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Education Sector in India
India is the second largest market for E-learning after the US. The sector is expected to reach US$ 1.96 billion by 2021 with around 9.5 million users.

Education & Training Industry in India

    Last updated on Oct, 11 2021

Indian Education Sector in India Industry Report  (Size: 911.48 KB ) (August, 2021)


India holds an important place in the global education industry. India has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world. However, there is still a lot of potential for further development in the education system.

With ~26.31% of India’s population in the age group of 0-14 years, India’s education sector provides numerous opportunities for growth.

Market Size

India has the world’s largest population of about 500 million in the age bracket of 5-24 years, which provides a great opportunity for the education sector. The education sector in India was estimated at US$ 91.7 billion in FY18 and is expected to reach US$ 101.1 billion in FY19.

Number of colleges in India reached 39,931 in FY19. As of May 17, 2021, number of universities in India reached 981. India had 37.4 million students enrolled in higher education in FY19. In FY20, Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education in India was 27.1%. ICAR is one of the largest national agricultural organisations in the world. It has 122 institutes and 67 agricultural universities across India, as of July 2021.


In 2020-21, there were 9,700 total AICTE approved institutes. Of the total, there were 4,100 undergraduate, 4,951 postgraduate and 4,514 diploma courses in AICTE approved institutes. According to the National Institutional Ranking Framework, 7 positions were bagged by prominent Indian Institutes of Technology out of the top 10 institution rankings in 2020. As per QS World University Rankings, 12 Indian institutes made it to the top 100 list.

According to KPMG, India has also become the second largest market for E-learning after the US. The sector is expected to reach US$ 1.96 billion by 2021, with about 9.6 million users from US$ 247 million and around 1.6 users in 2016.

Investments/ Recent Developments

From April 2000 to March 2021, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflows stood at US$ 4,495.19 million according to the data released by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

The education and training sector in India witnessed some major investments and developments in the recent past. Some of them are:

  • Following Beijing's constraints on the education business in July 2021, India might become a hotbed for Edtech entrepreneurs and the next investment hotspot in this sector, and unicorn businesses may have an advantage in attracting money from international investors.
  • Unacademy, an Indian online learning company, raised US$ 440 million in a fresh funding round in August 2021.
  • In 2021, Vah Vah!, a vocational training platform offering makeup and beauty courses, has raised US$1.85 million in a seed round led by Sequoia India's Surge accelerator.
  • DigitalEd and Binary Semantics have announced the formation of 'DigitalEd India,' a joint venture that will bring the best-in-class digital learning to India in 2021.
  • In June 2021, Amazon India launched Machine Learning Summer School to help students learn new skills.
  • Domestic service providers have formed JV with foreign players. For example, GMR Aviation Academy and UAE-based Emirates Group Security will jointly offer various aviation and security courses in India.
  • In May 2021, the Institute of Health & Management (IHM), Australia, announced its plan to offer scholarships worth Rs. 10 crore (US$ 1.3 million) to nurses in India to recognise their commitment and dedication amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The scholarship will be offered to those nurses undertaking the ‘Gateway to global nursing programme’.
  • In May 2021, the BITS School of Management (BITSoM) joined forces with London Business School (LBS). This partnership will focus on three segments—student engagement programme, LBS faculty teaching at BITSoM and developing joint executive programme in the space of women leadership.
  • In May 2021, Virohan a healthcare ed-tech start-up, which provides vocational training for paramedics, raised US$ 3 million in the Series A funding from Rebright Partners.
  • As per the Union Budget 2021-22, under the NISHTHA training programme around 5.6 million teachers are to be trained in 2020-21.
  • In April 2021, Education India—India’s academic partner and a start-up in the field of education—is set to invest Rs. 20 crore (US$ 2.4 million) in School Acquisition Module. The company is planning to have more than 200 schools on lease Module until 2023.
  • On April 1, 2021, Union Education Minister launched the ‘MyNEP2020’ Platform of the NCTE Web Portal. The platform seeks to invite suggestions/inputs/memberships from stakeholders for preparing drafts for development of the National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) and the National Mission for Mentoring Program Membership (NMM). The ‘MyNEP2020’ platform will be operational from April 1, 2021 to May 15, 2021.
  • In January 2021, troops of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) launched an internet tools-based learning centre for school-going children in a Naxal violence-affected district of Chhattisgarh.

Government Initiatives

Some of the other major initiatives taken by the Government are:

  • In 2021-22, the Ministry of Education has been allocated US$ 12.52 billion, the eight-highest figure allocated to all ministries. The allocation constitutes 2.67% of the central government’s estimated expenditure for 2021-22.
  • In April 2021, India along with Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan joined the United Nation’s E9 initiative. E9 initiative is the first of a three-phased process to co-create an initiative on digital learning and skills, targeting marginalised children and youth, especially girls. The initiative aims to accelerate recovery and advance the Sustainable Development Goal 4 agenda by driving rapid change in education systems.
  • According to Union Budget 2021-22, the government allocated Rs. 54,873.66 crore (US$ 7.53 billion) for Department of School Education and Literacy, compared with Rs. 59,845 crore (US$ 8.56 billion) in Union Budget 2020-21.
  • The government allocated an expenditure budget of Rs. 38,350.65 crore (US$ 5.28 billion) for higher education and Rs. 54,873 crore (US$ 7.56 billion) for school education and literacy. The government also allocated Rs. 3,000 crore (US$ 413.12 million) under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).
  • Under the Union Budget 2021-22, the government has placed major emphasis on strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure for education by setting up the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR).
  • In January 2021, in order to mitigate the impact of challenges created due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education issued guidelines for identification, admission and continued education of migrant children.
  • On January 15, 2021, the third phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) was launched in 600 districts with 300+ skill courses. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, the third phase will focus on new-age and COVID-related skills. PMKVY 3.0 aims to train eight lakh candidates.

Road Ahead

In 2030, it is estimated that India’s higher education will:

  • combine training methods that involve online learning and games, and is expected to grow 38% in the next 2-4 years
  • adopt transformative and innovative approaches in Higher education
  • have an augmented Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 50%
  • reduce state-wise, gender based and social disparity in GER to 5%
  • emerge as the single largest provider of global talent with one in four graduates in the world being a product of the Indian higher education system
  • be among the top five countries in the world in terms of research output with an annual R&D spend of US$ 140 billion
  • have more than 20 universities among the global top 200 universities

Various Government initiatives are being adopted to boost the growth of distance education market besides focusing on new education techniques, such as E-learning and M-learning.

Education sector has seen a host of reform and improved financial outlays in recent years that could possibly transform the country into a knowledge haven. With human resource increasingly gaining significance in the overall development of the country, development of education infrastructure is expected to remain the key focus in the current decade. In this scenario, infrastructure investment in the education sector is likely to see a considerable increase in the current decade

The Government of India has taken several steps including opening of IIT’s and IIM’s in new locations as well as allocating educational grant for research scholars in most Government institutions. Furthermore, with online mode of education being used by several educational organisations, the higher education sector in India is set for major change and development in the years to come.

Note: Conversion rate used for July 2021 is Rs. 1 = US$ 0.013

References: Media Reports, Press Releases, Press Information Bureau, RNCOS Report, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Union Budget 2021-22

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.


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