India has the third largest higher education system in the world in terms of enrolments, after China and the US. In order to achieve its target of doubling the gross enrolment ratio (GER) by 2020, the country needs more FDI in the higher education space, said a report by global consultancy firm – Deloitte. The government aims to achieve 30 per cent GER in higher education by 2020 from the current level of 15 per cent.
"The private sector's role in the higher education sector has been growing at a rapid pace over the last decade and needs to further expand at an accelerated rate in order to achieve the GER target," stated the report titled 'Indian Higher Education Sector: Opportunities aplenty, Growth unlimited'.
According to projections, the sector is expected to register a CAGR of 12 per cent from 2008 to reach a size of $31.47 billion.
The report also highlighted that as per the recent estimates by National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUPEA), in order to achieve this target, an additional investment of $190 billion which includes capital expenditure and operating expenditure, has to be made in the next eight years. FDI inflows in the education sector during May 2012 stood at $31.22 million.
"Therefore, given the limited support, which government can provide to this sector in terms of investment, the private sector needs to play a much larger role," the report noted.
Stating that the role of private sector in higher education has significantly increased in the last decade, the report said, "However, due to various impediments, the amount of foreign direct investment attracted by this sector since 2000 stood dismally low at just $400 million."
The number of students enrolled in the universities and colleges (formal system) has been reported to be 16 million in academic year 2010-11 which does not include enrolment in higher education offered through Open and Distant Learning.
India has a total of 610 universities. 43 central universities, 299 state universities, 140 private Universities, 128 deemed universities and 5 institutions established through state legislation, 30 Institutions of National Importance.
There are 45 technical institutes, 13 management institutes, 4 information technology institutes, 6 science and research institutes and 3 planning and architecture institutes.