India Entry Strategy for Global Education Institutions

Foreign Educational Institutes: India Centered Strategy 


Recent reports have indicated that the ‘Indian Higher Education’ segment is the largest in the world and is projected to increase to $ 37.8 billion by 2020. The Central government plans to disburse US$ 1 billion to states for introducing skill development initiatives. As on November 2016, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana, at a cost of US$ 74.68 million for providing entrepreneurship education and training to students in the country. India’s higher education needs are significant. The country needs more enrolment capacity at the bottom of the system as well as more places at its small elite sector at the top.


India has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world with 666 universities and 39,671 colleges. It is also the third largest in terms of education enrolment with over 21.5 million enrolments per year. The private education sector which was valued at an estimated US$ 96 billion in 2015 is estimated to reach US$ 133 billion by 2020.

 The Government of India has allowed 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the education sector through the automatic route since 2002. In the year 2015 government is expected to launch New Education Policy to address the changing dynamics in the education industry of the country as per the requirement of the population.

The market is open for foreign players because of the current challenges that the Indian higher education ecosystem faces. Centrally funded government universities are considered to be the best in India but the issue is that only 3% of students are enrolled in these universities. Rest go to the the state funded universities or private/deemed universities. These 97% of students can be lured by foreign universities by providing differentiated values and quality that may not be found otherwise.

Why India Presents a Lucrative Market for Foreign Educational Institutes?

Foreign universities are also going through a the same phase of global recession as any other business in the economy. International market, particularly the extremely lucrative student community of India has been largely untapped till now. More than 100,000 students leave Indian shores annually to study at universities abroad. The high enrollment ratio of Indian students in foreign universities demonstrates the fact that the Indian higher education sector cannot be ignored any further by foreign universities.

  1. Experts associated with these universities explain the economic logic of their plans for India: the proliferation of private institutions in the country – especially in engineering, medicine, management and law – that charged fees upwards of Rs 2.5 lakh a year was evidence of the vast market waiting to be tapped.

  2. India needs 1,500 universities, compared with about 350 now, to raise the enrollment numbers from 7 per cent of the population aged 18- 25 to developed country averages. Foreign universities can fill this gap by attracting this secondary layer of India’s higher education market.  These are students whose families can’t afford foreign education ( upwards of Rs 15 lakh a year), but want to be in the top four favourite streams.

  3. The education sector in India is poised to witness major growth in the years to come as India will have world’s largest tertiary-age population and second largest graduate talent pipeline globally by the end of 2020. The education market in India is currently valued at US$ 100 billion and is expected to nearly double to US$ 180 billion by 2020

  4. Currently, India’s higher education system is the largest in the world enrolling over 70 million students while in less than two decades, India has managed to create additional capacity for over 40 million students. It witnesses spending of over Rs 46,200 crore (US$ 6.93 billion).

  5. According to a report written for MHRD, nearly 300,000 Indian students study abroad, mostly in post-graduate and doctorate programs, spending about US$ 9 billion per year. Nearly half of those 300,000 students go to the United States, with the United Kingdom and Australia accounting for most of the other destinations for studying abroad.


Key opportunities for foreign universities in India


  1. Establishing an Indian campus, subject to notification of rules

  2. Establishing formal educational institutes in collaboration with Indian private sector

  3. Twinning arrangements/ academic and financial collaborations with Indian institutions

  4. Set up an Indian subsidiary for course content development, executive training and other unregulated offerings

  5. Establish sustainable marketing programs to attract Indian students to their home campus (Foreign shore).


Why Foreign Universities cannot sideline the Indian market?

Extremely huge and virgin opportunity awaits in the Indian higher education sector – with India as the third largest higher education system in the world after US and China, with a total enrollment of over 28 million students.


The current GER (Gross Enrollment Ratio) is hovering around 20% for India, which is lower than the global average. This gap in demand can be filled by foreign universities considering the fact that the Government is targeting a GER of 30% by 2020. This opens up huge window of opportunity for foreign education providers to introduce quality educational programs to millions of Indian students who are aspiring for a world class education.

 Foreign Universities can now operate independently in India. The government has finally taken a very game-changing route which allows foreign universities to operate independently in India – and set up campuses and offer degrees without having a local partner—a much needed initiative to bring more quality educational institutions in the Indian higher education sector.

To foreign universities, the move presents an opportunity to tap a country with a population of 1.2 billion.

 Several foreign universities have been keen to enter India to tap a higher educational market that is worth Rs.46,200 crore and expanding by 18% every year, according to 40 million by 2020, a report from audit and consulting firm EY. They have been constrained by the need to do so through partnerships.


CopperBridge Value Proposition for Foreign Universities

|For setting up India Campus|

|For setting up a marketing program to attract Indian students| 


1|Market Feasibility of Indian Higher Education sector

• “Go No-Go” Project Feasibility Analysis & ‘Go-NO-GO’ Decision
• Competitor landscape, Faculty Pool Availability
• Market size and demand analysis
• Revenue & Price Model Establishment
• Brand Awareness Strategy
• Local Partnership Building


2|Tax & Regulatory Compliance Advisory

• Structuring for Tax Optimization and Compliance
• Regulatory requirement adherence
• Engaging Regulatory and Compliance authorities
• Approval and NOC procurement


3|Program Implementation

• Hand-holding in procuring regulatory approvals
• Query Management
• Maximizing tax incentives and subsidies
• Registration of Section 25 company
• Tax Registrations and Management


4|Marketing and Administration Advisory

• Branding and Advisory strategy
• Market Positioning (ATL | BTL) Advisory
• Creating the right localization strategy for the institutions
• Identifying Brand Ambassadors for the Program
• Human Resource Advisory


5|Growth Stage Advisory for the Institution

• Organizational structuring and reporting mechanism
• Business process optimization
• Financial process optimization and reporting
• Data security, privacy, back-up and archiving model
• Enterprise Process management through technology



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