The Education Sector Bubble of India

Many of the general population tend to believe that further education is the primary key to economic and social success. Around half of high-school leavers or a graduate in the developed “rich” world degrees and this share ratio is rising in developing and poorer countries. In such nations, governments maintain the position that an increase in the number of degrees boosts social mobility and economic growth of the country as a whole. However, it should be noted that students pay exorbitant tuition fees at a time when they could be earning, as most students view this education as an investment, one with an extremely high return of investment.

As the number of people with degrees is steadily increasing, the educational bar has been raised for everyone trying to access employment. Due to this, degrees are now in demand for jobs which did not require such high levels of education. Despite popular belief, this rise in the number of degrees has not led to led to higher salaries for all the professions that have rapidly increased the number of college graduates in their workforce over the past half century. The truth was bleaker than any would prefer to admit as nearly half of the work forces have seen wages fall in real terms, and the future is uncertain due to recent technological development. The rise in AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology will disrupt the job market in the foreseeable future. Currently young people are ill-served by expensive degrees and long educational programs. Despite all these tell-tale warning signs, the demand for degrees has resulted in a bubble which would eventually burst sooner if not later, with long lasting consequences.

India maintains the third largest higher education system in the world, next to the United States and China. And despite a plethora of distinct individuals who are alumnus of this education system, India still maintains an archaic educational methodology. India has a relatively low unemployment rate when compared to other developing countries with similar economic states; however the youth unemployment rate, especially for an urban environment is consistently high, indicating an appalling rate of unemployment among those who recently acquired degrees. Another critical factor contributing to this process is the unequal ratio of students applying to disciplines of engineering and medical educational programs when compared to other fields; this is highlighted by conservative placement estimates which maintain the value of approximately 30% to 40%, an extremely low value when compared to other fields and professions.

With the recent rise of the IT sector in India, with it contributing the approximately eight percent of the national GDP, one cannot help but wonder if such long and arduous degrees are necessary for success in today’s socio-economic setup. The rise of short work-focused courses tailored for fast growing fields such as IT and other software related industries will increase life-long training for all employees. Currently young students are ill-served by expensive and unnecessary degrees, with the major question being, what path will higher education take in the foreseeable future?