Women are turning to online education at higher rates than pre-pandemic, says a survey by Coursera. India has 4.8 million registered women learners on the edtech platform, which is the second-highest of all 190 countries globally, it reveals. In 2020, as many as 44 per cent of the newly registered learners were women, and the growth continues to sustain through 2021.
Overall, 38 per cent of total learners in India today are women, up from 24 per cent in 2016. The median age of women learners on the platform is 27, four years younger than the global median age of 31.
The maximum number of women are enrolling in STEM courses and entry-level professional certificates. The overall course enrollments has increased from 26 per cent in 2019 to 36 per cent in 2021 for women. For STEM courses, the gender gap narrowed from 23 per cent enrollments from women in 2019 to 32 per cent in 2021. While in entry-level professional certificates, it has gone up from 22 per cent in 2019 to 30 per cent in 2021.
The certificates courses are mostly offered by industry leaders such as Google, IBM, and Facebook, and are designed to prepare learners without a college degree or technology experience for a wide range of high-demand digital jobs.
A balance in digital and human skills
Top skills among Indian women show a balanced investment in human and digital skills. Four out of the top five skills are STEM skills, like computer programming with 2 million women enrollments, followed by machine learning with 1.9 million, probability and statistics at 1.8 million, and theoretical computer science at 1.6 million.
The top 10 skills from the past year also include critical business and personal development skills, like communication (1.5 million women learners), leadership and management (1.1 million), and entrepreneurship (1 million).
Top courses teaching job-relevant skills include Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from University of Michigan, Machine Learning from Stanford University, English for Career Development from University of Pennsylvania, and Financial Markets from Yale University.
Mobile phone users maximum
Further, 62 percent of women learners in India use mobiles to learn online courses as compared to 48 per cent globally. Other factors contributing to enrollment increases from women include adding practice quizzes before challenging assessments, listing most common mistakes for peer-reviewed assignments, and distributing assessments throughout a course.
Coursera has more than 87 million learners worldwide and 5,000 courses are offered on the platform. The Women and Skills Report by the edtech includes data from 40 million new learners who registered during the pandemic between January 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.