Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd – Tapping Indian Education Sector for CSR

Pandora Box of Opportunities yet to be opened…

With the fact that India holds a significant place in the global education industry the nation has over 1.4 million schools with over 227 million students enrolled and more than 36,000 higher education institutes. India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world. However, the huge potential for further development in the education system has not been unleashed yet.

As per statistics available, India’s online education market size is expected to touch US$ 40 billion by 2017. Another report suggests that the distance education market in India to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 34 per cent during 2013-14 to 2017-18. Moreover, the aim of the government is to boost the growth of the distance education in India while attracting more credible investment by the private players whereby giving them equal opportunity and level playing field to become partner in the India’s growth story.

Indian education sector is poised to witness major growth in the years to come as India will have world’s largest tertiary age population and second largest graduate talent pipeline globally by the end of 2020. Current statistics reveal, that the education market is worth US$ 100 billion. At present, higher education sector witnesses spending of over Rs 46,200 crore (US$ 6.96 billion), and it is expected to grow at an average annual rate of over 18 per cent to reach Rs 232,500 crore (US$ 35.03 billion) in next 10 years. India’s IT firms are working with academic institutions and setting up in-house institutes to groom the right talent as these companies move to Social media, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) technologies.

Another favourable data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) shows that the total amount of foreign direct investments (FDI) inflow into the education sector in India stood at US$ 1,171.10 million from April 2000 to June 2015 which is quite impressive. Therefore, keeping in view the robust growth happening year on year in the Indian education sector with steady flow of investments from different quarters. Time is ripe for corporations to plan & take up more CSR activities in accordance with the law that will certainly bring desired results.

The government of India has already announced several initiatives to strengthen the educational framework in the country with main focus on Skill Development. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Skill India initiative – ‘Kaushal Bharat, Kushal Bharat’. Under this initiative, the government has set itself a target of training 400 million citizens by 2022 that would enable them to find jobs. The initiatives launched include various programmes like: Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, Skill Loan scheme, and the National Skill Development Mission.

So far so good, education sector has already seen a host of reforms and improved financial outlays in recent years that could possibly transform the country into a knowledge haven. With manpower resource already gaining significance in the overall development of the country, development of educational infrastructure is expected to remain the key focus in the current decade. In this scenario, infrastructure investment in the education sector is likely to see a considerable increase in the current decade. Therefore, corporations must come forward and roll out an effective CSR project with a long term plan to align their objectives with the opportunities that the Indian education sector is offering.

It will be really fruitful if organizations start evaluating their business models and practices and plan their CSR intervention where investment is focussed upon imparting skill based education and tapping the youth which are looking for skill based employment. This will in-turn give stakeholders the value for money being invested and the desired impact can be assessed in due course of time.  It is needless to mention that Indian education sector will be offering plethora of opportunities in the coming years but the question remains that how corporations & private players will exploit them to the best of their potential.

Rohit Kaul

Senior Program Manager, Media & Communications – Fiinovation

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