How India’s Education Sector can Grow by Overcoming Challenges

There is a raging debate going on in the country about our existing education system, often lamenting about the old curriculum, rote learning, exponential increase in cost, falling quality of teachers, not to speak of inadequate infrastructure.

If these are the grey areas, there are positives too. For instance, India also has globally renowned educational facilities, such as the Indian Institutes of Management, Indian Institutes of Technology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Jawaharlal Nehru University. Rightly so, the Indian education system is one of the largest and oldest in the world.


Though, traditionally, India’s formal education is still stuck to the conservative. Most of India’s colleges offer regular courses, though distant education also is in vogue. In India, right from kindergarten to graduation, students have to attend classes. Of late, the education sector is opening up to e-learning, writes Sanjay Bansal, Founder and Managing Partner at Investment Banking firm, Aurum Equity Partners LLP on

Potential of e-learning

Apart from secondary, post-secondary and tertiary education, the e-education is also extended to courses and modules for competitive examination preparation, professional skill development and a host of non-academic subjects as well, he noted.

Size of India’s e-learning Market

Leading research firm, KPMG, in its 2016 report, says that the size of the e-learning market in India is around $247 million, comprising of 1.6 million users.  What is more, the market size is projected to grow eight-fold to $1.96 billion, and the user base will show an upward tick of six times to 9.6 million users by 2021. India’s e-learning market is the second largest after the US, which is projected to grow more than $48 billion by 2020.

Growth Drivers

The evolution of online education is taking place in India at a rapid pace. There is a slew of factors triggering this humongous growth.

The following are the key factors:

Internet and Smartphone Proliferation

The penetration level of Internet and Smartphone are humongous in India, and it is estimated that by the end of 2020, the number of Internet users will be more than 730 million, almost double from the current 432 million users. Also, the projection says that India will overtake China to become the second largest number of users after the US. When it comes to the Smartphone market, India is the third largest in the world and projected to cross 369 million by 2018. Furthermore, there will be more than 300 million mobile Internet users in India by the end of this year, in contrast with the current figure of 159 million users. So, the Internet provides humongous accessibility to enrol for distance courses for the young demographic (15-40 years), as they are the most active consumers of Smartphone and the Internet.

Economical Online Education

A 2015 survey by the National Sample Survey Office reveals that there has been a 175% rise in the average annual private expenditure for general education (primary level to post-graduation and above) between 2008 and 2014. During the same period, the yearly cost of professional and technical education increased by 96%. Parents spend Rs 36,000 on secondary education in government schools for six years, and Rs 3, 96,000 in private schools. If the kids are studying in boarding schools, the cost is close to Rs 18 lakh. Graduate and post-graduate degrees in engineering, medicine, science and commerce are very expensive.

Online education providers can reach out to the masses without setting up physical infrastructure or incurring administrative costs such as staff salaries, stationery and books. Hence, the cost savings are passed to the users.

Traditional model unable to fulfil demand

The government aims to raise the gross enrolment ratio to 30% by 2020. India will have the world’s largest Tertiary-age population and second-largest graduate talent pipeline by the end of 2020. However, the existing educational infrastructure is not equipped to meet the additional requirements. E-learning can supplement the conventional model, and bridge the gap to a considerable extent.

 Digital-friendly government policies

The Government of India has launched several programmes such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Skill India’ to spread digital literacy, create a knowledge-based society in India, and implement three principles ‘access, equity and quality’ of the education policy.

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