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Many states in India, including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar are actively adopting online fee payment systems. Driven by increasing digital penetration, and policy initiatives like Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan (VISAKA), the idea of online fee payment is no longer a fabrication of the imagination.
In the near future, we are expected to witness an evolution less-cash education ecosystem, rather than a switch to cashless schools and colleges. A cashless education system is still a distant dream.
Pros of Cashless fee payment in the education ecosystem: No illicit activities, saves money and environment, convenient, and money tracking
Cons of cashless fee payment in the education ecosystem: Security breach.
Case study in the transition to cashless in India, driven by governmental scheme, Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan (VISAKA).
Can Money be ever replaced with Technology in Education Setups?
Money is an evolving technology that has been transformed from trade to cash to cheque to online banking. While cash will remain the common payment instrument in the near education ecosystem, modern and technology-rich factors like unified payment portal are encouraging society to reassess its ubiquity. Some schools and colleges support cashless operations, arguing that it brings transparency and zero error in the complete online fee payment management process. Others are in favor of cash only, advocating that these systems can cause security breach.
In the crux, we are likely approaching a less-cash future in the education setups, not a completely cashless future. A migration to a cashless institution depends on several factors, including the financial health of the school/ college/ university, technology integrated, and many more.
The following discussion shows the pros and cons of a cashless education ecosystem, an analysis of states readiness, and a case study of India.
Fee Payment Trends in India
Despite the inception of Digital India, demonetization, and VISAKA, global cash use remains high. A large number of schools, colleges, and universities promote cash payment because it provides anonymity. According to a 2017 report, cash is still expected to remain a significant payment method in the near future in the education sector. However, the ease and facility of making the payment instantly will encourage people to move to digital payments.
Many states in India, including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar are actively adopting online fee payment systems. A study shows that more than 1000 plus schools in Bihar itself has integrated online fee payment system. Policy initiatives like Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan (VISAKA) have created awareness among people and many educational institutes are understanding the significant benefits of e-payment.
Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar launched ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’ and appealed to the faculty and especially young students to encourage, create awareness and motivate all people around them to use a digitally enabled cashless economic system for transfer of fund. Union Minister emphasized that technology can be leveraged to bring financial digital literacy and a step forward toward the digital economy.
Pros of Cashless Fee Payment
No illicit activities: The obscurity and non-traceability of paper currency encourage corrupt activities. An e-payment system brings transparency and eliminates corrupt activities.
Saves money and environment: Cashless system cuts down the need and cost of paper, and thus reduces deforestation and saves the environment.
Convenient: The ease of making instant payment is probably the biggest motivator to go digital. With the advent of online fee payment systems, one can avoid standing in long queue to deposit fee of their children.
Tracking money: Money received via online fee payment can be easily tracked with a simple click. This allows schools, colleges and universities to keep a track of all the money and manage their budget effectively.
Cons of Cashless Fee Payment
In addition to myriad potential benefits, this transition might be accompanied by a security breach concern. A cashless fee payment system may increase the risks to personal and financial security. A security net is essential in an online fee payment system. So, educational institutes should integrate reliable systems to avoid any security breach.
Spotlight on India’s Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan (VISAKA) Campaign
With the inception of VISAKA, the education sector is whole-heartedly managing their operations in line with the digital era. Now, there are no longer tiring, time-consuming long queues to pay the fees. Online payment process has saved the precious time of parents, students and academic staff as well. It has also helped excluding all kinds of illegitimacies in the admission process and has nurtured transparency.
Cashless transactions are a boon to all educational institutes because they save time, efforts and complexities in the traditional fee payment process. It also helps to prepare online reports and analytics within a few seconds that otherwise consumes enormous time.
Online fee payment also reduces the concept of donations or capitation fee. It can reduce management quota seat /back channel admission process. It can save the cost of administration and the whole education process may get simpler.
Many states are proactively embracing digital payment in their schools, colleges, and universities. However, making campus completely digitized is still a distant dream. Together, we can make it possible!