Higher education in India: Vision 2030

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By 2030, India will be amongst the youngest nations in the world. With nearly 140 million people in the college-going age group, one in every four graduates in the world will be a product of the Indian higher education system.

Over the last two decades, India has remarkably transformed its higher education landscape. It has created widespread access to low-cost high-quality university education for students of all levels.

With well-planned expansion and a student-centric learning-driven model of education, India has not only bettered its enrolment numbers but has dramatically enhanced its learning outcomes.

A differentiated three-tiered university system – where each tier has a distinct strategic objective – has enabled universities to build on their strengths and cater across different categories of educational needs.

Further, with the effective use of technology, India has been able to resolve the longstanding tension between excellence and equity.

India has also undertaken large-scale reforms to better faculty-student ratios by making teaching an attractive career path, expanding capacity for doctoral students at research universities and delinking educational qualifications from teaching eligibility.

The road to progress: 2013 to 2030

In recent years, India has undertaken massive structural and systemic changes that have started to yield encouraging results. The country has been touted to have the best-in-class post-secondary education system at present. Some of the significant factors that have contributed to this growth and can help envision the 2030 dream includes:

  • Expansion of a differentiated university system with a three-tiered formalized structure
  • Transition to a learner-centered paradigm of education
  • Intensive use of technology
  • Reforms in governance
India is among top 5 countries globally in cited research output, with 23 universities in global top 200!

Highlights of India’s education sector

India is the single largest provider of global talent, with one in four graduates in the world being a product of the Indian system

India is among top 5 countries globally in cited research output, its research capabilities boosted by annual R&D spends amounting to over US$140 billion

India is in the fourth cycle of its research excellence framework, with at least a 100 of Indian universities competing with the global best

23 Indian universities are among the global top 200, going from none two decades ago.

In the last 20 years alone, 6 Indian intellectuals have been awarded the Nobel Prize across categories

India is a regional hub for higher education, attracting global learners from all over the world

The country has augmented its GER to 50% while also reducing disparity in GER across states to 5 percentage points

The Indian higher education system is needs-blind, with all eligible students receiving financial aid. Two-thirds of all government spending towards higher education is spent on individuals, including faculty and students

India’s massive open online courses, started by several elite research universities, collectively enrol 60% of the world’s entire student population

Indian higher education institutions are governed by the highest standards of ethics and accountability, with every single one of them being peer-reviewed and accredited

To achieve the envisioned state in 2030, transformational and innovative interventions would be required across all levers of the higher education system

EY - Higher education architecture


To achieve the envisioned state in 2030, transformational and innovative interventions would be required across all levers of the higher education system

EY - Higher education architecture

Vision 2030: where do we see India?

  • By 2030, India will have the largest population in the world, in the higher education age bracket. Increasing urbanization and income levels will drive demand for higher education.
  • India’s economy is expected to grow at a fast pace; rapid industrialization would require a gross incremental workforce of ~250 million by 2030; India could potentially emerge as a global supplier of skilled manpower.
  • India has the opportunity to become a prominent R&D destination.
  • Given the expected socio-economic scenario in 2030, India would need a robust higher education system that can deliver on multiple imperatives.
  • A differentiated system of institutions with differing objectives and focus areas would be critical for achieving the proposed goals.


While it is important to address the existing shortcomings in the higher education system, it is more important to move towards a bold and aspirational vision.

We strongly believe that a stratified three tiered structure that enables seamless vertical and horizontal mobility of students would be able to create the desired intellectual, economic and social value. The implementation framework suggests the student at the center stage to foster innovation and choice, an ICT architecture that will increase access, equity and quality, and a transparent governance framework that will enable autonomy and self –regulation. A framework for governance has been detailed in the addendum document which proposes a mechanism based on outcomes and strong institutional accountability, clearly delineating the role and responsibilities of the government as well as public and private higher education institutions.