“India’s online education market size is set to grow to $ 40 billion by 2017 from the present $ 20 billion.”1 This is a clear indication of the potential and the opportunity to be found in this sector. There are multiple reasons for the Indian population with increasing numbers below the age of 25 to explore the online educational stream.
The Internet penetration and the bandwidth are far better with more service providers offering high speeds at lower rates. Additionally, most Indian institutes as well as some of the leading ones worldwide have opened the online option for some of the leading programs, making it easy for those students who wish to pursue these courses but cannot live or go abroad due to financial constraints enroll in them.
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The advent of the concept of “Massive Open Online Courses,” or MOOC as they are referred to, has also given a new fillip to the acceptance and reach of online education globally and in India. The term refers to any online course that is offered through the internet and can be accessed or undertaken from across the globe.
There are many key factors leading to the interest amongst Indian students to pursue online education as an option to the traditional brick and mortar kind. Some of them are as follows:
-Offers flexibility of doing the course at your convenience, on your terms as there is no rigid requirement like attending classes etc. You can work while you study, which is especially beneficial for students who need to be financially independent and support their family
-Offers access to leading universities and institutions which maybe geographically situated far away, but the student gets to still be associated with the school or college successfully
-One gets to opt for multi-faceted courses that may not always be easy to come by. The programs are versatile and one has a plethora of options to choose from across both developing subject matter knowledge or soft skills training or even basics in any category
-Students from smaller towns or cities get access and exposure when they enroll in an online program. They get access to leading tutors, online classmates in interactive sessions and if it’s a global program-a worldwide outreach. This option offers training that is much better than the brick and mortar one
-Select nationalized banks are offering student loans, especially to students who wish to enroll in international school via the online medium-this serves as a huge encouragement for those who may be financially unable to afford such courses
-These courses are being recognized by companies which helps the students to be more employable
-Leading schools globally and across India are offering online courses across some of their marquee programs, that helps the student to explore more opportunities in leading career options
The above reasons are propelling an increasing number of students to pursue these courses.
The educational institutions too are taking giant leaps towards escalating adoption for the following reasons:
-There is always a limit on the number of applications one can have when it comes to physical presence of students. But, an online avatar does not have such limitations. Institutions are keen to reach as many students across the country to be more profitable and to be seen as a pioneer in new teaching methods
-Technology is an integral part of all educational institutions today and the level of deployment has improved with leading software and hardware companies providing education software to facilitate the increase in its popularity. Also many tech companies are entering this sector as tie-ins or technology partner
-Leading corporate and other entities are encouraging this stream of education as an effort to include broader groups of students from across the country to pursue their dreams and achieve educational goals
-The provision of the online medium helps the institutions save money as they do not have to invest in building new campuses or hiring new faculty but they can launch and manage this medium using the same resources-hence optimization is possible
-Offers greater reach and awareness to places where earlier, they were not relevant or well known
-Currently, one perceives a promising trend wherein angel investors and entrepreneurs are exploring this sector for investment opportunities. This brings in capital, attention as well as progress and growth
-The institutions remain relevant and in keep with the new trends when they get on to the online bandwagon
The trend for students and universities opting for online education in India is definitely at an interesting stage. The positives score over the negatives, making it a sector to closely track and watch over the next few years. In conclusion, both the participating entities have only to gain from this trend.
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