Indian Education Sector: An Overview
India, today, is considered as a talent pool of the world, having qualified and educated human resources in abundance. This has been one of the primary reasons for transformation of India into one of the fastest growing economies in the world since liberalization in the 1990s. As the economist Clark Kerr observed, “On a global scale, wealth and prosperity have become more dependent on the access to knowledge than the access to natural resources.”
The importance of education in India was recognized by the founding fathers of the country and the subsequent governments, and as a result considerable importance has been given to literacy, school enrollment, institutions of higher education and technical education, over the decades ever since independence.
India’s aspirations to establish a knowledge society in the context of increasing globalization, is based on the assumption that higher and technical education essentially empowers people with the requisite competitive skills and knowledge. It has been realized that it is the quality of education that prepares one for all pursuits of life and in the absence of an acceptable level of quality, higher education becomes a mere formalism devoid of any purpose or substance. As a result, from around the turn of the century, increasing attention has also been paid to quality and excellence in higher education.
Post-independence India has witnessed an above average growth in the number of higher educational institutions vis-à-vis its population. While there were just about 20 Universities and 500 Colleges at the time of independence, today these numbers have grown exponentially.
Please find below a snapshot of the current higher education sector in India:
• India has a total of 610 universities. 43 central universities, 299 state universities, 140 private Universities, 128 deemed universities and 5 institutions established through state legislation, 30 Institutions of National Importance • There are 45 technical institutes, 13 management institutes, 4 information technology institutes, 6 science and research institutes and 3 planning and architecture institutes • Currently, the Government spends around 3.8% of its GDP on education • Less than 1% of the $38 bn of the Government spend on education was towards Capex (2008-09) • According to the 2011 census, the total literacy rate in India is 74.04% compared to the world average of 83.4% (2008) • The female literacy rate is 65.46 % and male literacy rate is 82.14 % • FDI inflows in the education sector during May 2012 stood at $31.22 mn
Industry Growth & Size
The Indian Education sector is characterized by a unique set of attributes:- • Huge market size both in terms of number of students and annual revenues • A potential growth rate of 16% is expected over the next 5 years • Significant activity in terms of new foreign entrants and participation is expected to be witnessed in the years ahead • Accreditation is still not mandatory, however, reforms are in the pipeline to address this issue
The Indian education space is evolving, which has led to the emergence of new niche sectors like vocational training, finishing schools, child-skill enhancement and e-learning among others. Growth is driven by the increasing propensity of the middle class to spend on education and more aggressive initiatives by private entrepreneurs.
Higher Education in India: Current State of Play
India possesses a highly developed higher education system, which offers the facility of education and training in almost all aspects of human creativity and intellectual endeavors like: arts and humanities; natural, mathematical and social sciences; engineering; medicine; dentistry; agriculture; education; law; commerce and management; music and performing arts; national and foreign languages; culture; communications etc.
The institutional framework consists of Universities established by an Act of Parliament (Central Universities) or of a State Legislature (State Universities), Deemed Universities (institutions which have been accorded the status of a university with authority to award their own degrees through central government notification), Institutes of National Importance (prestigious institutions awarded the said status by Parliament), Institutions established State Legislative Act and colleges affiliated to the University (both government-aided and unaided).
There are three principal levels of qualification within the higher education system in the country:
I. Graduation level II. Post-graduation level III. Doctoral degree
Besides these three, there is another qualification called a Diploma. It is available at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. At the undergraduate level, the duration of the course varies between one to three years; postgraduate diplomas are normally awarded after one year course, though some diplomas are awarded after two years of study.
• The Indian economy is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7% • India’s population of 1.3 billion will surpass China’s by 2028 • India (48 Million) will have the highest number of tertiary enrolments in 2024, followed by China (37 Million) then the USA (22 Million) • In 2024, India is expected to account for 54% of growth in inbound postgraduate students to the US • By 2030, India is estimated to be the third largest economy and will be home to the largest and one of the youngest populations in the world
Indian foreign students are dispersed over 50 countries of the world. Out of the 189, 472 Indian foreign students in 2016, more than 85% students were concentrated in six countries: the United States (51%), United Kingdom (16%), Australia (6%), Canada (4%), United Arab Emirates (4%) and New Zealand (4%). In 2016, over 189 thousand Indian students were enrolled in higher education institutions abroad. This population accounts for 4.7% of the total internationally mobile students worldwide and is the second largest source of foreign students after China (17.3%). Despite its magnitude, this population represents a small proportion (0.7%) of total higher education enrollment in India (29.18 million).