Education - The next 10 years and beyond

“In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education” is a quote by the current President of the United States of America, Mr. Barack Obama. This quote highlights the importance of education across the world and how education is the best option to improve the livelihood and social status of millions of people across the world.

With increasing demand for education services to serve a growing population, there have been some key trends observed which will help us to understand the possible changes in the next 10 years and beyond in the education sector.

Common Trends in Education

Usage of  Technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness

While there have been tremendous improvements in technology in several sectors over the past few decades, education has warmed up to technology only recently. The sector is beginning to use more and more technology interventions to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Institutions are implementing Learning Management Systems, Learning Analytics and Infographics, Social Media, Online based assessment and usage of Cloud based content to mitigate the administration costs while improving academic outcomes.

Catering to a diversified base of students rather than a captive audience

Usage of asynchronous learning methodologies have helped to increase the number of students an instructor can teach in a semester. Also techniques like audio visual content, gamification of concepts, closed group bulletin boards facilitate a deeper understanding of the concepts for the students. With the increasing penetration of personal devices like mobiles, tablets and affordable access to internet, technology is becoming a critical game changer in education. MOOCs or e-Learning has the potential to address, to provide high quality learning experience at a reduced cost for a vast majority of people and addresses the key issues of cost, quality and access.

Changing role of a teacher

The role of a teacher will move from an instructor to a facilitator and models such as flipped classrooms where the students drive the discussion will increase. Teachers will still be highly valued but the learning design will seek to bring out active discussions between students and teachers rather than the current lecturing model. This trend is observed right from preschools to university education, as the students actively seek learning opportunities to be maximized.

Increasing globalization in ideas and localization in their implementation

International curricula, academic alliances and tie-ups are seen as an important way to improve the learning outcomes to world class standards. The increasing number of schools with international curriculum is an example of this trend. In parallel, the educational institutions also seek to actively reach out to the local community and seek to establish themselves as responsible social citizens through various community initiatives. As an example, several schools and colleges were active in the implementation of initiatives like Swachh Bharat.

Developing a lifelong connect with the students

Alumni associations have been around for a long time. However, over the past few years, technology and social media have allowed education institutions to easily connect with their alumni. Higher education institutes are now in a position to offer continuous learning assistance to their alumni through online courses. They can reach out to the organization where their alumni work to offer a work integrated learning program. Premier institutes like IITs and IIMs plan to collect a few million dollars a year through their alumni.

Specific trends in the four segments

Indian Government has also launched several ambitious programs over the past 10-15 years like SSA (Sarva Sikshya Abhyan), RMSA (Rashtriya Madhyamik Shikshya Abhyan), RUSA (Rashtriya Uchatar Sikhsya Abhyan) and Skill India for primary, secondary, higher education and vocational education respectively. There are also specific segmental trends which are expected to happen over the next 10 years in the four major segments of education – ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education), K-12, Higher Education and Vocational Education which are highlighted below:

Rapid growth in ECCE

With more nuclear families and better understanding of the specialized learning requirement of the children in the age group of 0-6 years, a rapid growth is expected in the ECCE segment. There are huge gains for the society if the early childhood care and education is provided effectively to boost the physical, cognitive, language and social skills of a child.

Moving from Inputs to learning outcomes in K-12

While India has 14 lakh schools and almost universal enrollment in primary education, the next challenge is to improve the quality of education in K-12 schools. Indian schools have been performing poorly in national quality surveys like ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) or international student assessments like PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment). The administrators or regulators have increased their focus on learning outcomes and are moving away from the highly input focused model in vogue so far (size of land & building etc)

Sector Focused Universities

Several universities in India will invest on research capabilities and focus on moving away from a fee dependent model of funding. This could result in high sector focus and courses for students specializing in that sector. Eg. Pandit Deen Dayal Petroleum University is a university focused on the energy sector and there are several universities which are on the cards.

Vocational Education – Improving employability through skilling

Every degree holder in India is not employable - There are estimates by NASSCOM that only around 25% of our engineers are employable. The Indian Government has established the Skills India initiative which aims to train at least 40 crore Indians by 2022. This will result in a fundamental shift in how the education sector will operate. Under graduate and Post graduate degrees will be linked to a skills framework (e.g. NSQF framework) with a focus on improving employability as required by the job market. This will also result in educational institutions and the industry working closely to establish curriculum, research centers, labs and work closely with the students.


In spite of significant investments in the education sector, Indian education remains a mixture of success stories like IITs, IIMs on the positive side but also languishing quality in primary education as reflected in the ASER reports, low GER ratio of 19-20% and a recent assessment that 5% of the workforce has marketable skills.

The above trends would play a significant role in the direction of Indian education over the next ten years. These trends herald a great opportunity for India to become a Center of Excellence in the South East Asian region. We can take inspiration from our ancient universities such as Nalanda University which was a global Center of Excellence from 427 AD to 1197 AD.  The new education policy of the government to be announced in 2016 can drive grass root level change. Over the next 10 years, Indian education should focus on laying down a solid platform for scaling great heights in education.

About the Author

Ramasubramaniam Srinivasan is a Digital Strategist & a Transformation Leader with 19 plus years of experience in strategic innovation, client care and process excellence, including 13 plus years of leadership experience of delivering projects across US, UK, Sweden, Malaysia and India.

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