India: Population Growth and Access to Higher Education

February 28th, 2020

20200228

It is estimated that over the next 5 years, India’s youth population will continue to increase. This means that the current education system will prove inadequate in accommodating the age group of 18-22. For this reason and those shown below, India will continue to play a dominant role as a source for higher education institutions seeking to increase their international student numbers.

Let’s take a look at some facts:

  • Current population of India: 1.3 billion (July 2018 est.)
  • Estimated population of India by 2030: 1.5 billion
  • Number of Indians who will be in the age group of 18-22 in the 5 years: 3 out of 10
  • Number of colleges and universities in India in 2017-19: 39,050 and 903, respectively
  • Number of students enrolled in higher education 2017-18: 36.64 million
  • Value of India’s education sector in 2018: US $91.7 billion
  • Value of India’s education sector in 2019: US $101.1 billion
  • Percentage of universities mandated by the government in January 2019 to deliver online degree courses: 15%
  • Expected growth of India’s on-line education over the next two years: US $1.96 billion
  • Rural internet growth and usage: 566 million people

A few observations:

  • Degrees still matter to Indian students more than skills which lead to high number of graduates with low employability.
  • Rote learning continues to be a focus of the education policy with emphasis on memorizing facts.
  • The country lacks availability of quality vocational training.
  • Academic-industry engagement is inadequate and limited to select few institutions.
  • Quality education with global exposure is limited and expensive.
  • Institutions are having a difficult time keeping up with the growing population and their needs which will result in a largely unemployable youth population holding qualifications that don’t match the needs of the industry.
  • Universities don’t provide their students with any career counselling services .

Solutions:

  • Make higher education accessible via e-learning opportunities. In India, even the University Grants Commission (UGC) is now recognizing open online courses.
  • Vocational education needs the government’s support so that it is at par with conventional courses to help close the gap with mainstream university education.
  • Indian universities need to invest more in research and development to have a global standing and recognition which is currently absent.

Sources:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/attachments/summaries/IN-summary.pdf

https://www.hindustantimes.com/education/the-road-map-for-higher-education-in-india/story-YCKdHdTzSrFBISlnc2ca4M.html


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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