New Delhi: India has become the largest market for e-learning after the US, and the sector is expected to receive a boost from the government’s Rs.1.13 trillion Digital India initiative, says a recent report by the UK-India Business Council.
While the existing educational infrastructure is inadequate to meet the current and future needs of the country, the Digital India initiative will increase Internet access, which in turn will help take quality education to large parts of the population that have been hitherto neglected, says the report.
India’s e-learning sector is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 17.4% between 2013 and 2018, twice as fast as the global average.
“Education providers from various countries are aggressively targeting the Indian market and the competition is stiff. For instance, Germany is strong on centres of excellence and education as part of its development agenda. The Australian model is based on government-sponsored assessment programmes. It has gained popularity because the certifications issued are recognised by Australian authorities,” the report says.
Many business in India are developing e-learning content for markets such as the US, Australia, the UK and Europe. This content is not being deployed locally because of infrastructural and technological inadequacies, says the report.
E-learning also has a role to play in providing the required skillsets to future job market entrants. By 2022, the country faces a potential shortage of 250 million skilled workers across sectors. The report said the tourism and hospitality sector is a critical areas for skill development, apart from the manufacturing.
India is the world’s third largest market by Internet users, behind China and the US, but it has only achieved 16% Internet penetration as compared with 45% in China, and 84% in the US, according to industry estimates.
Meanwhile, emerging technologies including cloud, big data and the Internet of Things are changing the way e-learning content is being produced and consumed. “Technological advances are affecting the way we learn and work and disrupting the education sector globally. Big data allows for greater customisation of learning solutions, in the way that Amazon tailors its products to consumers’ needs. This opens up endless possibilities for education providers,” says the report.