India fastest growth market for Coursera; company steps up local hiring

Of the 87 million registered users on Coursera's platform (as of June 30, 2021), 12.5 million were in India.
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Coursera on Wednesday said India is its fastest-growing market with the addition of 7.5 million learners since 2020, and it is looking to accelerate this growth by hiring and forging alliances with top-tier educational institutions in the country.

Of the 87 million registered users on Coursera's platform (as of June 30, 2021), 12.5 million were in India.

India also accounted for the highest number of enrolments at 24.6 million (from January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) of the 94.5 million global enrolments as of June 30, 2021.

"...at 49 percent last 12 months growth rate, the growth in India learners on Coursera exceeds the Middle East, Latin America, North America, Europe and virtually every other region in the world...more new learners registered on Coursera in the last 12 months than any other country in the world, 7.5 million new learners registered on Coursera from India, the second was the US at seven million," Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda told reporters in a virtual briefing.

The appetite, productivity, interest, and engagement with online learning in India is now exceeding every other country in the world on Coursera's platform, he added.

Maggioncalda also said there is a sharp increase in representation of women learners on the platform, up from 38 percent to 45 percent globally. This trend is more pronounced in India, with women accounting for 36 percent of course enrolments in 2021 from 26 percent in 2019.

"In terms of increase in representation of women learning on Coursera, India is the fourth-highest increase in women representation of any country in the world."

He said Coursera has elevated its India operations to become the hub for the entire Asia-Pacific region.

"The pandemic has dramatically changed the way we learn, teach, and work. Our strong momentum in India reflects the continued trend of individuals and institutions embracing online learning to develop skills for a digital future, he added.

Maggioncalda said the company had 21 employees in India in January 2020, which increased almost 400 percent to over 100 people in August this year.

"By December 2021, we expect to have a team of 150 people in India...we expect 50 percent of employees at Coursera to be working remotely...We see India as being a core hub for servicing learners globally, and specifically in the Asia-Pacific," he added.

The edtech space has seen strong growth globally, including in India, with the COVID-19 pandemic serving as an inflection point. Many offline classes went online to ensure continuity of education while adhering to social distancing norms.

Homegrown players like BYJU'S and Unacademy have seen manifold growth in user base and content consumed in the last few quarters.

Asked about the competitive landscape in India, Maggioncalda said online learning is making learning opportunities far more equally distributed, which is important.

"The need for more people to get access to high-quality education is centuries old and it's profound and never felt more severely than today when the world is moving, and inequality is getting higher. I welcome anyone, whether you're a professor or an edtech company, if you are committed to helping more people, get good access to good education, then you're on my side," he said.

The top executive added that the company is focused on adult learning and partnering with top institutions and organisations to deliver learning.

"... the talent is distributed equally, but opportunity is not. I believe that with technology, online learning makes learning opportunity far more equally distributed and remote work makes job opportunities far more equally distributed.

I'm optimistic, we are looking at a world post-pandemic, where there's greater equality and access to opportunity than anything we've seen before and we just want to play our role in that," he stated.

Coursera has formed partnerships with top-tier Indian institutions (including IITs and ISI), announced new enterprise customers, and introduced several platform innovations to better serve Indian learners and campuses.

The firm on Wednesday announced the partnership with four new higher education institutions in India, taking the total number of university partners to 10 in the country. This includes IIT Bombay, IIT Guwahati, Indian Statistical Institute, and Ashoka University.

Coursera has also added a Post-Graduate Diploma in Applied Statistics (from Indian Statistical Institute) and five certificate programmes from IIT Roorkee, IIT Bombay and IIM Kozhikode on topics like 5G technologies, IoT and electric vehicles.

It has also added a new course — Introduction to Basics of Ventilation — to train frontline medical staff, who manage critically ill COVID-19 patients with its industry partner Philips India.

Besides, the company has localised its home page for better discovery as well as introduced geo pricing (most individual courses are priced 40 percent lower than global) and bulk pricing for avid learners.

Its 'Coursera for Business' customers include Reliance Industries, Larsen and Toubro, Wipro GE Healthcare, Usha, ITC Infotech, Welspun India, StarTek and Vardhman Group.

Coursera also announced new scholarships from industry partners Microsoft and IBM. Microsoft (in collaboration with Women in Cloud) will provide 500 scholarships targeted at helping increase women representation in cloud computing, while IBM will provide 500 scholarships towards various IBM Professional Certificates, Specialisations, and courses on Coursera.

"With the pandemic widening the skill gaps, there is renewed urgency for large-scale reskilling efforts. As the country embraces online learning at a faster pace, Coursera is committed to helping many more learners and institutions in India navigate change and disruption with access to world-class learning, Coursera MD (India and APAC) Raghav Gupta said.

Gupta noted that Coursera has about 3,200 campuses globally using 'Coursera for Campus' and of these, about 1,100 are in India.

Coursera said India also leads the world in the adoption of Guided Projects — a hands-on learning experience that enables learners to build a job-relevant skill in less than two hours.


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Edited by Kanishk Singh