India jumps five ranks to 35th in Worldwide Education for the Future Index 2019

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 18, 2020

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India makes strides in teaching youths the skills for future

India jumped five ranks in the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI) 2019, as per a report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

The index ranks countries based on their abilities to equip students with skill-based education. The report analyses education system from the perspective of skill-based education “in areas such as critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, collaboration, creativity and entrepreneurship, as well as digital and technical skills.”

Improvement across teaching and socio-economic environments

India ranked 35th on the overall index in 2019 with a total score of 53, based on three categories – policy environment, teaching environment and overall socio-economic environment. The country ranked 40th with an overall score of 41.2 across categories in 2018.

“Among the world’s largest economies, the US, UK, France and Russia all fell back in the index, while China, India and Indonesia took steps forward,” the report said.

In 2019, India scored 56.3 in policy environment falling from a 61.5 score in 2018. India’s score of 52.2 in the teaching environment category and 50.1 in the socio-economic environment category increased significantly from 32.2 and 33.3 in 2018 respectively.

Policy changes in education

The report, however, attributed India’s growth to the new education policy introduced by the government.

“India has made particular strides in the policy environment, with a new national education policy published in early 2019 that explicitly mentions future-oriented skills such as critical thinking, communication and entrepreneurship.” the report said

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in the Union Budget 2020, had highlighted a New Education Policy to be announced soon under ‘Aspirational India’ that will focus on “greater inflow of finance to attract talented teachers, innovate and build better labs.” The policy will focus further on skill-based education.

FM had promised allocation of ₹99,300 crore to education and ₹3,000 crore for skills. The Ministry had also proposed to start degree level full-fledged online education programme along with apprenticeship embedded degree or diploma courses in 150 higher educational institutions which will begin by March 2021.


The 2018 WEFFI report had highlighted the shortcomings in India’s education system emphasizing upon its inability to utilise the opportunity of internationalising its higher education system.

“China, India and Malaysia, for example, all have a great appetite to internationalise higher education systems” points out Rajika Bhandari of the Institute of International Education had said, as quoted in the report.

Budget 2020 also proposed new additions to its study in India programme.

“India should be a preferred destination for higher education. Hence, under its “Study in India” programme, Ind-SAT is proposed to be held in Asian and African countries. It shall be used for benchmarking foreign candidates who receive scholarships for studying in Indian higher education centres,” Sitharaman had said in her speech.

A decentralised education system is another shortcoming of India’s education policy according to the 2019 report.

“Well-intentioned policy goals relating to future skills development often do not get filtered downward, a hazard in economies such as the US and India that have large, decentralised education systems,” the report said.

Finland was at the apex of the index, with strengths across each category followed by Sweden.

The report and index were commissioned by the Yidan Prize Foundation.

Published on February 18, 2020

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