The India Opportunity
It would be no exaggeration to state that the education sector is India's next big opportunity as also a responsibility.
The Indian education system could be divided into core and non-core segments. The core group consists of formal education - primary, secondary and higher education while the non-core segment focuses pre-schools, vocational training and coaching institutes.
India's schooling segment is estimated to grow to about US$ 144 billion by 2020 from an estimated US$ 95.8 billion in 2015. India's higher education segment is the largest in the world and 2014 saw 29.63 million students and approximately 48,116 colleges/ institutions. This number is expected to increase to US$ 37.8 billion by 2020.
India has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world with 666 universities and 39,671 colleges. It is the third largest in terms of enrolment with over 21.5 million per year. The private education sector, valued at an estimated US$ 96 billion in 2015 is envisaged to touch US$ 133 billion by 2020.
There is a huge potential in the higher education sector waiting to be tapped considering that 546 million citizens are under 25 years of age. India needs an additional 800 universities and 35,000 colleges by 2020 to grow the percentage of students going for higher education - from the present 12.4% to 30%. According to the Ministry of HRD, India's education sector requires investments to the tune of USD 150 billion in the coming decade.
The total amount of foreign direct investments (FDI) inflows into education in India stood at US$ 1,171.10 million between April 2000 and June 2015.
**Data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
Initiatives to address the demand
The Government of India has taken several positive measures to address the growing demand for education. Among the significant measures is the fact that 100% FDI is permitted in the education sector. Other measures include an Act to convert state universities into central universities and the setting up of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) which contributes about 30% to the overall target of skilling and up-skilling of approx. 500 million Indian citizens by 2022. Another key development is the setting up of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC), set up as an advisory body to the Prime Minister of India with the objective of transforming India into a knowledge society.
In higher education, the Medical Council of India (MCI), a body that regulates medical education and registers doctors has allowed large healthcare services providers such as FortisHealthcare, Max Healthcare and Apollo Hospitals to establish medical colleges to be regulated by MCI.
The Government is also focusing strongly on e-learning and the ministry has announced that it will introduce Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) at elementary school level. The scheme would focus on the development of high quality e-content that can be used by students in primary and upper-primary classes.