The report forecasts the distance learning market in India to grow at a CAGR of 11% during the period 2016-2020.
According to the report, one of the primary drivers in the market is rise in demand for online distance education. There has been an increase in acceptance of online distance learning from students in the higher education sector as well as learners working as professionals that are looking to enhance their skills and knowledge. The low coverage provided by higher education institutions leads to less convenience for workers that stay at a distance from the institution.
Also, the rising ownership of computing devices coupled with improvement in Internet penetration, and increase in government initiatives to promote online distance programs should boost online distance education. The entry of popular Indian institutes, such as the IITs, IIMs, and IIFT, along with private institutions, such as Sikkim Manipal University, in online education also points to the expected growth of distance learning in India.
Further, the report states that one major challenge in the market is complex regulatory environment. There is an absence of a regulatory framework for the delivery of online courses in India. According to the DEC in India, vendors are not allowed by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to offer courses that can be completed solely through the online mode. While offering online supplementary study materials are permitted, there are no clear rules by regulating bodies regarding the delivery of online distance education.
This, especially, applies to universities that look to offer distance learning programs in engineering and technological fields. While major changes are happening in the open and distance learning market in India, there is no formal body to regulate the delivery. It is essential that policies are proactively formulated along with codes of practices, so that a conducive environment is created for distance learning and there is more credibility in the programs offered.