Making headway into the higher education sector in India, the rise of Edtech business models
Our present education system is in dire need of a revamp so that the challenges of employability of the students can be solved
The education sector in India is bustling more than ever, thanks to the innovations in allied sectors. The tremendous expansion of opportunities in this sector is not to be credited to a single factor but to multiple reasons.
Yet, our country's Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) with respect to Higher Education stands at 27 percent. According to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-2021 released by the Ministry of Education, for the 18-23 years age group, GER has increased to 27.3 from 25.6 in 2019-20.
Although the figures have improved, it is not impressive when compared with the enrollment rates of other countries like China, Canada, USA, Germany and France.
Here comes the importance of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which aims to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio to 50 percent by 2035. As ambitious as the target being set is, the path to achieving the desired GER is not a simple task.
This task would need the addition of 3.5 crore seats in higher education, according to a press release by the Ministry of Education. Investments in the education sector will also have to be increased to be able to support the arduous task.
The other most pressing question while improving the GER is that of the quality of education being provided. Increasing the GER just by increasing the capacity without providing quality education will result in the failure of the ambitious project. Our present education system is in dire need of a revamp so that the challenges of employability of the students can be solved. Along with the improvement of the GER, it is also important that we prioritise the productive outcomes of the students.
The blooming scope for improvement in the education sector has also resulted in partnerships with several Edtech companies in the market and there is room for more.
Various business models have come up and changed the landscape of the education sector with more private player participation in it. According to the article ‘Enzia Investment Thesis: Higher Education' by Namita Dalmia and Shivam Jindal, the primary categorisation can be looked into as:
(1) The operational model of the companies, i.e. whether the Edtech companies are operating the programs independently or collaborating with existing institutions.
(2) Learning promise: Companies can focus on providing a certification, degree, or employment at the end of the program.
(3) Delivery method: Companies can offer learning through online, offline, or mixed approaches.
Different operating models are being used by the edtechs to revolutionise the education sector of which the institutionally linked programs to reach a large number of students and also improve the quality of education is gaining attention.
According to the thesis, despite enrolling over 25 million students in higher education in the last 20 years, India has struggled to maintain the desired level of education quality. A majority of the 1,000 universities and 40,000 colleges grapple with the dual challenge of insufficient faculty and outdated curriculum, which results in subpar placements. Edtechs consider this as a golden opportunity and help in partnering with institutions both in the academic and placement aspects which can favour positive outcomes for the students enrolled.
There are also Edtechs with independent program models that help in skilling the students for better career prospects so that they face the market confidently.
The higher education roadmap in India is diverse and certainly holds ground for improvement in terms of the education system, investment portfolio, capacity building, training, teaching models with the use of the latest technology and much more. The sector is also a blooming ground for many Edtech business models to come, invest and redesign so that we bring more students into our Higher Education programs and improve our Gross Enrollment Ratio whilst providing a holistic experience to students.