Slimmer availability of high-quality college education in India

According to ' Gartner's Market Trends: Industry Analysis, India 2004-2009', Information and Communication Technology (ICT) investments in India are expected to double by 2009, which implies that the need for a skilled workforce is growing exponentially.

India has a 1.1 billion population with literacy at 52%, high poverty levels (319 million live below USD 1 per day), wide rural-urban divide. There is a shortage of talent and skills already being felt by India's mushrooming IT industry.

Each year over 3 million graduates and postgraduates are added to the Indian workforce according to Nasscom. However, only 25% of technical graduates and 10-15% of other graduates are considered employable in IT and ITES segments.

The number of technical schools in India, including engineering colleges, has gone up three fold in the last decade as per the All India Council of Technical Education. Part of the skills-gap problem is that a miniscule percentage of India's youth pursue higher education. No more than 7% of Indians aged 18-25 go to college, according to official statistics. Even a more fundamental level of education is proving difficult with nearly 40% of the people over the age of 15 being illiterate.

In north India alone, studies reveal that there are a significant number of engineering institutes: Delhi 14; Chandigarh 5; Haryana 38; Himachal Pradesh 5; J&K 5; Punjab 45; Rajasthan 56. However, these institutes face problems associated with shortage of skilled teachers, funding, language and outdated syllabi. It is estimated that India would require a workforce of 500,000 capable IT professionals in the IT and IT-enabled services sectors by 2010, according to the Economic Survey. However, over the past 15 years, India has produced 1.6 million professionals and faces the uphill task of producing another 0.8 million in the next two years.