It was in 1961 when literacy rate in India was as low as 28%, that the seeds of distance learning were placed in the Indian education system. More than 40 years down the line, not only has the open and distance learning (ODL) system grown significantly – but the overall literacy rate too has reached to 74%. Mass education has always been an important aspect of India’s nation building agenda. With this the role of distance learning system in taking education to the masses cannot be denied. In fact, today, India has one national open university, 13 state open universities, and more than four million students are enrolled in different ODL programs. These figures testify that distance learning is playing a significant role in improving the overall literacy status in the country.
Here is why distance learning market is flourishing in India
Technavio’s research analysts predict the distance learning market in India to grow significantly in the future posting a CAGR of 11% by 2020. There are several factors which have contributed to this rising demand for ODL in the country. To begin with, it is the initiatives by the Government of India (GoI) which added popularity and credibility to ODL institutes. Right from traditional methods of delivering education, the GoI is diligently working make education easily available to the masses through online platforms like SWAYAM.
Another important reason behind the popularity of distance learning is the way in which course material and learning methodology have turned into a more student-friendly one. For instance, with hybrid learning methodology, students can not only easily enroll for various study programs, but can also programs study at their pace and attempt completing assignments on their own. Through internet chatrooms, the students can easily get in touch with the tutor and peer group to discuss and clear doubts.
Along with the improvement of the education technology, adoption of the SPOC (small private online course) model has made distance learning system easier for students. The SPOC model provides the learners with structured assessments, peer learning platform, and accreditations from institutes involved. Though majorly provided by private vendors, our analysts expect large universities to adopt this model to overcome the challenge of negative teacher-student ratio.
Lastly, India is among those few emerging economies which have invested substantially in the education sector. With the inputs from think tanks, noted educators, policy makers, and technocrats a comprehensive plan has been developed to take education to the grassroot level. The Digital India initiative and congenial environment for start-ups have further boosted the distance learning market. Also, increased collaboration between the universities and corporates to train the professionals has further broadened the scope of distance learning in India.
Future of distance learning in India
It will be right to conclude that India is seen as a major hub by several vendors in the distance learning market. Vendors like EduKart, Simplilearn, and PythaGurus have leveraged the Digital India initiative and reached out to those places where the traditional classroom system did not exist. The recent legislation which allows the University Grants Commission (UGC) to provide M.Phil. and Ph.D. programs through distance learning has further increased the scope of ODL system in India.
Looking for an in-depth analysis of the distance learning market?
You might also be interested in: