In 2023, online education witnessed a 32 per cent surge in demand from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, projected to rise by another 20 per cent in 2024, as per a College Vidya survey involving 20,000 participants across 13 cities.

This growth is fueled by increased accessibility to electronic devices, particularly smartphones, empowering students in smaller cities to connect seamlessly with education providers; increasing awareness about the availability of online full-time courses; and more.

Moreover, improved digital literacy and enhanced internet services have significantly contributed to the accessibility of online education. In fact, the impact on students in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities has been transformative, as it has enabled them to pursue higher education without the challenges of relocation.

In addition, online education has also become a catalyst for career growth, facilitating upskilling, career switches, and job escalation, even in smaller towns. Over 32 per cent of working professionals from smaller towns enrolled in upskilling in the last year to remain job-ready and navigate industry changes.

In fact, certain courses and programs such as online MBAs, B.Com., M.Com., and work-integrated learning programs (WILP) like B.Tech. and M.Tech have been particularly successful in these cities. 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, said the report.

“With this study, we wanted to highlight the growing demand for 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,” said Rohit Gupta, COO and Co-Founder of College Vidya.

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