Online higher education sector to be worth $5 billion by FY25: Report

Online higher education players like Great Learning too are bullish about the trends and agree with the RedSeer analysis.
If the implementation of the latest National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 goes as planned, the move is set to open up several opportunities for online higher education. With the policy paving way for more formal education and skill development, an analysis by RedSeer Management Consulting has found that the online higher education and lifelong learning will be a $5-billion opportunity by financial year (FY) 2024-25. This will be a ten-fold growth from an industry size of $500 million in FY20.

The RedSeer Analysis juxtaposes growth of online higher education and lifelong learning on the potential growth in higher education among students and skill development among working professionals going forward. For instance, currently of the total addressable market (TAM) in FY20 for higher education stands at around 40 million students and 50 million working professional for lifelong learning. However, at present online paid users in FY20 is still 500,000 or 0.5 million each, which has a potential to grow on the back of the government's target of achieving 50 per cent gross enrolment ratio (GER) by 2035. 

Hence, growth in opportunity for online higher education can come on the back of expected growth in student enrolment in higher education, up from 40 million in FY20 to 53 million by FY25, to 70 million by FY30 and 92 million by FY35, with the GER climbing from current 26 per cent to 32 per cent, 40 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively.

Online higher education players like Great Learning too are bullish about the trends and agree with the RedSeer analysis. 

"The concept of lifelong learning is the new normal now and this is being proven out by the interest we are witnessing among students and working professionals to upskill and power ahead in their careers. Despite the pandemic, we have seen a 5X growth in our learner base during the lockdown. And we believe we have barely scratched the surface. Going ahead, we expect to grow at an even faster clip with the New Education Policy bringing several reforms to the higher education space. I am confident that over the next few years, this need for upskilling will spur ed-tech companies with massive scale and impact. The report by RedSeer further confirms this," said Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-founder of Great Learning.

The online higher education businesses can be broadly classified into two including full stack versus aggregators and niche versus mass segments. However, in terms of business models in online higher education and lifelong learning, the analysis pegs full stack models as best positioned to capture the growth though multiple models have emerged in recent times. 


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