India is the world's most exciting Higher Education market. One may receive this with a tinge of skepticism, simply because one has heard this before. But it would be wrong to think that India was always the world's most exciting Higher Education market. That would have been China in the past, and America before that: India's moment is coming now.
Part of it is simple demography: National Intelligence Council's Global Trends 2030 (see here) highlights some of the fundamentals. In terms of what it calls the Demographic Window of Opportunity - the years when the proportion of Children (0 - 15 years) is less than 30% and the proportion of the seniors (65 years and above) is less than 15% - India arrives now: Its DWO stretches from 2015 to 2050 (see page 24). This closes in Russia and the United States in 2015, and China, which remains a relatively youthful country, has only 10 years left (till 2025). The other exciting demographic opportunities may be much smaller (notably, Brazil or Iran, from the same chart) or disrupted for other reasons (Sub-Saharan Africa, which has a relatively youthful population, but will face a food production challenge to maintain the same, apart from political turmoil).
However, India's demographic opportunity was always rather well known. Other challenges, regulation and complexity, were always daunting. This is where the elections of 2014 may be put in context. Whether or not the current Prime Minister is acceptable to everyone, the electoral mandate is mostly towards an unified, national idea of India. The country is united in aspiration, and is driven by a strong middle class participation (66% of the eligible voters voted). The electoral platform they voted for is one of reducing regulation and government interference, and this may actually happen. The administration has a clear mandate - the first administration to have that since 1984 - and can impose its will. Whether such powers will be used for productive purposes, or will be frittered away instead in pushing an obsessive social agenda of creating a majoritarian state, remains to be seen. But, if the new administration stick to the message of the mandate rather than succumbing to the hubris (and, as pragmatic politicians, they may as well make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity rather than indulging in megalomania), the new administration will do just as it was told - step aside and reduce complexity.
Higher Education will be a key battleground. It is currently inefficient, ill-equipped, understaffed and lack technology and innovation. Not just it matters that the neighbour and competitor China is making huge strides in Higher Education, the Indian government's immediate challenge - the downside of demographic opportunity - is to be able to absorb an additional 10 million people who will arrive in the workforce every year. Since all this will happen within the context of a changing workplace, economic and technological shifts, this is a hugely complex issue, and will require the state to go beyond the simple prescriptions of either more state investment or complete abdication to private interests. As the new government starts building roads, ports, airports and energy infrastructure, it would need to give equal importance to building India's education infrastructure all over again. This will mean both an opportunity to build new, private education provisions, as well as opportunities for innovation, of public-private partnerships, of innovation, of introduction of technology, for enterprise in education.
The conversation in the West about India's Higher Education opportunity often centers around a piece of legislation called the Foreign Education Providers' Bill. This legislation has been languishing in the Indian parliament for more than a decade, and despite the Cabinet approving it and the bill going through several modifications, it has failed to pass. Despite all the euphoria about the business-friendliness of the incoming government, this is one piece of legislation they are unlikely to do anything about. This is not just because that the current mood in India is social conservatism, but also because of implicit anti-globalising electoral mandate. The policy climate in India is likely to be dominated by preference for Indian businesses and institutions taking the lead, rather than a preference for open to all liberalisation which the previous regime preferred (but failed to deliver).
This patterns actually create advantage for private sector investors in education over the publicly funded institutions in the West. So, the canvass for the British universities will remain mostly unchanged, but exciting opportunities may open up for Laureates of the world, who are looking to put money and expertise in Indian institutions for a decent return. They will surely cash in as India will become friendlier to foreign investors, but will keep the education sector firmly in Indian hands. So, the much rumoured campuses of foreign universities are unlikely to happen in India anytime soon, but we can expect an uptick of foreign investment going into Indian education.
If I said India is education's El Dorado - a place where everyone wants to go but no one knows how - I was correct. But a map to El Dorado may just be emerging for education investors, which seems full of allure and promise.
Popular posts from this blog
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below: "I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation." The email requested me to forward me to every indian I know. I was tempted, but there were two oddities about this quote. First, the language, which
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are usually seen as an ‘advertising, sales promotion and marketing communication medium’ (Cooper et al , 1991). Arunthanes et al (1994) points out that such gifting is practised usually for three reasons: (a) in appreciation for past client relationships, placing a new order, referrals to other clients, etc.; (b) in the hopes of creating a positive, first impression which might help to establish an initial business relationship; and (c) giving may be perceived as a quid Pro quo (i.e. returning a favour or expecting a favour in return for something). The practitioners of gift-giving generally argue that doing business is often an aggregation of personal interactions and relationships, and gift-giving should be seen as a natural way of maintaining and enhancing these relationships. ‘Business gifts, especially one given in the course of the festive s
Buzzwords have disadvantages. Right now, experiential learning is one, and that means we put the label on everything and it stops to mean anything. Also, this means reasonable conversation about experiential learning becomes difficult - at times such as this, either you preach experiential learning or you are traditional, antiquarian and hopelessly out of touch. But, overlooking the limitations of experiential learning can cause big problems. Experiential Learning does many things - putting practice at the heart of learning is an important paradigm shift - but not everything, and it is important to be aware what it does not do. Usually, we equate the terms Project-based Learning (the method) with Experiential Learning (the idea) and Learning from Experience (the ideal), treating them as one and the same and using the terms interchangeably. Any talk about distinctive meaning of these terms is usually seen as pedantic, but really represent very different ideas about education.
Today, Helen Goddard, 26, a highly popular music teacher of a City School for Girls, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her crime was to carry out a year long lesbian affair with one of her pupils, who appeared in the court and admitted that the affair was consensual and it was she who pressured Helen into the affair. For Helen, a bright musician and a devout Chistian, this is an extraordinary lapse of judgement. Also, she was teaching in the £13,000 private girls only school in London. She was surely aware what the consequences of her action will be. The fact that she still could not stop herself tells us that lovers do not always act rationally, something we always knew. There is more in this affair than personal tragedies. For a start, this has all the dramatic elements: a bright, beautiful teacher more in Julia Roberts mould [as in Mona Lisa Smile], a stiff upper lip school [not unlike Wellesley] and a story like Notes On A Scandal with an added twist. Indeed, Helen
In most societies today, making profits are accepted as moral, if not especially praiseworthy. This was not as obvious as it appears today – people used to be embarrassed about making a profit not so long ago. Crazy as it seems today, it is worth thinking why it was so. Profits, as economists will put it, is the reward for risk-taking, for putting a business enterprise together in the pursuit of an objective. In this definition, remember, profits are not what it is commonly understood to be – the gross middle-line towards the bottom – but a figure net of entrepreneur’s earning [wages for his labour], dividends and interests on borrowed capital, and provisions for building and other physical assets [a sort of rent, offsetting what these assets could have earned if leased out]. This pure profit – surplus – accrues to a business as a reward to its organisation, for the act of entrepreneurship itself. Economists were divided on how this surplus comes about. The conventional wisdom was,
Introduction Erna Petri née Kürbs, a farmer’s daughter from Herressen in Thuringia, arrived in Ukraine with her three year old son to join her husband Horst in June 1942. Horst, an SS leader inspired by Nazi ideologue Dr Richard Walter Darré, settled in the plantation of Grzenda, just outside today’s Lviv, to become a German Gentleman-Farmer. Erna saw Horst beating and abusing the workers in the plantation within two days of arriving there, which was, as Horst explained, necessary for establishing authority. Erna joined in enthusiastically, settling into a combination of roles of ‘plantation mistress, prairie Madonna in apron-covered dress lording over slave labourers, infant-carrying, gun-wielding Hausfrau.’  However, there were clear rules in the plantation, and Erna was very much expected to play the woman’s role of being a Cake-and-Coffee hostess. When four Jews were caught in the estate while trying to escape from a transport to a death camp, Horst told Erna and her female
A week into lockdown and things are beginning to change. Mornings are late, afternoons are lazier and evenings never end; meditations are filling out the time for Yoga routines and Netflix profiles are strewn with half-finished movies. This state-mandated, state-funded period of idleness is being likened to being called up to serve, but is nothing like that: Such a comparison is really an affront to the idea of service. Instead, this is just one long streak of panic; of the centre not holding and life not going on as usual. With the usual patterns and rules in suspended animation and business talk - and business - being rendered meaningless, space is opening up for unusual questions: Is Capitalism about to end? Is this the death of globalisation? Does it get uglier from here? My grandfather's generation would have scoffed at us. They saw through wars and pandemics. But, in fairness, we haven't had a life-ending crisis of our own. Notwithstanding the experiences of th
I wrote a note on Kolkata, the city I come from and would always belong to, in July 2010. Since then, the post attracted many visitors and comments, mostly critical, as most people, including those from Kolkata, couldn't see any future for the city. My current effort, some 18 months down the line, is also prompted by a recent article in The Economist, The City That Got Left Behind , which echo the pessimism somewhat. I, at least emotionally, disagree to all the pessimism: After all Kolkata is home and I live in the hope of an eventual return. Indeed, some change has happened since I wrote my earlier post: The geriatric Leftist government that ruled the state for more than 30 years was summarily dispatched, and was replaced by a lumpen-capitalist populist government. Kolkata looked without a future with the clueless leftists at the helm; it now looks without hope. However, apart from bad governance, there is no reason why Kolkata had to be poor and hopeless. It sits right
The ‘Why’ Question? Adolf Hitler was appointed the German Chancellor by President Von Hindenburg on 30th January 1933. This was an extraordinary turn of events. Previously, President Von Hindenburg consistently refused to appoint Hitler the Chancellor, despite the impressive electoral performance of NSDAP in July 1932, Hitler’s uncompromising demand of the Chancellor’s post and a repeat election in November 1932 which failed to break the deadlock. Explaining his refusal, Hindenburg wrote in a letter on 24th November, “a presidential cabinet led by you would develop necessarily into a party dictatorship with all its consequences for an extraordinary accentuation of the conflicts in the German people.” The question ‘why’ Hitler was appointed Chancellor, despite the President being acutely aware of what might follow, is therefore a significant one. The NSDAP had election successes throughout 1932, and was already the biggest single party in the Reichstag and various Landtags acros
Introduction: Hastings in the history of Indian Education Whether or not one includes Warren Hastings in the history of Education in India is a matter of perspective. If writing the history of education means writing the history of schools, the impact of Hastings' administration would be quite limited. If anything, the rapid implosion of local rulers in Eastern, Southern and Northern India during Hastings' tenure had meant a bleak period for the indigenous education system, as patronage and funds would have dwindled away for many of them. The Company administration really concerned itself with the schooling of the natives only after 1813, as Nurullah and Naik rightly pointed out ( see my earlier post ) and one can legitimately start the story at this point. However, if history of Education in India is to encompass the transformation of Indian Scholarship, on which foundation the new, colonial, system of Education would be built, the story must start with Warren Hast
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.