Current Trends in the Global Education Sector

September 2017

The global education industry is set to experience strong expansion, due to government support, increasing enrolment ratios and growing importance of adult education. The vast youth population will be the major factor pioneering growth in the Asia Pacific region, with China, India and Indonesia being the frontrunners. The ageing population and growing middle-class will also play an important role for the development of the adult education segment.

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Education: a global industry

Asia Pacific leads the education industry in terms of growth, as well as in absolute value terms

The high share of the youth population, coupled with growing enrolment ratios and strong government incentives, has resulted in the rapid expansion of the education industry in Asia Pacific, and especially in the Emerging and Developing Asia region. Indian educational institutions were the most profitable globally in 2016, whilst China had the largest education industry in absolute terms. However, due to huge demographics, revenues per capita were well below the average in developed countries, indicating strong growth potential.

Developed nations have larger adult and other education sectors, while developing nations lead in primary education

Populations in developed countries are ageing rapidly, while the concentration of the youth population in developing and emerging nations is high. As a result, the Philippines and India lead according to the number of primary education institutions, while EU members such as France, Norway and Spain have the volume advantage in adult and other education.

Public/private division does not affect the performance of education

Successful international assessment does not depend on the size of the public or private segments of the education industry, but relies more on efficiency of how the industry‘s funding is organised. Yet the perception remains that private schooling increases the chances of success.

Public spending in developed countries is double that in developing countries

Government support for education per capita in developed countries is far higher than in developing countries, which can be explained by both the resourcefulness of developed nations and the high and growing populations of developing nations. Technology is becoming one of the most important tools for education

Education institutions are investing more in software solutions than in technology hardware. M-learning, Bring Your Own Device, “gamification” and virtual reality are gaining popularity and enabling teaching to be student-centred, while lectures are becoming project-and inquiry-based.

Top-performing education systems invest in teaching staff

The top performers in PISA (South Korea and Singapore) primarily invest in highly educated teaching staff. Competitive salaries, as well as public and government trust, are the major factors putting the teaching profession in line with law and medicine professionals.

Ageing population and expanding middle-class will become major motivators for growth in adult and continuous education

The population aged 65+ is expected to increase by 35% to 2025, constituting 10% of the total global population. China and India will accommodate the largest number of seniors; however, the growth of the older population will be the highest in the Middle East. Coupled with the growing middle-class and increasing resources for education, these regions will be especially attractive for continuous learning companies.

Vast youth population and growing enrolment ratios will result in high growth in education revenues

Asia Pacific’s education industry is projected to increase by a CAGR of 5% over 2016-2025, generating the largest revenues globally. China and India will be frontrunners according to revenues; however, Indonesia is expected to make it into the top 10 countries, noting the strengthening position of the whole region.

Engineering and technology programmes to grow in popularity

The rate of unemployed with higher education in developed countries will remain higher than in developing nations, due to differences in the levels of remuneration. Engineering and technology science programmes will see increasing popularity.


Key findings (1)
Key findings (2)


Education industry to expand at increasing rate

Overview: Revenues

Revenue growth saved by Asia Pacific in 2016

Overview: Profitability

India has the most profitable education industry globally


Primary education establishments lead in developing countries
In focus: E stablishment analysis by type
The Netherlands ha s the highest share of private education
India to lead growth in private education
M&A activity: The potential rise of education conglomerates


Government spending is highest in developed countries
Middle East governments spend the most on education per capita
Growth in private spending should peak in Canada and Australia

Funding: Case Study

Funding of education: T op higher education institutions in 2016
LATAM: New funding models seek to reverse academic decline

Educational Technology

Technology is becoming an essential tool for education
Spending on educational software is higher than on hardware
Adoption of software technology: Top trends in education (1)
In focus: E stablishment analysis by type
Adoption of software technology – top trends in education (3)
Technology plays an increasingly important role in new class layouts ...

Human Resources

…yet most successful countries invest in teachers!

Human Resources: Case Study

Finland has one of the best-regarded education systems in the world

Key Segment Trends

Key trends: K-12 education
Key trends: H igher education
Internationalisation is crucial , especially for developed countries
Key trends: A dult and professional education

Country Studies

USA: Education in 2016
Japan: Education in 2016
China: Education in 2016
United Kingdom: Education in 2016
Germany: Education in 2016

Future Prospects

Ageing population to drive lifelong learning opportunities
Middle class boom in Quatar and Malaysia provides opportunities
Education in China becomes affordable as the middle-class expands
Asia Pacific to lead growth in the education industry
Indonesia and Kuwait set to show the strongest growth
Future prospects: Unemployment by education level
Software developers and engineers in high demand


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