Globally, the Indian Education sector is amongst the largest, with an extensive network of more than 1.4 million schools (with over 200 million students enrolled) and more than 850 universities and 40,000 higher education institutes and is expanding rapidly in light of rising income levels and growing demand for quality education in the country. Further, India also has the world’s largest population in the age bracket 3 to 23 years which highlights the large addressable market for this sector.
Education sector in India remains to be a strategic priority of the government. The Government of India has allowed 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the education sector through the automatic route since 2002.The sector has received cumulative FDI worth US$ 2.21 billion up to December 2018. Indian education sector witnessed 18 merger and acquisition deals worth US$ 49 million in 2017.
India’s education sector offers a great opportunity with approximately 29 per cent of India’s population being between the age group of 0-14 years. India’s higher education segment is expected to increase to US$ 35.03 billion by 2025. 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.
India has over 250 million school going students, more than any other country. It also has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world. 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 current globalization of higher education creates both challenges and opportunities. Educational goals are seen to be an area of great concern in the era of globalization. It is here that universities play a crucially important role, to create better society. They must engage with the issues of globalization, both theoretically as analysts and researchers, and practically as academic workers involved in an increasingly globalised enterprise. The likelihood of entry of foreign universities into India is an inevitable consequence of globalization. Top class foreign universities are anticipated to add prestige to India’s higher education. The expectation is that foreign universities will bring much needed capacity and new ideas on higher education management, curriculum, teaching methods and research, together with investment, and profit from the vast intellectual resources of the country.
The long-term outlook of the education sector in India is favourable on expectation of increasing requirement of knowledge based industries for specialised skill sets, increase in per capita consumption, high enrolment ratio, offering of various courses, and Government support in terms of Fee Reimbursement Scheme, flexibility in curriculum, and innovation fund for secondary education.
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.
With online modes of education being used by several educational organizations, the higher education sector in India is set for some major changes and developments in the years to come.
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 of funds 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.