Education to India

India’s education market is large. There is growing demand for high-quality education and skills training (Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, India Economic Strategy to 2035, Education sector, 2018).

India’s National Education Policy aims to enable top 100 ranking overseas universities to operate in India once a legislative framework is developed.

Key opportunities for Australian education include:

  • higher education
  • edtech
  • collaborative research
  • transnational education
  • vocational and executive skills training


Higher education

India’s growing middle class is spending more on education and the lack of capacity at top-tier institutions is driving students to overseas study options. Students are drawn to the prestige of an overseas degree and improved prospects for employment and residency..

Opportunities include:

  • boosting delivery capacity in India to meet a huge gap in supply. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s India Economic Strategy to 2035 estimates a need for:
    • 200,000 schools
    • 35,000 colleges
    • 700 universities
    • 40 million seats in vocational training centres
  • attracting more students to Australia. In 2019, Australia was the second most popular destination for Indian students, after the United States of America (USA) (Source: Department of Education, Skills & Employment, Student data, 2019)
  • delivering niche courses in new domains, while continuing to deliver ebgineering, IT, STEM, management and accounting courses. Indian students are looking to widen their career options
  • partnering with Indian institutions to strengthen existing courses. In particular, there are opportunities for Australian institutions to develop articulation arrangements.


COVID-19 is accelerating the growth of online education. India's robust IT infrastructure has led to the Indian Government approving new regulations to encourage online delivery. These regulations are part of the National Digital Literacy Mission.

Opportunities include:

  • partnering with existing online education companies to help them innovate with new edtech and content
  • partnering with education institutions to help transfer their curricula online
  • creating or adapting content for inclusion in online courses by education institutions in India.

Transnational education

India’s strategic goal is to improve the quality of India’s Tier 1 institutes. This is so they can attract more overseas students. Reforms since 2017 aim to increase India’s global competitiveness. This creates opportunities for Australian education providers. These include:

  • enabling Tier 1 institutes to deliver transnational education as part of their own curriculum. This will also help institutes improve their domestic competitiveness
  • collaborating with Indian institutions on program delivery. This includes:
    • curriculum design
    • faculty exchange and training
    • knowledge partnerships
    • distance learning
    • online modules.

Executive education

India’s companies are keen to adopt global best practices. This is generating demand for executive-level education. There is a growing preference for flexible executive education programs rather than full-time programs. Opportunities include:

  • delivering programs direct to working professionals through online courses and instruction
  • consulting with companies to meet specific needs
  • engaging with companies in India to co-deliver a program
  • creating executive-education centres in India or partnering with an existing training centre.

Research and development

Indian companies are keen to invest in technology and research and development (R&D) to improve competitiveness. Indian education institutes are open to collaboration with overseas organisations. Opportunities include:

  • partnering with Indian institutes to conduct translational research. Attractive subjects include:
    • fintech
    • digital health
    • pharmaceuticals
    • cybersecurity
    • advanced materials
  • partnering to co-deliver PhD programs, conduct contractual R&D and develop commercialisation models.


Education in India is a large and highly competitive market. USA institutions have strong brand reputation.

Australian institutions need to engage strategically with India’s higher education sector. They will also need to work patiently with the corporate sector. A long-term strategy will usually be needed. Other key challenges include:

  • A successful initiative will likely take longer in India compared to most developed economies.
  • Taxation and regulatory systems are complex, and often change. This makes it harder to establish on-the-ground services and business entities.
  • Australian institutions will need a well-informed strategy that creates brand impact.

Success stories

Australian institutions are discovering new ways to engage with India’s education sector. Read their stories:

How we can help

Austrade’s dedicated team in India can help you understand, enter and succeed in this market. 
Contact Austrade online or call 13 28 78.

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