This message is an invitation to urge aspiring entrepreneurs to explore opportunities in the education and training sector – not just for altruistic reasons, because it is good for the country, but because it is also a very large market opportunity – a $100 Bn+ opportunity,
to be precise!
In his incisive and insightful book ‘Rebooting India – Realizing a billion aspirations’, Nandan Nilekani has devoted an entire chapter on why rebooting the education sector is critical. In his previous book, ‘Imagining India’ his thoughts on the subject are summarized in the words,
Few things are as wide-ranging in their impact on the economy as education. The collapse of our schools is a deep crack in India’s foundation, and it impacts everything from our health achievements and fertility rates to our economic mobility and political choices.
Understanding The Education Sector In India
India has one of the largest education systems in the world – nearly 1.5 Mn schools, 700+ universities and over 35,000 higher education institutes. Yet, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the real issues of concern are in the quality of education being provided by these institutes, magnified by the lack of quality teachers. Nandan cites a case of Maharashtra where, after an annual evaluation of teachers, 99% of Maharashtra’s primary teachers and 95% of its upper primary school teachers were found to be unfit to teach.
How well we educate our young will determine what role they are able to play in the global talent pool. If we mess this up, it won’t take long for our children, that we call our ‘demographic dividend’, to become our demographic challenge, and for no fault of these children that are passing through the corridors of our weak education system.
Given the vast scale of the country, and the adverse supply-demand ratio of teachers per se, and that good teachers are unlikely to go to far-flung areas, the idea that merely building more schools and enrolling more teachers will solve this deficit is wishful thinking. At any rate this is not a solution that can be implemented in one generation and robbing a generation of an opportunity at a better quality of life because the country could not fix its education system is criminal. Which is why, just like in healthcare, the education sector too has to be rebooted using technology.
There is an urgent need to urge aspiring entrepreneurs to explore opportunities in the education and training sector: Not just for altruistic reasons, not just because it is good for the country, but because it is also a very large market opportunity. The size of the education market in India is estimated to over $65 Bn. It you take into consideration ancillary activities like content and training, and test prep etc, the education market in India is estimated to be $80 to 100 Bn.