India holds an important place in the global education industry. India has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world with 850 universities (as of April 2018) and 42,026 colleges. A total of 35.7 million people were enrolled in higher education institutes in 2016-17. However, there is still a lot of potential for further development in the education system.
Moreover, the aim of the government to raise its current gross enrolment ratio to 30 per cent by 2020 will also boost the growth of the distance education in India.
The education sector in India is poised to witness major growth in the years to come as India will have world’s largest tertiary-age population and second largest graduate talent pipeline globally by the end of 2020. The education sector in India is estimated at US$ 91.7 billion in FY18 and is expected to reach US$ 101.1 billion in FY19E.
Higher education system in India has undergone rapid expansion. Currently, India’s higher education system is the largest in the world enrolling over 70 million students while in less than two decades, India has managed to create additional capacity for over 40 million students. By 2025, the segment is expected to reach US$ 35.03 billion.
The country has become the second largest market for e-learning after the US. The sector is expected to reach US$ 1.96 billion by 2021 with around 9.5 million users.
The total amount of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) inflow into the education sector in India stood at US$ 1.67 billion from April 2000 to December 2017, according to data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
The education and training sector in India has witnessed some major investments and developments in the recent past. Some of them are:
- Indian education sector witnessed 18 merger and acquisition deals worth US$ 49 million in 2017.
- The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India is also planning to raise around Rs 1 lakh crore (US$ 15.52 billion) from private companies and high net worth individuals to finance improvement of education infrastructure in the country.
- India has signed a loan agreement with World Bank under ‘Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion’ (SANKALP) Project to enhance institutional mechanisms for skills development.
- Singapore is going to open its first skill development centre in Assam, which will provide vocational training to youth in the region.
Some of the other major initiatives taken by the Government of India are:
- The allocation for school education under the Union Budget 2018-19 is expected to increase by 14 per cent, to focus on accelerating existing schemes and quality improvement.
- In order to boost the Skill India Mission, two new schemes, Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE), have been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), Government of India, with an outlay of Rs 6,655 crore (US$ 1.02 billion) and will be supported by the World Bank.
- The Government of India has signed a Financing Agreement with the World Bank for IDA credit of US$ 125 million for the “Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement Operation (STRIVE) Project”.
- NITI Aayog is launching the Mentor India Campaign which will bring leaders and students together at more than 900 Atal Tinkering Labs in India, as part of the Atal Innovation Mission. As of June 2018, 5,441 schools have been selected across India for establishing Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM).
- The Government of India will spend around Rs 20,000 crore (US$ 3.10 billion) to build six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) by March 2024, of which Rs 7,000 crore (US$ 1.08 billion) will be spent by March 2020.
- The Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat (EBSB) campaign is undertaken by Ministry of Human Resource Development to increase engagement between states, union territories, central ministries, educational institutions and general public.
- Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi launched the Skill India initiative – ‘Kaushal Bharat, Kushal Bharat’. Under this initiative, the government has set itself a target of training 400 million citizens by 2022 that would enable them to find jobs. The initiatives launched include various programmes like: Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, Skill Loan scheme, and the National Skill Development Mission.
In 2030, it is estimated that India’s higher education will:
- Adopt transformative and innovative approaches in Higher education.
- Have an augmented Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 50 per cent
- Reduce state-wise, gender based and social disparity in GER to 5 per cent.
- Emerge as a single largest provider of global talent, with one in four graduates in the world being a product of the Indian higher education system.
- Be among the top 5 countries in the world in terms of research output with an annual R&D spent of US$ 140 billion.
- Have more than 20 universities among the global top 200.
Various government initiatives are being adopted to boost the growth of distance education market, besides focusing on new education techniques, such as E-learning and M-learning.
Education sector has seen a host of reforms and improved financial outlays in recent years that could possibly transform the country into a knowledge haven. With human resource increasingly gaining significance in the overall development of the country, development of education infrastructure is expected to remain the key focus in the current decade. In this scenario, infrastructure investment in the education sector is likely to see a considerable increase in the current decade
Moreover, availability of English speaking tech-educated talent, democratic governance and a strong legal and intellectual property protection framework are enablers for world class product development, as per Mr Amit Phadnis, President-Engineering and Site Leader for Cisco (India).
The Government of India has taken several steps including opening of IIT’s and IIM’s in new locations as well as allocating educational grants for research scholars in most government institutions. Furthermore, with online modes of education being used by several educational organisations, the higher education sector in India is set for some major changes and developments in the years to come.