Online higher education to continue strong pace of growth in coming years: RedSeer

According to RedSeer, the online higher education and lifelong learning, excluding K12 and government test prep platforms, will be a $5 billion opportunity by 2024-25 as compared to about $500 million in 2019-20.

Online higher education in India has got a push from changes in regulations, and players in the segment could see a growth of 25-35 percent year on year in the years ahead, according to RedSeer Consulting.

Redseer estimates that the online higher education and lifelong learning (excludes K12 and government test prep platforms) will be a $5 billion opportunity by 2024-25 as compared to about $500 million in 2019-20.

"Online higher education has got a push from changes in regulations... We are already seeing several players growing at over 100 percent, basis current revenue run rate.

"This year may mark an inflection, beyond which growth levels may come down to a more organic 25-35 per cent year on year," Redseer Senior Consultant Abhishek Gupta said.

He added that structural changes laid out in the National Education Policy 2020 such as establishing a credit bank, allowing multiple entry-exit points, and allowing online degrees opens up the higher education market to edutech players.

Online education will be critical in driving this from a supply point of view as offline infrastructure is not enough to cater all alone, he added.

Also, macroeconomic factors such as COVID-19, lay-offs, and job uncertainties have provided a push for the lifelong learning segment.

"But, at the very core, we are also seeing a mindset change, with increasing need realisation and willingness to engage in life-long learning, especially as skills are getting redundant faster and upskilling is expected to stay relevant, particularly in new-age/tech roles," he said.

Gupta said deals, both funding rounds and acquisitions, are likely to increase particularly as online education becomes mainstream, and larger players look to consolidate their leadership positions.

He noted that online education is trying to solve the issue of quality of teachers from two dimensions.

"They are able to attract quality teachers and reach a much larger audience essentially democratising access to quality teachers/education at an affordable price, irrespective of any geographic constraints," he said.

Also, online education is enabling teachers by giving them real-time feedback on their pedagogy, delivery style, offer more personalised solutions, and automating several mundane administrative tasks at the back-end, he added.

Gupta said in the long term, online education is expected to be more Tier II centred, partly due to population distribution and because online in many cases presents a better alternative to options that are available offline.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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