India must develop its higher education system into a robust, student-centric global education hub. This report also lays out the “Five-year plans” to transform India into a global education hub.
The need to streamline regulations and development of industry-accepted curriculum and robust digital infrastructure is crucial to achieving a gross enrolment ratio (GER) of 35%, suggests a report published by FICCI and EY on the education sector in India.
The EY-FICCI Report, Higher Education in India: Vision 2047 suggests developing student cities to facilitate students. It talks to incentivize HEIs to partner with the industry to provide consulting and research services. By 2047, it aims to put India among the top 10 international student-receiving nations with world-class HEIs.
With over 1,000 universities and more than 42,000 colleges, the Indian higher education system has witnessed tremendous growth since its independence. The Indian higher education system is the third largest in the world and offers education and training across almost all disciplines.
As per the EY-FICCI Report, Higher Education in India: Vision 2047, India must develop its higher education system into a robust, student-centric global education hub. However, to achieve this impressive feat, it is essential to break down India’s long-term vision into shorter quantifiable and achievable plans. This report also lays out the “Five-year plans” to transform India into a global education hub.
The report states that while the National Education Policy 2020 is a landmark transformative initiative by the Indian government, a lot needs to be done to improve the quality of higher education in India and its reach and global perception. We need to take tactical steps to promote India as the preferred destination for higher studies offering quality education at a fraction of the cost compared to developed countries.
Redesign HEI Architecture
The first step to achieving India’s HEI goals by 2047 is redesigning the higher education institutions (HEI) architecture for a resilient and student-centric ecosystem. The new policies must bridge the gap between education and the average Indian, who no longer wants to be tied to traditional time-bound degrees.
“HEI must make skill development an integral part of the curriculum, allowing students to learn at their pace and charting their learning course,” states the report.
The onus is on each stakeholder to keep the student at the centre as they redesign the higher education architecture. By focusing on the strengths of its higher education system and acknowledging areas that need to be reformed, India can meet its own students’ needs and attract students from around the world.
India must develop a roadmap of shorter and quantifiable goals, in order to achieve its long-term vision of becoming a robust, student-centric global higher education system by 2047.
Vision 2047 For Education
For the first five years (2022-2027) it suggests streamlining regulations and aims to develop an industry-accepted curriculum, robust digital infrastructure and improve faculty quality and aim to increase the gross enrolment ratio (GER) to 35%, develop a library of industry-acceptable online courses, across disciplines; upskill the future workforce.
It also suggests providing scholarships to 20% of students and an adequate supply of teachers per 100 students, as well as improving the quality of teaching through digital infusion in classrooms.
For the next five years, (2028-32), the report suggests promoting and funding research-focused HEIs and developing robust physical infrastructure to improve global rankings and international student mobility which will help increase the GER to 40%.
The report talks of reforming the UG programs with more future-focused skills during this period.
The EY-FICCI Report also suggests aiming for 300K international students in India during this period as well as aiming for 5-7 HEIs in the top 200 rankings and 25 IBCs. It suggests improving employability and to have over 10 million fresh graduates in the workforce every year.
For the time period between 2033-37, it suggests developing student cities to facilitate students. It talks to incentivize HEIs to partner with the industry to provide consulting and research services.
Setting an ambitious target to increase GER to 50% during this period the report suggests developing five student cities and the top 100 HEIs to be strong providers of consultancy to the industry as well as the top 200 HEIs to be strong partners with Industry for research services.
For the time period between 2038-2043, it suggests developing a student-centric ecosystem and exploring unique modalities for complex degrees.
“Improve international cooperation with global HEI network. Introduce online PhD degrees across HEIs, where applicable and feasible. Have over 2.5 million Indian students studying abroad. Top 200 HEIs to have international student exchange programs and develop quality faculty and student-centric HEI system,” the Vision 2047 document suggests.
For the period 2043-2047, it aims to put India among the top-10 international student-receiving nations with world-class HEIs for our students in all domains such as STEM, sports, language & culture etc.
For this it suggests increasing GER to 60%, aiming for 10 student cities, 500-700K+ international students pursuing higher education in India and 30-40 top 200 HEIs in international rankings.
BA Degree gaining traction
Indian higher education enrolments have increased by 3% year-on-year since 2018, with parity between male and female students; the Bachelor of Arts degree witnesses the highest enrolments.
The report mentions that the Indian HEI system enrolled 38.5M students across various disciplines in 2020. Out of the total student enrolment, 80% of students are pursuing a bachelor's degree. Also, growth in diplomas has flatlined due to the growing popularity and value of certifications.
In terms of disciplines and choice of courses, Bachelors of Arts, Science and commerce witness the highest enrolments.
According to NASSCOM insights, there is a clear demand-supply gap in digital skilled labour
In 2020, India’s demand for digital skilled labour was around eight times the size of the fresh talent pool by 2024, this demand is expected to increase to 20 times the available fresh talent pool
The demand for digital roles is growing at a CAGR of 19-23% while the labour installed is growing only by 16-20%.
A decade ago, the situation was entirely different in India and many niche courses like cyber security, automation, filmmaking, fashion designing, entrepreneurship, public policy, urban planning etc. were still being developed and were not being pursued by many students across the country.
However, now the HEIs in India have understood the rising trend and are offering courses as a part of their normal curriculum. The demand for non-conventional courses like vocational courses and skill-based courses that solve real-life problems and impart credibility to be a fit for certain types of employment is emerging as the biggest trend in the higher education sector. Apart from this, many private firms are undertaking re-skilling of the existing talent with updated technology and practices to make the best use of human resources.
Abhay an alumnus of IIMC and Delhi University, has over a decade long experience of reporting on various beats of journalism. During his free time he prefers listening to music or play indoor and outdoor games.