If the government's target of 30% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education by 2020 has to be achieved, the sector would need a realty space of over 5,500 million sq ft, says a study.
According to the 'Indian Higher Education - Real Estate’s New Emerging Sector', a study by real estate consulting firm, DTZ, the Indian higher education sector needs 5,550 million sq ft of additional educational space (excluding support services like hostel, cafeteria, recreational facilities) to meet 30% GER target by 2020.
"India's current GER at 12% is less than half of average global GER at 26%. The government has set up an aggressive target of achieving a GER of 30% in higher education by 2020, which translates into an additional enrollment of 37 million students over the next eight years. The current scenario, which is inundated by shortfall in availability of seats in professional courses coupled with an aim to achieve a GER of 30%, provides significant opportunities to real estate developers for creating physical infrastructure in the education landscape," the study stated.
Over the years, Indian students have explored opportunities to enroll into foreign universities abroad in absence of quality higher education in India. As a result, students of Indian origin continue to travel abroad in higher numbers to pursue higher education.
Between the 2000 and 2010, the number of Indian students in foreign countries has grown by over five times. As compared to approximately 53,000 students who went abroad to pursue higher education in the year 2000, about 264,000 students venturing out of Indian education system to pursue higher education in 2010.
However, the growth of higher education sector in India is expected to help stakeholders
(university operators and developers) to tap into this segment of students as well as those who are unable to access global education on account of monetary considerations.
As per the study, while reforms in regulatory policies and usage of new technologies are expected to facilitate growth and dissemination of higher education, it is unlikely to be a substitute to creation of physical infrastructure.
The quantum of physical infrastructure and real estate development required to address the aspiration of GER enrollments is herculean and cannot be achieved by government or education institute operators alone. About 900 million sq ft of real estate demand would be arise out of higher education sector to maintain a GER ratio of 12% by 2020. This includes development of education institutes alone excluding support services like hostels and retail, among others, the study further stated.