5 Online Education Trends to Watch in India in 2017
Online education in India has been on an upward swing in the last few years and the trend is expected to continue in 2017 as well - maybe at a much accelerated pace. There is an ever-growing population of education-hungry students & professionals in India that is going online.
Why? Because there are 50 crore students in India falling in the age bracket of 5 - 24 years and the country is just not equipped to provide a decent education to such a huge number only through the traditional mode (i.e. classroom teaching.)
Add to that the prediction by 'The Future of Internet in India' report by Nasscom and Akamai Technologies that the number of internet users in India will more than double by 2020 (rising from 35 crores in 2015 to 73 crores).
It is no surprise then that online education is increasingly gaining popularity across the nation!
So here's our take on what will trend in online education in India in the new year, 2017:
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1. Online learners in India will grow by leaps & bounds
As per last year's statistics shared by Coursera (world's largest open online education i.e. MOOC provider), there were 13 lakh online learners from India as compared to the total 180 lakh online learners on Coursera. There had been a 70% jump over the last one year in the registrations of Indian users on the platform.
These figures are indicative of the expected growth in the number of online learners in India. By year 2030, the Indian government aims to increase the enrollment (GER) in universities to 30% from 23.% in 2014-15. And this is practically not possible by just setting up more traditional classrooms & universities.
The answer is online for India's education system! No wonder then that India's online education market size is expected to reach $40 billion by 2017 (as per an IBEF report).
2. Online courses in unexpected subjects
But gradually more & more surprising subjects are expected to be taught online for the Indian audience. For instance, Le Cordon Bleu offers online certificates and degrees in culinary management and operations. The University of Cambridge offers a course in Digital Marketing Strategies.
Similarly, the International Forensic Sciences (IFS) Education Department of India offers online short term certificate courses Cyber Forensics, Cyber Law & various other specializations.
The Dawson Academy of India offers online postgraduate dental training that's targeted at general dentists, specialists & lab technicians.
3. Online "supplementary" education will flourish
India's K12 education system has more than 26 crore students enrolled in it and is not exactly known for the quality of education it imparts.
A major chunk of students have been relying on after-school coaching/ tuition or "supplementary education". Out of these, at least 2 crore students from classes 6 - 12 are expected to turn towards online forums for availing extra help.
In fact, this number is going to increase further as technology permeates into the tier-2 and tier-3 cities. This is a major reason for the success of BYJU's - The Learning App that has seen more than 50 lakh installations. Tuition centres & coaching classes will soon be replaced by e-tutorials!
4. Focus will be on career skills, not just degrees
While traditional degrees like a bachelors or masters are proof of your education, they don't really focus on specific skills that prove useful for a particular job profile. This gap is being bridged these days by a wide variety of online courses through which you can learn any skill you want!
So if you think you lack the know-how needed for a job you're applying to, just search for an online course which on completion, offers you microcredentials like "digital badge" or "nanodegree" or a "certified" tag. An example is the various professional accreditation (Adwords certification, Developer certification etc.) that Google provides to online learners who exhibit proficiency in various domains.
Employers in India have also slowly started accepting some of these online certifications as proof that the employee has the right skill-set for his job.
5. Quality & delivery will improve - with the rise of edtech companies in India
2016 saw education technology (edtech) companies receive massive investments (to the tune of $323 million) through more than 26 deals. A majority of ed-tech firms that received funding are focusing on online education:
Byju's Classes - India's leading test preparation provider that will make you "fall in love with learning" through the online content it offers to students in the form of interesting & interactive videos. Last year, it raised $75 million from Sequoia Capital & Sofina and $50 million in funding from Facebook's Chan Zuckerberg initiative!
Simplilearn: Online certificate course provider, Simplilearn has raised $28 million till date and is expected to raise another $30 million in 2017.
With more and more players in this domain & increasing competition, the quality of content & delivery of online courses will definitely improve.