College Vidya, a one-stop solution for students to help them make informed online education choices, has recently come out with a study that highlights the profound changes in the educational landscape, particularly in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Online education has experienced an unprecedented surge with a notable 32% growth in demand from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in 2023 and this demand is slated to increase further by almost 20% in 2024 .
The surge can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly, the greater accessibility of electronic devices, including smartphones, has empowered students in smaller cities to seamlessly connect with education providers. Secondly, there is a rising awareness about the availability of online full-time courses, and the embrace of online education by reputable institutions has fostered trust in their validity and authenticity, resulting in a 45% increase in enrollments in the last one year. Moreover, improved digital literacy and enhanced internet services have significantly contributed to the accessibility of online education. The impact on students in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities has been transformative. The accessibility of online education platforms has provided students with unprecedented opportunities. They can now pursue elite higher education without the challenges of relocation, broadening their academic horizons. Affordability has become a cornerstone, enabling students to pursue dream courses from reputed institutions and work simultaneously, breaking financial barriers.
Furthermore, online education has become a catalyst for career growth, allowing individuals to upskill, switch careers, and escalate in their jobs even in smaller towns. In the last one year more than 32% of working professionals from smaller towns have enrolled for upskilling so that they remain job ready and combat the rapid changes happening in the industry. Secondly, women in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities have shown keen interest in continuing their education without quitting, and specially abled individuals have found a supportive and inclusive avenue for higher education through the online mode. 23% of women & 11% of specially abled individuals have enrolled in the online courses in the last one year. This study has meticulously analyzed enrollment data from over 13 cities, revealing that Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal emerge as the frontrunners, with the highest number of students enrolling. These states not only contribute significantly to the overall enrollment figures but also underscore their prominence in shaping educational trends across the region
Certain courses and programs have been particularly successful in these cities. Online MBA, B.Com, M.Com, and Work-Integrated Learning Programs (WILP) like B.Tech and M.Tech have gained immense popularity. The success of these courses can be attributed to their professional value, equal recognition by UGC-DEB, and the limited availability of quality higher education options in these cities in the regular mode.
Rohit Gupta, COO & Co-Founder of College Vidya says, “Addressing the challenges associated with online education especially in Tier 2 & 3 cities is crucial. With this study we wanted to highlight the growing demand of online courses in smaller towns. And to address this increasing demand, we are committed to providing academic counseling to overcome awareness gaps, enhancing offline availability of learning materials to combat connectivity issues, and offering personalized assistance and better student support for a seamless learning experience”
The realization that online education is on par with regular modes, coupled with the elimination of geographical constraints, has propelled students from rural areas towards online education. As we move into 2024, we foresee a continued acceleration of online education in these cities, shaping a future where education is not just a pathway to success but a beacon of empowerment, he further added