The e-learning market in India is booming as new startups continue to appear, better internet access broadens and more smartphones enter the country, allowing the education sector to grow beyond the traditional classroom.
The market, currently estimated to be worth around $3 billion, has been aided by the central government, who is trying to make digital learning available to all students within India.
Online training in India currently focuses equally on school and college-based courses and mid-level professional courses, writes Anita Babu for Business Standard.
Industry experts believe online courses will play an important role in the future of education in India.
"A major set back of Indian education system is the delay to update syllabus. Hence, in future, rather than obtaining a three-year degree course from a tier-1 or tier-2 city in India, there will be more takers for a professional course that is updated with the current industry demands," said Krishna Kumar, founder of an online training start-up Simplilearn.
Studies show that India and China will lead the growth in project management roles, creating between 4 million and 8.1 million positions by 2020.
In addition, there is a growing need for re-skilling in India. Software developers needed to know programming languages 10 years ago, while today they need to know about a number of other topics, such as data analytics and cloud computing. New training courses also lead to better salaries and promotions.
Many startups in the country, such as LearnSocial, Simplilearn and Intellipaat are already beginning to offer blended courses, a mix of online and in-class instruction, in addition to self-taught courses. The majority of users are from India, although the companies are seeing large numbers from other countries as well.
It is becoming increasingly evident that a massive online education program is needed within the country, as India's gross enrollment ratio (GER) is lower than that of other countries. The ratio currently stands at 84 in the US, 60 in the UK, 55 in Japan, 30 in China, and only 15 in India, despite the large number of students who wish to participate in engineering courses.
The GER is needed to rise by at least 30% in order for India to register growth in the global economy.
According to M.S. Ananth, former Director at IIT Madras and Visiting Professor, IIT Bombay, massive online education is the only solution that will fix the needs of higher education students while at the same time enhancing the quality of higher education in the country.
Genesis Global School, which was ranked third in the Day cum Boarding International School category in Delhi/NCR, as per Education World India School Rankings 2013, believes online education will improve upon education in the country.
"The Open World Schools pilot project from the International Baccalaureate (IB) is exploring how an authentic IB Diploma Programme experience can be extended to students who would otherwise be unable to access an IB education".(
The school goes on to say that online education will serve K-12 students throughout India who have a hard time succeeding through traditional education methods more effectively.
"The convenience, reach, affordability, ease of access, and ease of collaboration will give online education an edge over the traditional methods of learning and it is expected that students pursuing studies online will grow exponentially over time," explains Christopher Hanvey, the General Manager of Genesis Global School.