Published: 30th April 2019
Web learning is in: 63 lakh Indians to get their college degrees online by 2022, says study
Most of the respondents said that they were comfortable studying online using their mobile phones and that the BA degree was the most sought after online course
Pursuing higher education online is gaining popularity and enrollment will grow at a rate of 14.5 per cent CAGR to reach 63.33 lakh by 2022, projected a report published by Schoolguru Eduserve. The report states that the UGC regulations for online programmes allowing universities to offer online courses and the government’s impetus on improving the gross enrolment ratio will boost the online higher education industry and the enrollment growth will soon be comparable to that of the United States of America (16 per cent) and Europe (12 per cent).
The study also said that the Bachelor of Arts is the most popular undergraduate programme, followed by Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce. However, for the Post graduation courses, students prefer Social Sciences, Management and pure Sciences as their stream of choice. Indian learners prefer to use their mobile phones (80% learners) to access their online courses due to increased mobility and convenience; albeit they shift to using desktops for heavy course material that need the student to carry out practice driven tasks.
“Online learning can provide a potent alternative for the massification of higher education thereby helping the country improve its GER rates from the current 25 per cent to the targeted 30 per cent. Further, if blended with on-job learning, online education has the potential to dramatically improve the employability of our youth,” Shantanu Rooj, CEO and Founder, Schoolguru Eduserve, said.
The online re-skilling and certification market (for the repair and upgrade) is expected to touch the Rs 3000 crore mark by 2022. The Indian Higher Education market (online and offline) is set to grow at 6.09 per cent CAGR (2018–2022). Total enrolments shall grow at 8.2 per cent CAGR from 3.66 crore in 2018 to 4.63 Crore in 2022.
Online degree programmes were not legal in India all this while and universities will start offering these courses from the academic year 2019-20. Indian higher education market has a significant tilt towards the undergraduate programs that comprise of about 63 per cent of the total student base. However, with the expansion of the re-skilling market, this percentage will change. The “Reskilling” component of online education is estimated to grow at 22.23 per cent CAGR from an estimated 66.47 lakh (2018) to 1.48 crore (2022). It is expected to touch INR 3,333 crore, growing at 38 per cent CAGR between 2018 and 2022 and shall definitely be larger than the traditional degree programmes.
A total of 66 per cent of the students in US universities pursue associate and bachelor degree and 56 per cent of the students in European universities pursue higher education. Online education has rapidly evolved over the past five years and is set to enter the era of Virtual and Augmented Reality at the learner-end and AI and machine learning at the back-end.
About 42% of the students undergoing a graduation program want to be employed at the end of their courses — the rest want to continue studying. The Indian secondary education has 94 per cent students being taught in the vernacular medium, the largest amongst them being in Hindi. Hence, it becomes important for universities to ensure that the online programmes that they offer are available in vernacular as well.
As per the detailed report, gaining knowledge (33 per cent) and securing better job prospects (27 per cent) are the key drivers that are prompting students to opt for online higher education. From a programme perspective, associate and bachelors’ degrees are the most preferred programs. In fact, more than two-thirds of the students in India prefer to pursue an associate or a bachelors’ degree. Further, from a stream point of view Arts, Science and Commerce are expected to be the key drivers of the enrolment growth.
As per the report, the biggest challenge that the industry is facing is lack of awareness, which raises concerns about the authenticity of the courses. The other hindrances are unavailability of qualified online instructors, inadequate student-faculty interactions, lack of enough understanding among the instructors to coordinate online assessments, duration of the course, the course content design, lack of innovation in the content, lengthy enrolment procedure and high fees.