Sunday, February 6, 2011

Education - Enabling India as World’s Back-Office

India’s education market is on a high growth trajectory and so are the employment opportunities. With more and more players entering this lucrative field, the job market dynamics are fast-changing.

India is fast emerging as back-office of the world, having caught on the service bus leaving China to play the manufacturing handle. Service economies around the world have been able to command better premium and face less pricing pressure unless it is totally skewed and overtaken by another country. India has that advantage and it has the correct basics in place. Be part of this sunrise industry.

According to the 2009 Global Education Digest published by UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics, since 2000 an additional 51.7 million new tertiary students have enrolled around the world and 2.8 million students currently study outside their home country. Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in US and Europe is 70%, it is 11% in South and West Asia and 6% in Africa. It shows immense potential in developing countries and especially in India with huge and growing population. Out of 1.1 billion Indian people, 672 (60%) million people are in the working age group of 15 to 64 years. This is highest in the world. India will see sharp decline in the dependency ratio over the next 30 years. Govt. has planned budget of 6% of GDP for education in the aggregate planning. Ministry of education has cut a task for itself to l Facilitate 3 times increase in enrolment in
higher education (14 million to 40 million by 2020) l 150-160 million youth base who opt for Vocational Education l In India, 14 world class (Infrastructure and faculty) universities are being setup with coverage including innovation, IP and public-IP.

Right to primary free and compulsory education act is already operative, facilitating government support to education in remote areas. Central government alone will not be able to do much. It will have to be supplemented with State governments and private sector. These are years of IT revolution that is unfolding in India for education.. Here is a quick bite on the opportunities.

  • National Acedemic Depository Bill 2010 will facilitate electronic database of academic awards and it will be mandatory on academic institutions to lodge all degree, diploma and mark sheets there 
  • Scheme by central government for setting up model Degree College in 374 educationally backward districts where GER for higher education is less than national GER. Under which assistance is provided upto Rs. 2.67 crore with maximum of one-third share, increasing to 50% (Rs. 4 crore) under special category states
  • Under Central government funded scheme “National Mission on Education through ICT”, setting up VPN and broadband with 1Gbps connectivity is provided for institutions of higher learning and centers of excellence 
  • Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 opens up opportunities for entrepreneurs to provide systems for admission, attendance and completion of elementary education in schools that conform to specified norms and standards 
  • 100,000 students from India go to USA either because of better facilities there or due to better brand. Sooner or later these universities are likely to come to India and opportunity exist to collaborate with them to provide them digital content, pedagogy tools, psychological research inputs to Indian conditions, facilities or others
  • Education as a means in spreading the message and catalyzing for corrective action for global warming and climate change 
  • Concept of cross border education through e-learning, open educational resources and mobile technologies 
Government intentions augur well so far. Kapil Sibal has been on record recently to have put important  legislature in place. Bills under parliament approval are
  • Mandatory accreditation of all higher educational institutions
  • Regulate the entry and operation of foreign educational institutions in India
  • Establishment of National Education Finance Corporation, a special purpose bank which will finance the banks and universities directly for the education loan to the students
Central government is working in close association with banks to revolutionize the education funding, an important element in the whole eco-system. It is offering to facilitate education loans at 4% interest rates with
methods than are likely to revolutionize the sector (See separate bar for full information). Taste this:
  • Banks to get re-finance from NEFC, a special purpose bank setup with budgetary provisions
  • Loan applications to be forwarded from the institute to the banks
  • Co-branding degree / diplomas with Bank and Institute to make it obligatory on employers to inform bank while employing the students
  • Banks will have lien on the salary from employers and thus repayment of loans 
  • Students get higher education without lack of funds at reduced interest rates to come in the mainstream
Sector is getting too attractive and inviting many small to big players alike. EduComp is revolutionizing the classes of tomorrow, tutoring is going virtual and studies teacher-less. Competition is bound to grow and so are the challenges. Some imminent challenges are:
  • New methods to respond to emerging societal demands
  • Diversify and enhance revenue streams
  • Improve and demonstrate quality
  • Control costs
  • Compete with new providers at the global level
  • Capitalize on the emerging technologies
God favors who decides his own fate. Make calculated risks and if at all one needs to plunge in this sector, time is now.

Ashish Jain

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