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India holds an important place in the global education industry. India has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world. 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.
India has the world’s largest population of about 500 million in the age bracket of 5-24 years and this provides a great opportunity for the education sector. The education sector in India is estimated at US$ 91.7 billion in FY18 and is expected to reach US$ 101.1 billion in FY19. Number of colleges and universities in India reached 39,050 and 903, respectively in 2017-18.
India had 36.64 million students enrolled in higher education in 2017-18. Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education reached 25.8 per cent in 2017-18. 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.
Investments/ Recent developments
The total amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into the education sector in India stood at US$ 2.21 billion from April 2000 to December 2018, 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.
• Of all the startups in India, 3,500 are catering to the education space. These startups received close to US$ 700 million funding in 2018.
• 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:
• In August 2018, Innovation Cell and Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) were launched to assess innovation efforts and encourage a healthy competition among higher educational institutions in the country.
• In August 2018, Government of India launched the second phase of ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’ which aims to link higher educational institutions in the country with at least five villages. The scheme covers 750 such institutions.
• 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 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 December 2018, the Government of India published that 3.43 million candidates had enrolled in the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 2016-20 scheme. Up to January 24, 2019 as many as 2.53 million candidates were trained under under the scheme’s Short Term Training (STT).
Following are the achievements of the government in the past four years:
• Under the mid-day meal scheme initiated by the Government of India, about 95 million students of around 1.14 million schools enjoy fresh meal every day.
• The Government has laid foundation of 141 universities and 7 IITs in the past four years.
• With an aim of promoting innovation and entreprenuership among secondary school students in the country NITI Aayog, Government of India has launched the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). In June 2018, 3,000 additional Atal Tinkering Labs were approved, taking the total number of labs to 5,441.
• 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 five 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.