Published on Jan 24, 2024

Edited by Anirban Sarma

Education in India is going through an extraordinary period of growth and transformation. The sector is estimated to be worth around US$ 117 billion today and is expected to touch US$ 313 billion by 2030. Several factors are driving change across every level and type of education. Chief among them is India’s demographic advantage. With over 580 million people in the age group 5-24 years, the country’s vast, vibrant pool of learners—both present and potential—represents a collective hunger for knowledge and progress. And as the explosion in enrolments across online and offline professional skilling platforms has shown, a large working-age population too is determinedly equipping itself for the future of work.

These numbers will increase as India’s middle class expands, technology opens new frontiers for teachers and learners, and the vision of the forward-looking National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is realised.     

This collection of nine essays, written by ORF scholars in observance of the International Day of Education 2024, explores a spectrum of issues defining education in India and beyond. They examine, for instance, the crucial importance of early childhood education; and the centrality of quality education to building India’s human capital. They revisit why educating the girl child must remain a core development priority; and investigate what could be done to retain women STEM graduates in the workforce. They assess—in the context of India’s rise as a global digital powerhouse—the journey of the country’s edtech sector since the pandemic, and more broadly, the gains and gaps around the use of technology for education. One particular essay draws attention to India’s efforts to strengthen its public infrastructure for medical education. And the two concluding pieces adopt a more international perspective, studying how different constitutions approach the right to education; and exploring mechanisms for funding quality education in the Indo-Pacific.