Category: Education

Being born and brought up in an English speaking country will mean that you know how to speak the basic language that’ll help you do almost all the required work. But this does not mean you will have a great hand at the language. To get your tongue attractive you would have to work hard on your vocabulary.

Well, for the same, there are many institutions and classes that can help you but this is something you can do on your own with a little bit of effort. If you do the 4 things mentioned below then with no time you will be able to talk like a pro and yes, this is going to help you stand out of the crowd. Language is a very important part of a person’s personality and it is mandatory to keep it shinning.

1. Watch a good movie

Watching sitcoms and regular romantic love stories are great when you want to be entertained. But when you wish to learn out of movies or from videos for that matter, it is important that you look into the genre of the movie first. Humans tend to learn faster when they observe and experience things and a video or a movie is a great way to virtually experience something. Thus, when people (Characters in the movie or video) will speak and use good terms, you will be able to catch them faster rather than learning them out of a dictionary.

2. Read books

Books can be great when it comes to vocabulary. To be honest not all books focus on great vocabulary usage but most of them do. Writers are a stereotypical group that is believed to be sharper at recognizing and using different terms. Thus, when you read textbooks, you get to receive more and better. Be it fiction or nonfiction, you can choose any depending on your choice. You don’t have to buy a book every time for this. You can borrow from a friend or easily rent it from sites like

3. Online platforms

The internet is a vast space that has a collection of everything. Take some time out and search for speeches of the great men and literary speakers. Their words have great power and motivation too. Even if you don’t get to learn many words out of them, you will definitely get motivated for life and the struggles that come along.

4. Use synonyms

While you are writing or speaking for the matter, keep a check that you pick out an attractive synonym rather than just speaking the basic word, for example, you can use artistic instinct in place of extreme self-obsession. This makes the text look attractive and definitely gives more power to you and the context you are speaking out on. Also, constant use of such words will develop a habit in you of using these words again and again ultimately resulting in an upliftment in your vocabulary.


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New Delhi: The government plans to rank states on the basis of their performance in education—from the quality of their school infrastructure to learning outcomes.
The idea is to instill a spirit of competition among states and get them to improve the quality of education that their students receive, two government officials said.
How well they use their resources, innovative projects are undertaken by their educational institutions and research outcomes will be the other measures they will be ranked on, the officials said, requesting anonymity.
The central government’s policy think tank Niti Aayog, in collaboration with the human resources development ministry (HRD ministry), is working on the index the states will be ranked on.
Niti Ayog has consulted independent education experts. The index is likely to be launched in a couple of months, one of the two officials said.

“The Niti Aayog and the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) are very interested in such an index. The whole exercise is aimed at making education output-driven than the present input-driven system,” said one of the experts who was consulted by Niti Ayog.
The expert, who, too, requested anonymity, said the performance will be tracked “on a realtime basis”, and any swings in the ranking of states can be seen on a dedicated website.
Niti Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant earlier this month indicated such rankings are in the works.
“The quality of education needs to be improved. We are focusing on learning outcomes. We are going to make states compete on the quality of education and learning outcomes,” Kant said at an event in New Delhi.
He said the government had already “put in four months of hard work in building this” and had consulted several top educationists across the world.
Kant said the central government intended to support the states, but it isn’t clear what the support would entail and if it will lead to changes in the funding mechanism for education.
India has one of the largest education systems in the world with nearly 330 million students in schools and colleges. The country has over 1.4 million schools, nearly 45,000 colleges and around 720 universities.
The quality of education remains a challenge from the primary to tertiary level, several studies have found. More than half of Class V students could not read a Class II text in 2014, according to the Annual Status of Education in Rural India report of 2015; in the global league tables, Indian universities lag far behind peers elsewhere. Just two Indian institutions—Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi— found a place in the top 200 universities list of QS World University Rankings and none in the Time Higher Education (THE) World University rankings in 2016. Both QS and THE are global university ranking agencies based out of UK.
The second government official cited above said the effort to compile state rankings is well-intentioned, but conceded it has potential pitfalls.
“Education is largely a state subject and taking all states on board is important. States for years are demanding more funds, and a differential funding pattern will have political consequence,” he said.



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Education ring in Ghaziabad traps over 100

According to victims, two people — who identified themselves as Ajay Singh and Ashish Gupta, and ran an office called ‘Media tricks’ out of Ansal Plaza in Vaishali — had contacted them over the phone and subsequently convinced them to shell out money on the promise of arranging MBBS seats for their wards under the ‘Nominee’ category, which are reserved for the children of disaster-affected persons.
The victims realized they had been duped when the admission letters from the respective medical colleges did not come by September 26, as promised by the accused, as September 30 was the date of commencement of the academic session. When they went to Ansal Plaza, they found the office locked.

“I received a call from an unknown number and a girl named Riya asked me about my son’s admission prospects into a medical college. After I told her about his details, she offered to let me speak to her boss (one of the accused) who promised me to get my son admitted to a government medical college,” said Arvind Kumar, a Noida resident, who had paid Rs 15 lakh for his son’s admission.
“He had even asked me to meet him at his office at Ansal Plaza and to prepare a demand draft of Rs 38,500 in the name of ‘Secretary, Medical Council Of India,” he added.



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indian-education-systemIndia, with an abundance of human capital and an increasing per capita income, is fast marching towards becoming one of the world’s largest economies and further competing with countries like the US and China. Millennials in India believe that while the world is brimming with opportunities, they are not confident enough when they are pitted against their global counterparts.
This gaping void is slowly but surely giving way to a change in the Indian education system. One can no longer be satisfied with one’s academic achievements alone as they are fast becoming redundant in a digital economy. New skills have to be learned each day. Set against this backdrop, International educational institutions (IEI) and innovative models of learning are now becoming increasingly popular in the Indian market. There is no dearth of examples to qualify this growing trend. Facebook’s recent investment in the Indian Education market with $50 million in By just is evidence of that fact and their faith in the opportunities in India.
Education as an opportunity in India
From a statistics stand point, the Indian student population today is the largest in the world at around 315 million, of which around 120 million students are in the age group of 18-22 years. The education market in India is expected to reach over $200 billion by FY17. Currently, higher education constitutes 59.7 percent of the market, school education 38.1 percent, pre-school 1.6 percent, and technology and multi-media the remaining 0.6 percent, according to a study compiled by the India Brand Equity Foundation (January 2016).
The de-globalisation wave impacting Europe with Brexit, shows how we have to be self-sufficient and capable of catering to our own economic needs. Clearly, there is no better way than in investing for the future in Indian millennials who are rearing to become a formidable workforce.
So where do all these mind-blowing facts lead to? We need to open at least 1,000 universities in the coming decade to cater to this spiking demand. I don’t think the solution lies in the existing education system. We need to embrace and adopt world-class facilities and education systems.
Need for globalization of Indian education
International educational institutes have realized this trend and potential and are looking to set up their campuses or partner with Indian institutes to cater to this burgeoning Indian student population. Nearly, 14 percent of the students in US universities are from India. Imagine the impact if those very same universities were to come into our own country to provide us with the same education. We would save a lot on student debts and further be able to build a cohesive education system right here in our backyard.
Take the case of Suresh from an upper middle-class family. He got the best of education available in the city that he lived in. Suresh has now completed his engineering graduation. His father now aspires to give him an Ivy League education towards a fruitful career and can also afford to pay the course fee. But he now finds himself in a quandary as the overall costs are prohibitive when it comes to sending his son abroad, taking care of his expenses and other related costs. Add to this having to stay away from their child during his education is another scary dimension.
There are millions of Indian Millennials like Suresh who harbor dreams of studying in universities like Harvard and Stanford. However, despite having the true potential to succeed in these challenging assignments, it continues to be a dream simply because of the economic and cultural hurdles limiting them. Millennials strongly believe that the Indian education system, the government and other stakeholders in the market should recognize this condition and take the necessary steps to make quality education accessible, relevant and economical.



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He is considered the father of International Baccalaureate (IB), having played a key role in designing the curriculum way back in 1968. Nearly four decades on, Professor Jeff Thompson still believes a better understanding of international education is needed.
In Bengaluru to sign a MoU with Indus Training and Research Institute (ITRI) to launch teacher certification programs in international education, Thompson, Emeritus Professor at the University of Bath, UK, spoke to TOI about the curriculum’s growing acceptance.Professor Mary Hayden, head, department of education, also shared her thoughts. Excerpts:
Is India a big market for international education?
India is home to a burgeoning number of institutions teaching international education.There are 584 international schools in the United Arab Emirates alone. China has 547.If we look at the numbers on another day, there will be more shockers because the curriculum is definitely growing. We need to promote curricula which are not regular and that’s why it’s exciting to come to India.
How would you define an international school in today’s context?
Let’s first look at what we are not about. International education isn’t about promulgating the western point of view.Our own research has strongly indicated that people who are trying to forego their identity in the name of international education are actually farther from the truth. With diversity as the essence, people should be more competent and confident about their own identity. They should contribute to the cause of international education to promote a global mindset.
How did it begin?
The idea behind formulating the curriculum was pragmatic – the International School of Geneva facing a problem back them. Having students who were the children of diplomats, United Nations workers or heads of multi-national companies from different countries, the school had to prepare them for a re-entry into their respective nations’ higher education system.
That’s when the need to have a curriculum, which could embrace education from around the world and which universities could accept, was felt. After a pilot program in the school, the International Schools Examination Syndicate was formed, which metamorphosed into International Baccalaureate.
How arbitrary is international education since it has to be in sync with the world?
The curriculum is permanently evolving. It will continue to do so as the world is changing every day. We have to keep students updated with information about different cultures and countries. Initially, when the curriculum came into effect, the most frequently asked question was `what shall we teach’. Now it has changed to `how shall we learn’. When we at the University of Bath get students from India or interact with teachers during workshops and conferences, we feel they have a common characteristic -they are open to change.
What about affordability?
No doubt that affordability is a big challenge. Governments and NGOs in different countries have made efforts to make education more affordable. An interesting pilot programme in North Africa looks at designing low-cost schools which follow the IB curriculum.



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Representational imageThe failure of Indian education system is stark when seen in the light of the fact that thousands of students every year go abroad for the college education. European universities and even the European governments seem to have a more definite plan for Indian students than India. A graduate degree in India is mostly a farce in most of the colleges. There is hardly any education imparted and it is seen as more a stepping stone for masters or a necessity to do something else. Students file into colleges spend their time in everything but education. Courses are outdated, the faculty is inept, illiterate to the changes around them.
A recent experience in Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University really brought all these issues upfront. The outreach cell of the university organized a seminar on globalization. It roped in a public sector company as a sponsor, tied up with a one-man think tank from Chandigarh. Invited to speak I was piqued as it seemed like an interesting effort. It seems only the invitation was genuine. Neither the university nor the organizers were actually interested in a seminar. All that they were interested in was getting to know a minister. The obsession of the academia in Delhi with politicians is not new. Most faculty appointments are at the behest of the politicians. Huge physical infrastructure but very poor soft infrastructure is not just true of public universities like Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha but it is even worse in private universities.
Representational imageRepresentational image
The highway from Delhi to Roorkee is dotted with shells of buildings posing as private universities. Actually on any national highway anywhere if you see a glass or fancy building with nothing around it will be a private university. Everything is new and shiny, designed to grab a student’s attention. Large rooms are labeled labs with hardly any equipment inside, huge campus with skeletal staff and even less faculty.
As of 2014, there are 677 universities, 37,204 colleges and 11,443 stand-alone institutions in India, as per the statistics from the website of India’s HRD ministry. There is no dearth of institutions willing to give a degree of money, education or skills are not the concern. Higher education is in rot at all levels, the irony is that these numbers are touted as an indication of the prowess of our education system. Not a sign that this rapid mushrooming has created an edifice that is destroying an aspirational class. There are very little debate and discussion on the fact that our higher education system has completely collapsed.
A study done by a private body says that approximately 18.43 percent of engineering graduates are employable, which means 80 percent of them are unemployable. The situation is worse for plain graduates and that is where the real malaise lies. Employers say just 5 percent of the graduates in other disciplines are actually employable. What these figures mean is that in sum higher education or college education has collapsed. Do we see any concern around this collapse? NO.
The IITs, AIIMs, IIMs are cited as examples of success, not because they have great faculty but because of the students. How many faculty members from our so called Institutes of National Importance have done anything worthy. A committee under Anil Kakodkar was formed in 2011 to revamp the 30 NITs, the second rung of the IITs, and not the 37,204 colleges or the 11,304 institutions. The rationale according to the preamble to this committee says that these 30 NITs can aid in ‘nation building’. So what will the lakhs of students in thousands of colleges do? If they are not involved in aiding the nation building exercise than we have a much bigger problem on hand.
Kakodkar’s report is a bundle of homilies, generalities, and advice from geriatrics. It was submitted in 2014 to the then Education Minister Smriti Irani. Here is a sample of Kakodkar committee’s recommendation: “ICT for the NITs acts like a force multiplier. NITs must deploy and upgrade the IT infrastructure and associated facilities. Each institute must facilitate extensive use of computer-aided / on-line teaching, virtual labs, e-learning resources, connectivity with National Knowledge Network, etc”. This is a recommendation in 2014, in the world of MOOCs, Coursera, and availability of free lectures from MIT or any other university of repute. In a world of mobile internet, ubiquitous internet access. Its recommending National knowledge network !! will a student go there or see and hear the latest lecture from a noble laureate. Even the term ICT referring to Information computer technology harks back to the 60’s when some of the committee members actually did their education.
This is the saddest and the most ironical part of higher education the system is ossified because of its sheer reliance on age, hierarchy or seniority. While the world that their students live and learn in has changed. Higher education will not be revived or pulled out from depths of his failure by people who do not have a stake in its future. A retired nuclear scientist more a bureaucrat should not be recommending anything about the future of anything let along higher education. Bureaucrats should be kept far away when it comes to reinventing.
While we struggle with higher education, Europe seems to be eyeing the conscientious Indian student. More and more students are now traveling abroad for education. Earlier cost used to be the big barrier for a foreign education. But as our higher education system is collapsing other countries are seeing it as an opportunity. German chancellor Angela Merkel has approved a six-year plan to attract Indian students to Germany. Under fire for her liberal immigrant policy, she is pushing German universities to attract Indian students waiving off tuition fees for them. Daria Kulemetyeva, of Germany’s largest public university, Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, says, Indian students will have to pay just the administrative fees of 300 euros per year if they are selected in a course. The travel and accommodation costs are separate. The rationale, according to Kulemetyeva is to seek diversity in the student population.
It is not just German universities, almost every country in Europe and its public universities are keen to attract Indian student. Universities from Sweden, Norway, Spain, and France have been working very hard for the last few years to attract Indian students. They have adapted their courses in English offering free language lessons for immigrant students, etc. A combination of aging population and fall in interest in higher education among the current generation is forcing these universities to India. British universities have always found India a fertile ground for students.
John Sanders of the University of Sussex, says the lack of standards in Indian higher education means that our Indian student population has always been growing year on year. Harish Lokhun of the University of Edinburgh says, now Indian students go for even liberal arts and humanities whereas earlier they were only interested in engineering and the likes. Even the oldest university in Europe, Sweden’s Uppsala University is looking for Indian students, and for a reason. Lina Solander, of Uppsala University, “When we are looking at health problems, Indian students would have a much more different view of health policy than a local Swedish student.”
Spain has formed a consortium of four universities to target Indian students. Matilde Delgado Chawton represents Universidad Autonoma De Madrid, one of the leading university which is part of
the consortium. She says, that the gaps in higher education in India means that only a small number of students gets access to quality, we are looking at bridging those gaps by offering a quality education with a European exposure. Spain is also looking at funding Indian students. Indian students have traditionally looked at just US universities for graduation, now they have more avenues opening up.
If India does not look at the collapse of its higher education closely not only will we be leading to a new brain drain but a collapse of aspirations. This is especially of concern to the new government that has come to power on the rise of this aspirational class.



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The US has always been a magnet for Indian students and now the figures suggest that there is an increase in the number of those joining universities there. The Open Doors, an annual report on international students in the US compiled by the Institute of International Education, says that in 2015 there was a 30% increase in students from other countries going to the US over the previous year. Of this, India is the second leading place of origin for students and 13.6% of the international student population is Indian.
The US system has a number of attractions. The courses are very varied and flexible. Here a student getting into a graduate course has to stick with the subjects chosen, in the US the student has the option to change midstream if he or she wants to. Students who need financial resources are able to access these from a variety of sources and universities help them in this process. In India, private scholarships are difficult to obtain and the conditions for getting a government grant are tough and restricted largely to students in the reservation quota. Students abroad are able to get internships, which helps them later in the job market. Perhaps the one major attraction is the synergy between academics and industry. Many courses are tailored to help students get jobs, again quite a departure from the largely academically-oriented curriculum in India. Research opportunities are also limited in India as many higher educational institutions do not have enough infrastructure or faculty for this.
The US sinks about $300 billion in higher education. India should consider investing much more in higher education as this will not only benefit our students but could be a potentially huge revenue generator. Already students from neighboring and African countries see India as an attractive education destination since it is cheaper and the medium is English. We should cast the net wider. One thing that ought to be done without delay is to ensure that foreign students feel welcome here. This has not always been the case, especially with African students, who face racial slurs and even violence. We must have a proactive policy of going out and seeking students once we have a more flexible and student-friendly system in place. The returns on this could be enormous and we should not miss the bus. There are many lessons we can learn from the US, and how to structure higher education and attract a wider variety of students are certainly some of them.



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Environment education in India. Representational image. ReutersOne of the plenary speakers at a recently held conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Ahmedabad highlighted the need for Environment Education (EE) to be political. EE had been away from politics for long and this, she said, had rendered it weak. Participants were quick to raise questions about the risks this could pose of complicating the issue further, especially given the ability of the facilitators to deliberate on such topics.
The speaker’s response was unambiguous. On one hand, students today have access to most of the information – from the internet and other sources. On the other hand, the onus lies on the facilitators to upgrade their skills and communicate the issues responsibly in an apt manner.
In other words, not talking on the topics was neither an option nor a solution. To underscore her point, she stated how the Cauvery issue could have been discussed with students by talking about factors which had led to the current scenario. Be it the increase in area under ‘summer rice’ in Tamil Nadu, rise in the area cultivating sugarcane in Karnataka or an expanding Bengaluru not maintaining its lakes but seeking water from Cauvery.
Environment education in India. Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters
The other issue she raised was that EE was practiced in an unduly polite fashion. Dropping uncomfortable topics did not help EE. Students, who came in SUVs, for example, had to be told that they were not helping the environment. The pollution caused by their vehicles, which most of them did not even car pool in, had to be highlighted. These students, most of them from elite schools, were in a position to influence their parents on such decisions. The elite schools needed to know that, amongst schools, they were the worst polluters.
The session brought out the need to take risks and venture on fresh paths. These debates were the need of the hour for EE, which needs to reinvent itself and respond to the changing times. However, addressing these issues alone may not help unless we address the larger issue at hand.
We appear to be good at moving from old terms and settling, albeit temporarily, on the new ones. ESD has replaced EE by virtue of being more encompassing and holistic, while Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are considered to be more evolved and tuned into today’s understanding than the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). However, is there any merit in jumping to fresh terms if we do not question the paradigm within which they operate? Terms which, as the discussions brought out, not many beyond the proverbial choir are bothered about!
Our alienation from nature, today, to a significant extent, is the consequence of an ‘education system’ that is the factoid, data, and information drove, devoid of attention to understanding the interconnectedness that is integral to all life forms. The primary goal of this ‘education system’ is to churn out ‘graduates’ who will fit into the economy (read contribute to ‘growth’ and ‘development’).
That we are failing even in this is a separate discussion. Given that EE or ESD is taught within the ambit of this system, the space they occupy and the scope they harbor will be dictated by the economy. The question then is that in an economy fuelled by ‘growth’ and ‘development’ what is the relevance and impact of EE or ESD? Especially when not only is the state’s own vision of ‘development’ myopic but also, for a large chunk of population, the term is synonymous with roads and jobs.
Firstpost asked one of the participants, after her presentation, whether her recommendations would make an impact given the larger system in place and if the system should be challenged. “They may not but we have to work within the system,” was her response Globeinform.
Have we got tuned to not question the system? What then of the ‘critical inquiry’ within Environment Education? Are we unwilling to question our lifestyles as we fear the inconvenience it will bring upon us? After all that we have brought upon the planet do we expect an easy way out? Nothing comes for free, surely not a better future.
The SDG do not explicitly focus on ‘reducing consumption’ or question ‘growth’ and unless we do that the scenario appears bleak. In a perfect world, it would be possible to have an increase in GDP, factory output and other positive indicators of growth on one hand and improved ecological conditions on the other. In the imperfect world, which we inhabit, history has taught us that this is anything but a realistic expectation.
The current scenario is akin to running on a track with the finish line moving further at a faster rate. By the time we will have achieved limited success (assuming we do) our actions, lifestyles, decisions will accentuate the threats and bring forth a scenario that warrants, even more, attention! We not only need to run but also ensure that the finish line remains static. Environment Education, in its current form, does not appear to be helping.



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Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said the answer to country’s sustainable transformation lies in its education system, as he underscored how India was once prosperous in the past due to universities like Nalanda, Takshila, and Vikramshila.
“I always say India had 25% of the world GDP and 35% of world trade for centuries together. Today, we are not even 1% of world trade. We are lagging behind as far as GDP is concerned,” he said.
“And therefore, how the nation can sustainably transform is the real thing. The answers lie in our education system,” he said.
Javadekar was speaking through a video link at an international conclave on higher education organized in Gandhinagar as part of pre-Vibrant Gujarat Investors’ Summit. He could not come here due to injury that prevents him from traveling for 10-15 days, he said.
Javadekar said that had there been a ranking system in the past, universities like Nalanda, Takshila, Vikramshila would have ranked number 1, 2 and 3 in the world.
“Indian universities were the best. The world’s talent used to come here to learn. So I believe that only those countries can prosper which have the best of universities,” he said, stressing the need to improve higher education in the country Planet Amend.
For making higher education better, he said, we first need to improve “the learning outcomes of primary and secondary education”.
“In primary education, we have to inculcate and promote inquisitiveness in a student. Because that is the foundation for any new innovation. Unless you promote inquisitiveness, there will be no new thoughts and people won’t be able to inculcate innovative attitude,” he said.
“But at the higher learning centers, a government’s duty is to provide atmosphere for research, innovation, and improvement of quality,” he further said

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Education is one of the most important pillars of the development of any economy. In India, the education sector has undergone a major transformation over the last five decades. Before we explore the investment opportunities in this sector, it would be interesting to understand how it has evolved to where it stands today.

The education sector in India came into the limelight during the first National Policy Education (NPE) in 1968 which made education compulsory for all children up to the age 14 and allocated 6% of national income towards education spending. This initiative laid a foundation of ‘radical structuring’ required in the Indian education system and also gave us the uniform pattern of 10+2+3 (secondary school + high school + undergraduate education) that is followed till date.

The second edition of NPE in 1986 emphasized on equal education opportunity for all citizens, opening of more academic institutions and setting up non-formal education network. Seven years later, the 1986 policy was modified through the Programme of Action (POA) to set up a few more reforms and pave way for a common entrance exam for admission in professional and technical courses. Then came the historic Right to Education Act (RTE) in 2009-10, under which all children in the age group 6-14 years had a fundamental right to free and compulsory education Univers Inform.

Today, India has over 1.4 million schools with more than 227 million students enrolled and over 36,000 higher education institutes, making it one of the largest education systems in the world.

Further, according to India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), the market size of the Indian education sector is expected to reach USD 120 billion in FY17.The projected growth rate is estimated around 10-15% in the coming years. Clearly, a sign of substantial progress, one would say. Unfortunately, not really!

India ranks 92 in education among 142 countries if we consider a report by Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. This report ranks 142 countries across 8 categories such as economy, governance, entrepreneurship & opportunity, social capital, education, health, safety & security and personal freedom. The average rank of India based on these 8 categories is 99, not something to be proud about. There is another factor that puts India in the backseat. According to Census 2011, India’s literacy rate is only 74%, putting it in the bottom 10 Asian countries with a literacy rate below 80%.

Why is India not positioned on the top rung of the global education standard ladder? Why the government initiatives have not been able to deliver the expected and acceptable outcomes? There is only one appropriate answer: poor quality education. This further opens up a Pandora’s box because the reasons for poor quality education are varied:

A bureaucratic regulatory framework from government level to the management team of the academic institutions.
Rote-learning based curriculum and learning environment.
Teachers are either underpaid, unmotivated, inadequately trained or don’t have a participatory role in the decision-making.
High student-teacher ratio – a typical case of demand-supply gap.
Lack of adequate infrastructure to set up and operate schools & colleges.
Lack of technology in classroom learnings across most academic institutions.
The demographic diversity acts as a barrier in implementing a holistic and universal education programme.
There is no doubt that the government is taking radical steps to provide education to all and as per international quality. The Draft NPE 2016 has already set the ball rolling to put India’s education sector on the global map. The new policy aims to bridge the gap between the growing population and quality education for all, and make India a hub of knowledge superpower. It is expected that this policy will bring the ‘most wanted’ reforms such as technology enabled education, skill education as a part of syllabus for more employability, training support for teachers, compulsory quality audits for educational institutions and reducing government intervention, among a few others.

The key features of the Draft NPE 2016 are

Provide equal opportunity to all children and prepare them better for formal schooling by increasing access to early childhood education.
Initiatives to restructure evaluation and accreditation criteria as per international standards to ensure quality assurance in higher education.
Periodic renewal of curricula to eliminate rote learning and teach skills for employability.
Set up a Teacher Education University at the national level for teacher development and management.
Make Information and Communication Technology (ICT) integral to education.
Focus on school assessment and governance to measure school quality.
Accreditation to institutes offering open and distance learning & Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
Raise investment and expand capacity of existing institutions.
Make education inclusive and avoid social discrimination.
Other significant initiatives from the government were reflected in Union Budget 2016:

Allocation of USD 6.70 Bn for school education, and USD 4.44 Bn for higher education, an increase of 4.9% as compared to the last year.
Efforts towards making 10 public and 10 private institutions at par with international excellence.
Launch of Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) to improve educational infrastructure.
E-repository of educational records.
However, the efforts undertaken by the government will not suffice to uplift the education sector. It should be noted that only 3% of the GDP is currently towards against education, as against the requirement of 6%.And, then there are also implementation challenges, given the administrative bureaucracy and demographic diversity.

In such a scenario, the ideal solution for the government would be to seek active participation from the private players, domestic as well as foreign.So far, the government has maintained the philosophy that education is not and should not be ‘for profit’ business.If this entry barrier is eliminated, a Public Private Partnership (PPP)model would provide a fresh lease of life in the education sector. It can help to meet the gaps that currently exist in the educational infrastructure in terms of financial assistance, requirement of a number of academic institutions& teaching faculty, and other resources.

It is estimated that Indian education industry needs USD 123 Bn investment by 2030. But, the current private investment is less than 3% of share value as compared to investment in other sectors.That now brings us to the opportunities for investment that exists for the private players in the education sector in India.

1. Opening up of new institutions

The private sector already has a 25% market share in the K-12 education sector, with enrolments in the private schools standing around 31%. According to a PRS Legislative Research report released in August 2016, the number of students in classes 1-8 in government schools declined from 71% to 62%, between 2008-09 and 2014-15. Similarly, out of 677 universities across the country, 185 are owned privately and the enrolment rate at private institutions stands at 59%. These statistics clearly imply that there is an increasing preference towards private institutions in education.

Given that India still needs 40,000 schools, 35,000 colleges and 700 universities to educate its 130 million school-aged children and the government has targeted 30% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) by 2020, there is a bright future for private players to start the own venture in the education space. They can obtain direct licenses from regulatory bodies or take the franchise model route (Delhi Public School has a franchise model with the minimum investment cost of USD 308,000). The HRD Ministry has already partnered with Tata Motors Ltd, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, and Hubtown Ltd to open three IITs in Nagpur, Ranchi, and Pune. And, there are also opportunities to setup private / deemed universities such as BITS Pilani, Manipal, and Amity.

Indian Educational InfrastructureImage Source

2. E-learning

The classroom learning has moved beyond textbooks and blackboards. These days, there is an increasing focus on the use of digital, mobile, multimedia, audio-visual and experiential based study materials. The e-learning market will grow at a CAGR of 17.4% till 2018, says a Ken Research Group report. There is a tremendous scope in the ed-tech space which is expected to cross USD 70 billion by 2017 and is catching investors’ eyes.

One of the ed-tech pioneers in India were Educomp and NIIT. Over the last two decades, Educomp has reached out to 30 million learners and academicians across more than 65,000 schools to provide digital and interactive learning content. NIIT has been also instrumental in building employable manpower by providing multi-disciplinary skill and talent development courses to individuals, corporates, and institutions since 1981.

Vedanta: an online education platform Vedanta which offers students get live and personalized training. It has a backing of USD 5 million from Tiger Global and Accel.
Byju’s: a learning app that provides supplemental school curriculum classes for Class 6-12 and test preparation training for CAT, JEE, IAS, GMAT & GRE. Byju recently raised USD 50 million from Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation CZI. Earlier, Sequoia Capital and Sofia had invested USD 75 million in Byju.
INurture: has partnered with more than 15 colleges and universities, private as well as government, to provide online, tailor made graduate and post-graduate courses. It has raised Rs30 crores (USD 5 million)(INR 32.50 Cr.) from Bertelsmann India Investments (BII).
Youth4Work: a new generation talent search platform which improves professional skills and builds professional profiles, which are made available to companies for recruitment. It has raised USD 500,000 bridge capital from angel investors Dan Sandhu, Aurum Equity Partners LLP and GAP investments.
XSEED Education: a for-profit K-12 education startup that offers customized and well-researched proprietary curriculum for students and trains its teachers in-house. It has a growing popularity in small towns. So far, it has seen enrolments from about 7,50,000 students. Last year, it ventured in ed-tech space by acquiring Pleolabs, an online education, and learning management platform.
3. Teacher Training

The quality of teachers still remains a major concern due to low salary payment, lack of decision-making power and absence of accountability. The draft NPE 2016 states that there is a shortage of over 5 lakh teachers in elementary school and about 14%of government secondary schools do not have the mandatory minimum 6 teachers. A majority of teachers do not have required knowledge or teaching skills which result in inferior learning in the classrooms. Also, due to an increasing number of schools, the management comes under pressure to hire qualified teachers or graduates from substandard institutions.

This calls for setting up teacher training institutes, designing courses or developing tools which can help teachers get a formal training, refresh their knowledge on a regular basis, reduce their workload or improve their performance to make classroom learning more effective.For instance, Simplilearn provides short-term, online certification courses for working professionals, including teachers to upgrade their skills.Then, there is Teachers of India, an online initiative of Azim Premji Foundation to help teachers access teaching and learning resources, adapt new classroom practices and share their knowledge with their peers. Guru-G, backed by India Educational Investment Fund offers a gamified platform for teaching, teacher training and certification of teachers.

4. Rural Education

There are a large number of students in Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities and rural areas who don’t have access to education due to poverty, lack of brick & mortar infrastructure and financial aid. The state and central government have invested USD 4.7 billion) to improve standards of education in these places. However, there is a need for more funds & efforts to establish last mile connectivity which can be achieved with private sector participation. Rural education is already witnessing private participation. Unitus Seed Fund backed Hippocampus Learning Centres is already doing its bit. It runs more than 200 learning centers across 80 villages in South India, educates 16,000 children and employs 500 teachers as of date. Aavishkaar, venture capital fund invested USD 1.23 Mn in Karadi Path Education Co to help expand its English language learning program among primary school students in the rural and semi-urban regions.

5. Inclusive Education

This is a vastly untapped area with a huge potential for investment. Currently, the Scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) provides assistance to children with disabilities to pursue education. But, according to a United Nations report, 34% of 2.9 million children with disabilities in India are out of school. There is negligible development in inclusive education, barring the ones like Awaz speech assistive device and app for autistic children and a few other ‘special needs’ children’s learning apps. Private players can make efforts in this direction by setting up disabled-friendly infrastructure in the schools, developing assisted software & devices, and designing training modules to prepare teachers for inclusive education.

India’s education sector is on the path of rapid growth and is expected to generate good annual returns about 7-8 years after the investment. The current government is taking significant steps to speed up the progress, but it is the joint efforts of the private players that will breed innovation in pedagogical products & services, pool more & better talent, reduce the cost of education and make the system more efficient. Hence, this time is ripe for private investment in the education sector.

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