Budget 2021

Harnessing the demographic advantage

MEERA SIVA | Updated on January 12, 2018
The Change

Many interesting ideas have been proposed to lift the education and skill levels in the country. The thrust is on encouraging local involvement and autonomy to boost outcome.

Rather than place emphasis on quantity, thought seems to be on quality and monitoring results. And rather than the top down approach for content, innovative local solutions are being looked at. Along these lines, a new fund is being proposed.

Content creating agencies are also being freed from managing testing with the creation of an autonomous National Testing Agency.

The much-needed reforms in higher education are also being proposed with changes to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and a new framework for accreditation based on outcomes. And vocational skill development initiatives and apprentice programmes will also focus on quality.

The Background

Given the large population of young — 41 per cent of people in India are under 20 years of age — the quality of education is a key factor in harnessing the demographic advantage.

With about 36,000 higher education institutes likely to create the second largest graduate talent pipeline by 2020, the employability of graduates is very poor. So, improving the quality of education and having employable talent will have a multiplier effect on productivity, earnings, consumption, savings and hence the overall economy.

Also, technology-enabled learning — through methods such as online courses — will help achieve scale at lower cost. All these thoughts bode well for the sector that has not seen new ideas in a long while.

The Verdict

The push for skill development can provide a boost to Career Point Education and NIIT. CORE Education and Educomp — not in the best of their health — could see revival, aided by focus on ICT-enabled education.

Online methods for learning and providing the infrastructure to ensure that it reaches rural locations will aid providers such as MT Educare that are betting on digital content.

In general, the openness to innovative ideas in education can help the prospects of many education technology start-ups that have received private funding.

There has been a slowdown in listing in this space with Resonance Eduventure postponing its listing plans. There may be a revival in IPOs in the education space, and already CL Educate, a test preparation service provider, is slated to go public.

Published on February 01, 2017

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