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Essay on Indian Education System: Historical Background

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Historically, the Indian education system evolved from the ‘Gurukul’ tradition. Students resided together at the home of their teacher to receive education from a guru, which was not based on wealth or personal gain. Over time, certain cities such as Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh, etc. evolved as learning hubs, with famous learning centres such as the ancient Nalanda University, Takshashila University, and so on. By the end of the British era, this tradition had been rendered almost entirely redundant, with formal schooling taking its place. The Indian education practices have now been overhauled by the global practices.

It can be observed that the world has changed dynamically over time. We have moved from cumbersome landlines to sleek smartphones and from postal letters to e-mails. Setting up “brick & mortar” educational institutions will not suffice to address the huge need-gap and ever-changing requirements of the 21st century.

A revolution is taking place in the education system. There is a growing realization that education needs to be viewed from a lifelong learning perspective. People have begun to take their learning into their own hands. As a result, a new phase of education has emerged i.e. “e-Learning”. eLearning refers to innovative use of technology in exchanging ideas and providing access to more people. The main aim of online education is to facilitate learning and improve performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. These eLearning methods are transforming the learning environment from static to dynamic by breaking down the barriers between students and the world.

The current global market for e-learning, including both self-paced eLearning and the live online learning, has reached US $107 bn and is expected to grow at a CAGR of ~18% over the next 5 years. Currently, the US and Western European markets have the biggest instances of eLearning adoption, ranging from K-12 solutions to business-related training, with North America being the most dominant market for eLearning in the world.

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In US, digital learning is already an integral part of formal education. While the growth rates in US are flat to negative, it contributes the highest revenues in the industry. Western Europe is currently the second-largest buying region for eLearning products, but this is set to change as Asia is expected to surpass Europe by the end of 2016.

The digital learning market is undergoing a rapid expansion in India with a large number of start-ups entering this segment. According to Technopak’s analysis, India’s digital learning market is currently estimated at US$ 2bn in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 30% and is expected to reach US$5.7bn by end of 2020.

The increasing internet penetration, time constraint faced by the aspirants, geographical challenges in attending physical classes, and the low expense in the online training are the primary drivers of the digital learning sector. These drivers act as catalysts to further swell the reach of the self-paced learning. The increased demand of quality certification has also resulted in more people opting for online learning programs.

The Indian education market, currently estimated at US $100bn, is expected to reach US $180 bn by 2020. India has one of the largest education systems in the world. It has the world’s largest population attending classes at school, an age bracket of 6 to 17 – about 310 million. A typical Indian student is introduced to formal education at the age of five. The Right to Education (RTE8) Act provides free and compulsory education for all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a fundamental right. According to the University Grants Commission, in 2016, India is host to 751 universities and over 35,539 colleges. The distance education system contributed a quarter of student enrolments in the Higher Education System, with over 29 million students enrolled in the Indian Higher Education Systems.

India has around 520 million people in the 25 to 59 (working age) bracket which constitutes the working population; this is expected to increase continuously, even as the world’s working population ages and diminishes. India is blessed with a demographic dividend; every third person in India is a youth. These favourable demographics brings along with them enormous economic opportunities. However, the ability to seize these opportunities depend on how successfully the challenges plaguing the Indian education system can be addressed. Indian education framework suffers from poor infrastructure and capacity constraints. There is a shortage of trained teachers, which has become a major concern for the education sector.

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Essay on Indian Education System: Historical Background. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
“Essay on Indian Education System: Historical Background.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022,
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