Quality of Distance Learning Education in India Compared to Other Countries

According to ICEF Monitor, India is among the top 8 countries around the world in distance education. While traditional ways of education are still in demand, online education has gained more exposure. Best private universities in India such as Amity University, Narsee Mojee Institute of Management, IMT Ghaziabad, Chandigarh University, and the list goes on are some of the institutes that have contributed immensely to e-learning. Apart from that, there is a whole large pool of foreign universities that are offering online courses in India either via collaborating with Indian Universities or with private companies or directly via their university names such as Swiss School of Business, Liverpool Business School, Deakin University, and many more. 

There are several factors that should be considered while evaluating the quality of distance education in a country and even for comparative analysis. There are major 3 factors that should be considered: – 

  1. Country factors – This includes laws and policies with respect to the e-learning or m-learning, Information, and Communication Technology capacity, the availability of internet technology diffusion, and income divide. 
  2. Institutional factors – This includes support from administration, placement opportunities, institutional culture, inclusive culture, public versus private, and for-profit or not-for-profit. 
  3. Curricular/program factor – This aspect includes education level, part-time or full-time, and regular or executive program. 

In 1998 The USA started the trend of “online learning” when The Newyork University launched NYU Online, followed by radio and television courses in the year 1919. In the year 1989, the University of Phenix started offering online courses via the first online server i.e. – CompuServe, and shifted to the World Wide Web in 1991 finally in the year 1999 – 2000 the “Hybrid Model” of learning was introduced. 

Fortunately, a developing country like India did not have to face the failures and simply adopt the pattern set by the US, leveraged the advancing technology and it’s all set to offer its distance courses. Countries like India are also more flexible to adopt the hybrid model and incorporate it into the education system. 

In 2017, according to a survey done by KPMG India and Google, online education in India has a full potential of US $247 million and is expected to rise exponentially due to the pandemic havoc and more acceptance. In the same year, the count of enrolled students was 1.6 million and was expected to rise by 9.6 million by 2021.

The India Government has also taken initiatives for the robust growth of online education among students such as Skill India and Digital India. The main aim of such initiatives was to reach out to rural areas and increase awareness regarding technology and what wonders it can do and how close it gets to bring the world.


Why is India among the top countries in online education?  

By the year 2021, the expected count of students enrolled in the online courses was 9.6 million and this number is rising day by day due to the following reasons: – 

  1. Affordable fees for online courses
  2. Rising technology, good & strong internet connections
  3. Demand for higher studies is rising among working professionals 
  4. Flexible and supportive government policies 

Apart from Skill India and Digital India, the Indian Government has initiated many other campaigns and policies to facilitate the students and teachers, such as – 

  1. Launched Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs)
  2. NandGhars – online teaching tools for teachers
  3. e-Basta – online library 
  4. e-Education – peer-to-peer learning 
  5. India Skills Online – Online platform for skill-based education

Evidently, the government is in favor to foster distance learning education so as to reach out to students who can not afford traditional higher education or working professionals who want to pursue further studies, or enthusiasts who want to upskill from prestigious colleges in India. 


Comparatives analysis of distance learning in India vs other countries

Apparently, India has succeeded in distance learning more than any other country because of government interference and contribution at each level and due to the humongous demand. On the other hand, the US has seen a decline in enrollment rates and countries in the Middle East were not able to come at par with India due to various reasons, such as – 

  1. Less educational institutes that offer distance courses 
  2. Lack of acceptance 
  3. Lack of internet connectivity and lack of connectivity with the world


Hence we have established with these facts and figures, that although the online education market is growing globally, India will see the most enrolled students in the coming years. 

Country  Market Size  

(2020 – 2025)

Increases or Decrease  Reason
USA USD 21.64 billion  Increase More no. of learners, more acceptance 
India  USD 2.28 billion Comparatively higher increase  More no. of youth, more acceptance 
Middle East Countries  USD 569.04 Mn Increase Lack of Acceptance


How are distance courses helpful? 

Distance courses can help working professionals who want to pursue higher education but are bound by job commitments or they are perfect for students who cannot opt for full-time courses perhaps due to financial constraints, transportation issues, disability, etc.

The Indian Government aimed to increase the enrolment rate by 30% in 2020 and hence the focus was only on the enrollment and not on the curriculum and updated facts and stats but an online degree can complement these traditional ways. The main focus of distance courses is to bridge the gap between colleges and corporations. 

It has been also found that 58% of unemployed graduates and 62% of unemployed post-graduates say that non-availability of jobs matching their skills and education is the primary reason for their unemployment hence this is where e-learning comes in and helps students inculcate practical and industry-oriented skills. 


What does e-learning have to offer? 

The “E” of electronics has entered all the markets such as – e-Commerce, e-mail, and now e-Learning. This mode of learning is here to stay for a very very long period of time and will transform the education system and connect the world more closely. 

In the year 2001, Ziguras coined the term “educational imperialism” and according to him, this term is synonymous with e-Learning but given that we have seen a lot of advantages and scope this mode of learning has to offer, there should be more acceptance for it.


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