Expansion and reform of the higher education system in India will be driven by the 29 Indian states. As the states are on the rise in India – so are the opportunities for UK education providers, according to a new report by the British Council.
India has almost 30 million students enrolled in 48,500 higher education institutions. The new Indian government has led to a rapid devolution of authority and budgets towards the states. These changes will affect the 97 per cent of the higher education sector which come under their control, including many private colleges. This presents a significant opportunity for partnership and signals a potential shift in strategic approach towards international engagement with India. There has never been a better time to collaborate with India in higher education.
The new report from British Council in partnership with the UK Higher Education International Unit offers for the first time a comparative statistical analysis across all 29 states, a deeper look into five key states and the key institutions in them and an updated insight on the Indian education system, and its challenges, in respect to a new Indian government. The report also provides overview of international competitor activity at the state level as well as a description of the various statutory bodies and university types in India.
Five of India’s 29 states were selected for deeper analysis due to their greater potential for international partnership and recruitment. Selection was based on a matrix covering: scale (over 500k enrolments), maturity (gross enrolment ratios) and quality (student teacher ratios) of the state system, as well as the political policies and climate. To ensure all four regions of India were covered, this resulted in the Punjab in the North, Gujarat in the West, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the South and Odisha in the East. The report also gives an insight into at a range of fifty institutions in these states – private and public, new and more established ones that are ripe for international partnership.
The report does not claim other states are not ready for engagement, or that these are the top priority states - but those selected were done so to cover a diverse geography and on key criteria as above.
Rob Lynes, Director of the British Council in India, said “India is a large and complex country to operate in, and the new Indian government wants to drive change. It is now necessary to view India in more detail than at the national level, especially as we are seeing a rapid move towards more state level autonomy. I hope this report, which highlights key areas for potential engagement, will be useful for UK Universities and Colleges who are seeking to strengthen their relationships with India’’.
Vivienne Stern, Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit commented: “The UK higher education sector already has strong links with India, however the landscape is changing fast and we need to better understand the rapid devolution of authority and budgets in India at state level if we are to engage in the most productive way with its higher education system. This report will equip our sector with the granular understanding needed to ensure that we continue to build on the higher education links that exist between our two countries”.
Although only around five per cent of the 31,000 international students who studied in India in 2012 came from North America, Europe and Oceania, international education hubs such as the UK, US, Canada and Australia are actively forging deeper ties with Indian institutions through research and study exchange programmes. An understanding of the states and their educational policies and ambitions is therefore key to any successful attempts at partnerships.
The Indian states are as diverse as the people who live in them - over 160 new private universities have been established in the last seven years – but five states (Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh) have more than fifty per cent of all private universities in the country. One third (ten) of all states account for almost 80 per cent (78%) of all HE enrolments in India.
The UK’s relationship with India will remain critical over the next decade as India leapfrogs traditional stages of development. In terms of digital engagement, India currently has 762m active mobile phone connections - of which 111m are smartphones, and tablet sales have risen to nearly 3.5 million from 350,000 in last two years. Multiplex cinema openings, top end brand car sales and building new shopping malls are all indicators of the continued growth of the middle classes in India. By 2030, India is estimated to be the third largest economy and will be home to the largest and one of the youngest populations in the world.