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With the increasing adoption of the Internet and rise in awareness about e-learning,
the online education industry is expected to witness promising growth during the
forecast period.

The online channel for education in India includes primary and secondary education
to hobbies and languages learning across formal and informal forms. Online players
have developed B2C, B2B and C2C solutions in line with the customer’s

The online platform providers play a pivotal role in the online education ecosystem.
Initially, the platform served as enablers by connecting prospective students and
content providers. In recent times, the platform providers have increasingly played the
role of content providers and curators.

The coronavirus pandemic has been responsible for millions of infections globally,
affecting almost every sector across the world. Amid COVID-19 disrupted academic
year, educational institutions are coming up with better methods, albeit as
complementary to traditional classroom education. Caught in the vortex, the Indian
education system is shifting the paradigm towards online education. 

The nationwide lockdown that was imposed, in hopes to contain the virus, resulted in
schools and colleges being closed across the country affecting over 500 million
students. In order to continue with classes, institutions are focusing on e-learning
methods of learning on digital platforms. This has, however, increased the workload
for educators due to extended work hours. Especially for teachers and professors
residing in rural areas facing connectivity issues. Nevertheless, statistics have shown
that online has proven to enhance learning and the students' ability to retain

Market Segmentation
The online education market is segmented into primary and secondary supplemental
education, test preparation, reskilling and certification, higher education language,
and casual learning. The online primary and secondary supplemental education
segment was valued at INR 11.99 Bn in 2018 and is expected to reach INR 123.65 Bn
by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of ~46.48% during the 2019-2024 period. The change
in consumer behavior towards detailed learning and surge in demand from tier II and
tier III cities are driving the growth of this segment.

The online test preparation market is expected to reach INR 94.75 Bn by 2024,
expanding at a CAGR of ~50.84% during the 2019-2024 period. This segment is
expected to be the fastest-growing segment in the online education market, owing to
growth in career-focused population, enhanced Internet infrastructure and increased
penetration of digital payment methods.

The online reskilling and certification market is expected to reach INR 93.81 Bn by
2024, expanding at a CAGR of ~36.95% during the 2019-2024 period. The growing
business landscape has widened the skill gap among employees, which is why the
demand for reskilling courses is picking up.

The online higher education market was valued at INR 5.01 Bn in 2018 and is
expected to reach INR 40.63 Bn by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of ~40.74% during
the 2019-2024 period. The conventional education system is insufficient for the
growing population, and therefore students are switching to online higher education

Growth drivers of online education

Online education provides a low-cost alternative

 Lower infrastructure cost and a larger student base helps leverage on the
economies of scale and hence reduced prices via the online channel
 ~175 per cent increase in cost of education from 2008 to 2014
 Online skill enhancement courses are around 53 per cent cheaper than offline

Online channel provides quality education to potential students

 Open courses and distance learning enrolments in India to rise around 10

million in 2021 growing at a CAGR of around ten per cent
 Areas where availability of quality offline education is low witness higher
adoption of non-traditional education methods .For example,states like kerala,
Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir account for ~ 4 lakh distance learning
 Stark difference in educational qualification between urban and rural Indian

Growing job seeking population drives the demand for industry relevant training

 ~280 million job seekers expected to enter the job market by 2050
 Unemployment rate in India at a five year high of around five per cent IN
 Annual growth rate in availability of jobs at around two percent per annum

Government initiatives to drive adoption of online education

Government initiatives such as SWAYAM ,E – Basta,Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha
Abhiyan (RMSA), Skill India and Digital India will enable the infrastructure needed
by students to study online.

Internet penetration witnessing exponential growth aross India

 Around 31 per cent internet penetration with about 409 million internet
users today
 Increasing penetration in semi – urban and rural areas provide high
potential for growth
 Nearly 735 million projected users by 2021
 Internet penetration will enable reach and increased traffic for the online
education players.

Significant increase in disposable personal income

 Disposable income of the country is expected to grow by 55 per cent by

 India will keep its current rank as the worlds second largest middle class
till 2030

Large faction of Indian population is young, thus enlarging the target population for
online education

 Nearly 46 per cent of population between 15-40 age group

 Young population with high aspirations but lower income is a good target
market for online education
 Further , the acceptability of online class is also higher in the younger

Online education is definitely has a bright future in India, but the journey is fraught
with several challenges.
1. Insufficient digital infrastructure
While the government has been making efforts to create and improve a digital
infrastructure across the country, there hasn’t been any noteworthy
progress. According to World Economic Forum, only 15 out of 100 households have
access to the internet, and mobile broadband remains for a privileged few, with only
5.5 subscriptions for every 100 people. Further, currently broadband reaches just
about 600 corridors, largely in and around the top 50-100 Indian cities, leaving rural
areas with poor connectivity.

2. Poor learning engagement

In traditional classrooms, the student-teacher and peer-to-peer engagement is very
high. Learners can approach the instructors and fellow students for feedback or
discussions, and get their concerns addressed on-the-spot. E-learning is yet not
developed to a level to stimulate open-ended or crowd learning, unless the courses are
imparted live with the help of an online instructor.

3. Lack of standardization, credibility and quality

The lack of standardization of online programmes and their formal acceptability still
remain a concern. The e-learning players offer multiple courses on the same subjects
with different levels of certifications, methodology and assessment parameters.
Online courses are designed and imparted by different instructors, who may be given
autonomy to design the curriculum. So, the quality of courses may differ across
different e-learning platforms. Most online courses do not get academic credits,
credibility and recognition in the traditional educational eco-system.

4. Language of the courses

India is a multi-linguistic country, and a majority of the population comes from non-
urban areas. The online courses, mostly focus on English content. Hence, non-English
speaking students struggle with the availability of vernacular content.

5. Low completion rates

Online courses are self-paced learning. There is minimum or negligible motivation
due to lack of face-to-face interaction. Hence, the completion rate of online courses is
very low.

Present huge demand rising in Online Learning

The orders of 'Stay Home' and social distancing has spared no one. Students have
been caged at their homes since Lockdown 1.0. India has the largest population in the
world in the age bracket of 4-23 years which presents huge prospects in the education
sector. Most of the companies, schools and institutions have come up with online
essentials as their primary mode of teaching. The teachers and instructors are
gradually organising online webinars and meetings. Educational universities and
institutions like Amity International Group, DIT University, Dehradun and many
others have shown tremendous results in online teaching methodology. The
institutions are promoting the concept of online classrooms and the resources are
being provided to all the students digitally.  

The demand for online courses and learning has seen a sudden surge since the
lockdown. This clearly indicates the huge demand that is rising for online learning.
Online learning has been adopted in various countries as the primary mode of
education. The e-learning method requires only a good internet connection and a
computer/mobile as essentials. The sessions can also be recorded for later use. Also,
the commute time is reduced to zero, buying enough time to relax after the sessions.
The retention power is also increased, as the students don’t feel tired due to travelling.
The learning from home also provides a comfortable ambience to focus as students
are flexible to choose the right environment for themselves. Moreover, the importance
of virtual learning is increasing as the academic year has been drastically interrupted
due to Covid-19. Students are left with no other choice rather than attending online

Future trends
E-learning sector in India will witness the following trends in the next few years:

1. Hybrid model
There will be a convergence of online and offline education model. Online course
providers will work actively on providing supplementary education, such as after-
school coaching, e-tutorials, internships and live projects. They will also reach out to
students at offline touch points like group discussions and labs. There will be virtual
classrooms where traditional offline pedagogy will be aided by digital courses on
practical knowledge and soft skills.

2. Addition of new and offbeat subjects

Apart from the popular subjects like data science, cloud computing and digital
marketing, the e-learning curriculum will look to offer courses in unexpected
subjects such as culinary management, forensic science, cyber law, etc.

3. Gamification
In order to make learning more interesting, competitive and rewarding for academic
students and professionals, the digital courses will incorporate features such as
badges, discounts and leader boards. Corporates, educational institutions and e-
learning platforms will come together to co-develop content.
4. Peer-to-peer learning and profile mapping
E-learning providers will develop peer-to-peer model to establish collaborative
learning between students through notes and idea sharing on a common platform.
Technology such as artificial intelligence, big data, data analytics, facial recognition,
etc., will be used to offer profile-based customized courses.

5. Investor interest will grow

Over the last three years, there have been several high ticket deals in the Indian e-
learning sector. The Chang Zuckerberg Initiative has invested US$ 50 million in
Byju’s; Bertelsmann India has put in $8.2 million in Eruditus; and Kaizen
Management Advisors and DeVry Inc. have invested US$ 10 million in EduPristine.
Not to forget, Khan Academy, which has so far received financial aid to the tunes of
billions of rupees from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google and Netflix
founder Reed Hestings, among a few others. So, the sector will continue to spark
more interest among the investors and attract funding.

E-learning has a promising future; it could be on its way to become the next sunrise
industry. However, it is highly unlikely that it will replace traditional learning; rather
both models will work in tandem. The trio of Content, Delivery and Access will act as
a change-agent in shaping up online education.