Priority Countries

India  Forward Plan  Links

India is the seventh largest country in the world and has a population of one billion. Fifty years after independence from the UK, India is a stable democracy and a member of the Commonwealth. It has an independent judiciary, a free press and a multi party political system. In formal terms, English is an associate language, but is widely spoken as a common language. It is the main language of higher education and business. Since the introduction of radical economic reforms in 1991, this huge country has been busy transforming itself from a centrally planned economy to a modern, open market economy.

Even though India has the second largest education system in the world (after China), about 30 million children in the six to ten age group do not go to school for various reasons. Furthermore, there is a large shortage of adequately trained teachers; many school buildings are in poor condition; there are insufficient education tools and teaching materials and a shortage of courses (especially in subjects like computer science, electronics and microbiology). The demand for existing courses is extremely high: for example, Delhi University sold 900,000 application forms, of which 80,000 were returned by students competing for 38,000 places. The recent doubling of tuition fees is unlikely to have an impact as fees are extremely low by absolute standards (often less than 1 per month). In addition approximately half of all students are entitled to fee concession as belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes and Backward Castes.

The Government is well aware that education is crucial for further economic development, and has put it high on its list of priorities. It aims constantly to upgrade education across the whole education system. Action is being taken to improve the quality of education programmes by strengthening teacher training and curriculum development, improving examination and student assessment systems and modernising workshops, laboratories and classrooms. The Government also aims to introduce new diploma programmes with an emphasis on new and emerging technologies. It plans to expand provision for the rural population and women and to improve the efficiency of the various administrative bodies in education.

It is estimated that there are some 45,000 to 55,000 Indian students currently studying outside India, of which the overwhelming majority are in the USA. Canada, New Zealand, Germany, The Netherlands and Japan are seeing a modest overall growth in the size of the market but are not major players. Britain's market share is about ten per cent and is growing.

The majority of enquiries received by British Council offices about British education are for postgraduate courses. There is also rapidly increasing interest in short and vocational courses. The most frequently requested information - constituting almost 50 per cent of enquiries - is for business management and commerce courses. In second place is science and technology courses (including computing science) and medicine. Subject enquiries can vary considerably per region, often influenced by the local employment situation and the locally present industries.

The demand for further and higher education in India, combined with increased purchasing power and the willingness of parents to spend their savings on education, gives the UK the opportunity to establish itself as a major study destination for privately funded students from India. The competition for study places is enormous: there are far more qualified candidates than places available and the best Indian universities and colleges are massively oversubscribed. The shortage of places, the policy of discrimination in favour of minority castes, more relaxed foreign exchange regulations, constantly rising fees for Indian higher education institutions and more scholarships and support from the UK's Indian communities are factors helping to increase the number of Indian students studying in the UK.

Taken from the British Council India market profile

Scottish Education + Training activity in India

To date activity has been taken forward on a one to one basis on behalf of Scottish Education + Training by Scottish Trade International.

  • Involvement in ECS India brochure on Scottish education
  • Production of video and brochure explaining the Scottish education system
  • To order copies of the video or brochures visit our Marketing Materials pages.

    For further information about SE +T's work in India or to discuss opportunities for Scottish education providers in India please email val.farmer@scotent.co.uk or val.farmer@britishcouncil.org

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