A survey by the Indian government indicates that higher
education enrolment has leaped by 65% over the last four years.
Kapil Sibal, education minister, stated at the EducatioNext conference that the gross
enrolment ratio has increased from 12,4% to 20,2%. Gross university
enrolment is determined by dividing the total number of young
people following higher education by the total number of people in
the relevant age group.
"The results of the survey are tentative and not firm, but if
validated, they are very encouraging," he commented. "The ratio for
developed countries is in the region of 35-40. The survey results
show that we are getting there. If they hold, we can expect the
ratio to go up to 30-35 by 2029. The gross turnover of ideas,
generated by the university system, is the real wealth of nations -
often more valuable than GDP."
Online education the way out
To satisfy this rapidly growing demand, the minister estimates
that 800 additional universities and 50.000 extra colleges would be
required. Beyond that, he described a five step plan which focuses
heavily on technological innovation.
1. Low-cost devices such as tablets and mobile phones would play
critical role in education in absence of physical
2. Proliferation of cloud-computing. This will serve 4 regions
which, in turn, will serve various colleges
3. Open education resources to be expanded by providing course
content through IT highway. Communications network will be
4. Hundreds of courses will be sent out online and make it
possible for students to create own combination - e.g., mathematics
5. Communications infrastructure to create virtual world for
students to work with machines on the net or carry out lab