India is a country on the move, where rapid economic growth and inclusive development programmes have powered the rise of its 1.3 billion citizens and placed renewed focus on developing a world-class education system. Indeed, with more than 50% of India's population under the age of 25, Government officials recognise that sustained investments in education are vital to promote India's long-term growth & development and equip students with 21st century skills that are required for their success in the global workforce.
Today, India has one of the largest education systems in the world, with an estimated 285.5 million students enrolled in more than 1.6 million primary and secondary schools, and 29.6 million enrolled in more than 48,000 institutes of higher education. The Indian Government however, still faces several daunting challenges as it looks to provide universal and high-quality education across the country. According to a 2014 UNESCO report, nearly 26% of India's population remains illiterate, and the World Bank estimates that while more than 95% of Indian children attend primary school, only 40% go on to pursue secondary education. Despite significant Government and private-sector investments in education, learning outcomes have stagnated in recent years, and secondary school dropout rates hang over 17%, according to the Lok Sabha.
Against this backdrop, the Government is advancing an ambitious set of reforms under the Digital India initiative to catalyse the growth of India's digital economy and bridge digital divides. As New Delhi looks to build on its progress to date - encouraging students, teachers, and administrators to leverage Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools inside and outside the classroom is critical to improving learning outcomes.
To support these initiates, MAIT has prepared the following report exploring oportunities to deploy technology in Indian schools, with the goal of making education more inclusive, by reducing access and cost barriers; ensuring quality curriculum delivery; effectively monitoring learning outcomes; and empowering teachers to deploy corrective measures when needed.
Since the introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) hardware in schools in 1985, India has progressed rapidly, bringing in new technologies into the classrooms. There is a noticeable transition from the use of chalk and blackboards, to laptops and tablets. Flagship programmes like the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan supported the growth of 85,127 ICT enabled schools through 2015 and generated momentum for the Government's current focus on cultivating digital literacy. Today, India's National Policy of ICT in School Education underscores the Government's commitment to providing universal, equitable access to state-of-the-art-tools to students and teachers. Additionally, the Government has also launched ambitious plans to provide ICT training to 5.25 million people through the Digital Saksharta Adhiyan (DISHA) programme, and hopes to advance digitisation initiatives by introducing eGovernance in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) through its Digital India Programme.
India offers a great opportunity to implement ICT in education-with approximately 29% of India's population being between the age group of 0-14 years. The education sector is estimated at US$ 91.7 billion in FY18 and is expected to reach US$ 101.1 billion in FY19.
India has over 250 million school going students, more than any other country. It also has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world. Number of colleges and universities in India reached 39,050 and 903, respectively in 2017-18. India had 36.64 million students enrolled in higher education in 2017-18. Gross Enrolment Rao in higher education reached 25.8% in 2017- 18.