The awakening of rural population to the value of education throws a giant opportunity for education entrepreneurs to begin with their education startup and expand in this rural India.
According to Census of India’s report, India is the second most populous country in the world, with 1,336,286,256 (1.3 billion) people (May 2016). Approximately 70 per cent of India’s population lives in rural areas, half of which lies in the age group 6-25 years, the vital age in which a child should be pursuing his/her education to develop himself/herself as a responsible citizen.
Education in India is plagued by many problems such as poor infrastructure, access difficulties, lack of financial support and poor quality of educators to name a few. In this year’s budget, the FM announced an allocation of Rs 72,394 crore compared to Rs 68,963 crore for last year, which is 4.9 per cent increase in the education budget out of which approx. 30 per cent is spent on higher education. Out of the remaining funds, a meagre amount is spent on education in rural India as a result of which more than half of India’s population is left uneducated. The state and central governments are trying to tackle these issues by pumping almost Rs 310 billion (approx. $ 5.7 billion) into improving rural school infrastructure and recruiting teachers.
There is also the Right To Education Act enshrining the rights of all children to free and compulsory education. Quality mid-day meals, distribution of free textbooks and uniforms are also attracting students and giving them the fuel they need for learning. These and other initiatives have led to the increased enrolment and attendance levels in schools.
The Poverty Effect
Families in rural India struggle to make ends meet. Their low income is hardly enough to cover daily supplies of food and shelter let alone education.
Children are needed to work in fields, which eventually means that they drop out of school, usually after their primary education. A report by UNICEF estimates that there is a 40-percentage point difference in attendance rate between primary (69.4 per cent) and secondary (39.1 per cent) students coming from poor families. Also, more children in the age group of 5-14, whose parents are not educated seem to be opting to go for work instead of staying in school. Clearly financial stability and awareness of the opportunities provided via good education are big factors in ensuring continued education in these families.
The opportunities for improving rural education are endless. The awakening of rural population to the value of education throws a giant opportunity for education entrepreneurs to begin with their education startup and expand in this rural India. Entrepreneurs can open schools in various rural districts and enrol students and provide them with the basic schooling. As infrastructure of government schools in rural India is a problem, it can be taken care of by these entrepreneurs. Hygiene and sanitation are a major cause of worry which should be addressed by these schools.
Entrepreneurs can also start a venture with other schools educating the adults / elderly population of rural areas as these people, if not properly educated would not let their children study and instead will join them in work.
Another opportunity could be opening an institute for the working population in rural India to provide them with the necessary skill to excel in their work. This comes after PM Modi took the initiative and laid down the Skill Development Mission in the year 2015 which plans to make India a hub of skilled manpower.
For example, Hippocampus learning Centers provides low-cost preschool and after-school learning services to students in rural areas. It currently serves over 6000 children across Karnataka and is the largest early education provider in the state. They are actively seeking additional entrepreneurs across India who have plans for scalable and affordable educational services or products that will help India’s rural children get the education they deserve.
Thus, opening of an educational venture in rural India would let the entrepreneurs tap the potential market and reap the benefits of enrolling a high number of students, obtaining easy funds by government and other institutes and educating the masses altogether.