials and advanced digital solutions.

“Microlearning is a way of delivering content in small, manageable units, and opens up new possibilities for cost-effective, personalized learning for each student. Blending Education is committed to driving student and teacher success, with OpenStax demonstrating that same commitment,” said Veronica Volz, Co-Founder of Blending Education, LLC.

“The new partnership announced today will open up opportunities for all schools, colleges and universities to benefit from the microlearning and blended learning services we provide,” added Ian F Simpson, Co-Founder of Blending Education, LLC.

Both Co-Founders expressed their joy in recent results in immersing teaching staff and students to test the effectiveness of this system. “The results have been positive, and the impact already felt in field testing this system for the past three years has proven its potency,” said Ian.

Blending Education, LLC helps educators, administrators, instructional designers and anyone else interested in teaching and learning to easily implement blended learning into their course, program, faculty or school. Their microlearning products are self-grading, mobile-responsive and save time and effort. Instructors simply upload them to their own Learning Management System (LMS) or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in just a few steps. Students can then access these on any smartphone, tablet or computer for “anytime, anywhere” learning.

The measurement of learning outcomes, recordable data and secure analytics offers immediate, live insights into how well each student is performing, and the unique style of delivering content in short bursts aids retention and promotes self-directed learning. Microlearning provides instant feedback to students and eases the workload teachers face by automatically reporting students’ grades back to the institution’s own learning management system.

And unlike most other content-driven platforms, their microlearning products work within the school or university’s own LMS, so there is no learning curve, subscription cost, or “per-student” fees. Each microlearning product can be used and re-used freely year after year on unlimited students, resulting in an ultimate cost-savings. Keeping student data within the confines of the institutional LMS also affords educators and administrators peace of mind, knowing that it is safe and secure.

By using Blending Education’s OpenStax-based resources, schools, colleges and universities will gain affordable solutions and analytical insights that will help increase student success. Additionally, the Company will open up a wider distribution of OpenStax’s free textbooks through their promotion throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.

“We look forward to seeing how our partnership with Blending Education brings affordable and powerful personalized learning technology to students in the UK and Europe,” said Daniel Williamson, managing director of OpenStax. “Our growing ecosystem of resources is helping us broaden our reach and improve access to higher education for more students.”

The Company has been aware of the incredible impact that OpenStax has had on the broader educational community recently, and the co-founders of Blending Education are pleased to be working with such an innovative company. As the company continues to grow its digital solutions, relationships with organizations such as OpenStax uniquely position Blending Education to act as a complete support system in increasing student demands and retention.

About Blending Education, LLC & OpenStax

Blending Education, LLC offers professional blended learning services and a broad catalog of digital titles in core subjects. The company acts as a strategic partner to drive student success, provide value and support to students and faculty, and create loyalty and retention while supporting the goals of academic partners.

General information on Blending Education, LLC can be obtained by visiting the Company’s website: https://blending.education

Blending Education will be exhibiting at BETT Jan. 24-27, 2018 at ExCeL, London, England. BETT is the largest Educational and EdTech Expo outside the U.S.

OpenStax is a nonprofit initiative of Rice University and is made possible by the generous support of philanthropic partners, including Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Charitable Foundation, Ann and John Doerr, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google Inc., the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, Charles Koch Foundation, Leon Lowenstein Foundation Inc., the Maxfield Foundation, Michelson 20MM Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Jumee Yhu and David E. Park III, Brian D. Patterson USA-International Foundation, and the Bill and Stephanie Sick Fund. For more information, visit http://openstax.org.

[“Source-prnewswire”]