EduTech - The New Age Education by Anoushka Sen
EduTech is a developing industry in education, that has been propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn about the key players, untapped areas, impact, and future prospects of the industry.
AREAS UNDER EDUTECH (DEFINITION OF EDUTECH)
Educational technology is the combined use of computer hardware, software and educational theory and practice to facilitate learning in classrooms. When referred to with its abbreviation, EdTech, it is often referring to the industry of companies that create educational technology. EdTech is still in the early stages of its development, but it shows promise as a method of customizing a curriculum for a student’s ability level by introducing and reinforcing new content at a pace the student can handle. The goal of EdTech is to improve student outcomes, enhance individualized education, and reduce the teaching burden on instructors. While many praise technology in the classroom, others fear that it is impersonal and can lead to data collection and tracking of both students and instructors.
Some areas under edutech include online learning platforms, virtual reality, mobile technology, youtube. In-classroom tablets, interactive projection screens and whiteboards, online content delivery, and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are all examples of EdTech. Learning methodology today typically covers a structured curriculum, interactive classes, labs, project work, and finally assessments. There are many users of edutech in the field of education like primary school, secondary school, higher education.
Areas under edutech
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON EDUTECH - NEED, ACCEPTABILITY
EdTech has been around for nearly the last 15 plus years in a meaningful way. Technology has scaled to a level where everything happens seamlessly online and delivers a great learning experience and great outcomes. This era of EdTech is about the use of technology to highly personalize the learning experience, try new approaches, and to scale education in unimaginable ways.
Present-day classrooms have moved beyond the clunky computers that were once the norm and are now tech-infused with tablets, interactive digital courses, and even robots that can take notes and record lectures for students who are not well and it looks like technology in the classroom is here to stay — the majority of teachers believe tech is going to have a major impact on the way they educate in the near future. The immense rise in EdTech users due to the nationwide lockdown has provided a significant push to the sector in India, which is relied upon to develop at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 52% to having been turned into a 1.96 billion dollar industry by 2021. The key development drivers propelling EdTech in India are the capacity to serve a large audience at essentially lower costs compared to traditional classroom learning, critical growth in internet, Smartphone infiltration across India and steady growth in disposable income of the Indian families.
The countrywide lockdown due to the pandemic led to the shutting down of schools and universities which saw the emergence of many EdTech platforms and services and a rise in adoption. The EdTech sector saw major investments and spending by governments, schools, universities, students, and professionals globally. While the growth has been tremendous, the industry suffers from challenges such as scaling up rationally, defeating infrastructure barriers, and retaining growth.
Lockdown boosted innovation and investment in the EdTech Sector. There are around 4,450 EdTech start-ups operating in the nation presently catering various segments including K-12 (Kindergarten to 12th grade), vocational, and professional training/skilling and school/college educational operations. While the K-12 and competitive examination segment is ruled by Indian players, the international players are centered on reskilling, vocational preparation, and certifications. A lot of innovations have been tested within the Indian EdTech industry to balance the dynamics of teachers and students from a traditional classroom to a virtual one. Technology is turning teacher-driven education into a more teacher-student arrangement. Smart classrooms are making teaching transparent and equivalent for every student in a way close to the genuine classroom-like experience.
Impact of Covid-19 on Edutech
Need - The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever. The COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut all across the world. Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. While countries are at different points in their COVID-19 infection rates, worldwide there are currently more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries affected by school closures due to the pandemic. In Denmark, children up to the age of 11 are returning to nurseries and schools after initially closing on 12 March, but in South Korea students are responding to roll calls from their teachers online.
Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global EdTech investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025. Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19.
Acceptability - Covid-19 pandemic enabled EdTech to become leading sector for growth. With the emergence of EdTech, teachers and parents are adopting a more practical way of imparting knowledge. The EdTech industry went the extra mile to help students amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The increased adoption by institutions, professionals, parents, and students marks the growth. It has always existed, but its popularity and growth are in the news. India's shift to digital teaching in the past 10 months has been rapid. Since March 2020, the number of students learning online in India has increased dramatically. Schools, universities and educational institutions have moved online due to the lockdown and worry about Covid-19. In the past ten months, the user base of several EdTech platforms has doubled in both paid and free daily visitors.
Adoption of EdTech tools and products by students, teachers, and institutes - While current classroom doors are closed in schools of all levels, the educational process has shifted online. Teachers whose lesson plans were designed for the analogue form had to adapt to this new digital environment in order to be effective and keep students learning. EdTech saw the major adoption of online self-based curriculums and online class management. Before Covid-19, educational technology had already seen tremendous development and acceptance with a variety of adoptions in educational institutions and at home, such as using visual aids, undertaking research, and creating online portals. Improved digital literacy, increased student engagement, automated grading, staying in touch 24X7, publishing and displaying student work, and personalising learning are just a few of the benefits. EdTech tools and platforms are thus giving educational institutions a tremendous opportunity to respond to the challenge and achieve a seamless transition from offline to online education.
KEY PLAYERS IN INDIA
India to become the Edtech Capital of the World
EdTech funding focused on start-ups - Indian EdTech start-ups raised more than US$ 1.43 billion across 100 deals in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic disruptions and subsequent lockdowns compelled both parents and educational institutions to implement tech-enabled learning solutions, making EdTech the most funded sector in the country. Of the total funding raised, Byju’s leads with 57%, followed by Unacademy (10.5%) and Vedantu (9.5%). Since 2020, India has seen four EdTech start-ups turn into unicorns (Unacademy, UpGrad, Eruditus and Vedantu) and one into a decacorn (Byju’s). A unicorn is a company valued over US$ 1 billion and decacorn is valued >US$ 10 billion.
A hybrid EdTech industry - According to experts, players in the EdTech segment are expected to adopt a hybrid channel approach in the future. Online players are trying to establish offline touchpoints for students. For instance, EdTech decacorn Byju’s has piloted Byju’s Learning Centre, a new hybrid model, allowing students to visit offline education centres for classes.
BYJU's is an Indian multinational educational technology company, headquartered in Bangalore. It was founded in 2011 by Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath. as of December 2021, BYJU'S is valued at US$21 billion and has over 115 million registered students. Byju’s acquired three major companies - Epic, an online library for kids aged under 12, for US$ 500 million; Singapore-based Great Learning, an online professional and higher education company, for US$ 600 million and Toppr, an after-school learning platform, for US$ 150 million.
Unacademy aims to build the world's largest online knowledge repository for multi-lingual education. They use technology to empower great educators and create a community of self-learners. Their vision is to partner with the brightest minds and democratise education for everyone looking to learn. They want to change the future of education.
Vedantu is an Indian online tutoring platform launched in 2011 based in Bengaluru.
UpGrad is an online higher education company. It offers over 100 courses in collaboration with global universities. It raised US$ 120 million from Temasek.
The Eruditus group, consisting of Eruditus Executive Education and its online division Emeritus, partners with top-tier universities across the United States, Europe, Latin America, India and China to bring world-class business and professional education to a global audience. Eruditus has partnered with more than 50 universities to date, including MIT, Columbia, Harvard, Cambridge, INSEAD, Wharton, UC Berkeley, INCAE, IIT, IIM, NUS and HKUST, educating more than 250,000 individuals across 80 countries. Many courses are offered and facilitated in multiple languages, including Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. The Eruditus Group has more than 1,400 employees globally and offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Shanghai, Singapore, Palo Alto, Mexico City, New York, Boston, London, and Dubai. Eruditus is a global leader in the $280 billion global professional education market.
Teachmint, a start-up that helps teachers and institutions create their own virtual classrooms, raised US$ 78 million in a Series B funding. The new round of funding values the company at US$ 500 million.
EdTech start-up Classplus raised US$ 65 million in a Series C round led by Tiger Global Management.
Doubtnut, a K–12 EdTech platform, has raised approximately US$ 30 million from SIG Global and Lupa Systems. Existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Omidyar Network India and Waterbridge Ventures also participated in the Series B round.
Key Players in India
TARGET AREAS, STILL UNTAPPED AREAS
Previously dominated by the K-12 segment, the EdTech sector is now witnessing strong growth in the post-K-12 segment. Online education offerings for the K-12 segment (Classes 1 to 12) are projected to increase 6.3X by 2022, creating a $1.7 billion market and the post-K12 market is set to grow 3.7X to touch $1.8 billion. When compared to traditional education (school, college), online education is more affordable. There are numerous e-learning platforms available for the students where they can get access to quality education at the most affordable cost. Due to the affordability factor, students belonging to different income categories and social class can get access to quality education with attractive visuals and expert teachers.
There are around 624 million active internet users in India as of February 2021. These active users offer a huge growth opportunity for the EdTech stakeholders. Particularly in Tier 3/4 cities, segments such as online tutoring and competitive exam preparation can have strong growth. With more people in the target audience pool, every segment of the EdTech industry can have ample growth opportunities.
Still untapped areas
EdTech has untapped potential. The education market in India is massive yet highly under-penetrated, with online learning forming only 2% of this, says Vamsi Krishna, Co-Founder & CEO, Vedantu. Online education start-ups have benefited immensely from the shutdown of schools and colleges, as they tried to fill the gap with online classes. Investors, too, have jumped on to the EdTech bandwagon, even as funds dried up for startups in other sectors. EdTech startup Vedantu raised $100 million in July at a valuation of $600 million, making it the second-most valuable online education startup in India after Byju’s. Virtual is becoming the new normal in learning and is the key to driving growth during the coronavirus pandemic, said Vamsi Krishna, co-founder and chief executive officer, Vedantu. Virtual is becoming the new normal in learning. Therefore, their strategy to encourage learners to experience live, online learning will continue. They believe this will be key in driving category and business growth during the pandemic and beyond. Vedantu is exploring opportunities to scale impact, as it achieves 4x growth, and looks forward to adding 30-40% employees this year.
Online learning has seen exponential adoption among students during this pandemic, and schools, as well as institutes, have switched to an online mode to ensure that India’s learning never stops. This continues to benefit students. But switching from offline to online platforms has been a challenge for many teachers, as they were not used to conducting classes in the virtual world. They expect to see more momentum with new users experiencing the benefits of online learning. India has been at the forefront of making the shift towards online learning. While the education market is huge, online penetration is still at a nascent stage. Therefore, investors are increasingly exploring opportunities in this market because of the untapped potential. To invest in this market, they are looking for partnerships that have long-term growth opportunity, the potential to scale and a successful business model.
Despite coming up with superior technology solutions for online learning, EdTech startups still are not quite reaching the full potential because of the digital divide, as quality and equality issues are prevalent in India. There is also a misplaced notion about the use of gadgets. Time spent on gadgets and overuse is linked to many unpleasant outcomes. Online learning, when done in moderation and with guidance, can help unlock the potential of each child. A majority of India’s student population still does not have access to a quality teacher or good learning content. The pandemic has only made the situation more stark and online learning has emerged as the only practical solution.
ADVANTAGES / DISADVANTAGES
Today’s students are very different from what they used to be. Digital technology has changed the way learners consume information and approach education. The world around us is changing at a rapid pace, and schools, colleges, and educational institutions are all struggling to catch up. Thus, the need for educational reform is higher than it ever was. What can the education system do? First and foremost, it needs to remodel its classrooms to fit those new needs. It needs to embrace technology more broadly to create new learning experiences that can appeal to digital students. This implies a lot of things: the use of new technologies, the training of teachers, the modification of class organization, and, more importantly, a redefinition of what it means to educate people in the 21st century. It’s not an easy task for sure, but it needs to be done in the short term. Doing so can dramatically improve the quality of the education system as a whole, benefiting students, teachers, and society. Some educational organizations are already showing us the way. They are collaborating with education software development companies to digitize the classrooms and bring technology into all kinds of learning experiences.
Tech Provides More Immersive Learning - The digital world is filled with resources that can enrich any class, engaging students at a deeper level and provide interactive experiences that can shed new light on their understanding of a lot of subjects. Imagine, for example, a geography teacher using Google Maps on a digital board to take students on a virtual tour of the Andes or a physics teacher using a 3D simulator to show the effects of different forces at play in a particular movement. There is a lot of software available for a multitude of subjects, from math and chemistry platforms to biology applications. But that is not all there is to it. Immersive learning can also mean virtual reality and augmented reality to offer more sophisticated classes to students. Imagine being able to “walk” through the corridors of the Colosseum or learning to play the piano through a projection on a desk! That’s precisely what technology can give digital learners.
It Customizes Learning for Each Student - One of the most significant drawbacks of traditional education is that a single teacher or professor has to prepare classes for different students. That means that classes do not take into account the different kinds of learners inside the classroom, which ends with certain students lagging. Fortunately, technology can help with the diversity of learning styles. How so? By letting teachers follow student progress individually and in real-time. Some platforms can gather information from each student as they work on their assignments and suggest areas of improvement to teachers. Thus, digital learners can move at their own pace, following the recommended path, while teachers can focus on students that are struggling with a particular task.
Technology Provides Easy Access to More Learning Resources - Today’s students have grown accustomed to searching for information online whenever they have to solve a problem or learn how to do something. By doing so, they are now used to interacting with search engines, ebooks, educational and how-to videos and online platforms and forums. All of that needs to be present in any classroom to leverage the students’ familiarity with them. Naturally, educators can go beyond that. They can use online tools to allow remote access to students, use streaming to provide tutoring classes, and even use gamification elements in a custom educational software to provide centralized resources more efficiently and in a more engaging manner.
Tech Adds Fun to Learning – Students are used to technology being a central part of their everyday lives, so its absence immediately puts them off. Just the inclusion of technology can boost their interest in classes. Yet, technology can do far more than just being there – it can bring fun into the classroom. The gamification elements mentioned are just one of the ways educators can use to generate further engagement with their students. Games themselves are also great to teach about specific concepts in key subjects such as math, chemistry, biology and physics. Of course, there is more than just games – interactive videos and educational robots are other alternatives that can bring the same amount of educational value and excitement.
It Increases the Collaboration - Today, technologies help connect the world in a myriad of ways, from connecting people from halfway across the world in a video call to allowing different individuals to work on the same online project simultaneously. Those collaboration capabilities can have a significant impact on the classroom as well. We already mentioned online tutoring classes and remote lessons as ways in which technology can democratize student participation. Group projects and assignments can be done more easily with the tools available today, from text processors and spreadsheets to scientific calculators and online presentation makers. The technology itself can be a goal that fosters collaboration. For instance, a professor could encourage their students to build a website about a particular topic, which won’t just teach them about the subject but also teach them about building a website as a team.
Technology Better Prepares Students for Today's Jobs - Traditional education might be excellent at providing fundamental concepts about essential subjects, but it’s getting further away from the workforce’s reality. Today, most jobs call for tech knowledge of varying degrees. At the very least, all jobs require a certain digital alphabetization that most students today have to learn for themselves. Educational institutions can help with that through technology. By encouraging the use of digital tools such as calendars, websites, video calling apps, electronic whiteboards, emails, mobile apps, and more, educators can help students learn how to work with all those tools. Naturally, all of those tools would be boosted by the inclusion of tech-related subjects in the education programs, starting from an early age. Thus, the education system would place technology where it belongs today – at the center stage.
Technology Teaches About Digital Life - Technology doesn’t just help prepare students for work but also helps them understand everything that surrounds the tech life itself. Nowadays, many of our lives rely on digital technologies, from entertaining ourselves and communicating with others to paying bills. Besides, social media is a force to be reckoned with, so understanding what it means to participate in that digital life is something students should learn from an early age. In other words, if children start using technology in the safe space of the classroom, they can learn a lot about digital tech responsibility. That’s the perfect environment for students to learn about digital identities, digital citizenship, and online etiquette and what it all means in the broader context.
No immediate feedback from instructors - Communication with instructors will inevitably include some wait time. Questions will not be answered immediately due to Professors not having set “office hours” and not being in the classroom at the same time.
Lack of face-to-face interaction and connection with the instructor - There is a lack of accountability, because students are truly just "names" to their instructors. Creating personal relationships with instructors is nearly impossible, which is one of the largest factors in successful learning for many students.
May require more time - For students that are not as skilled with technology, it could require more time to do this work on their own, to navigate the web etc.
Requires technological awareness - Students must be adept at a variety of technologies in order to successfully receive and turn in assignments, communicate with other students etc.
Requires students to have access to technology, which is not always possible for lower-income students - Students must obtain a personal computer with a range of programs on it, most likely should have wireless internet in the home etc. This is not always possible for students with fewer financial resources.
Lack of motivation for learners who are not intrinsically motivated - Many students benefit from teachers or other peers learning alongside them. It can be difficult for students to desire to learn and work hard when they do not know anyone else doing it.
The amount of work required to translate the whole classroom structure to a web-based format - It can take a lot of work for teachers to re-format a class so that it fits the web. Teachers must be very adept with technology in order to do this in a timely fashion.
Misunderstandings of assignments or instruction - There can be confusion between students/instructors because students only have access to the written explanation of an assignment. Students are not able to ask for clarification, or hear other students' questions.
Difficulty motivating students when there is no face-to-face interaction - A large part of teaching is having a rapport with students. When this is taken away, teachers may have a difficult time motivating students from a distance.
Lack of feedback from students to help with gauging response - Instructors are unable to get an accurate "feel" for how they are doing and how students are receiving instruction. This is often gained by reading students' facial expressions or reactions, and this cannot be done without face-to-face interaction.
IMPACT ON PHYSICAL TEACHING METHODS
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way teachers prefer working and many are now moving from teaching at schools to the virtual world of edtech startups. After almost two years, students are heading back to school with much enthusiasm for offline classes, but a change has been witnessed in the teachers’ choices as well. Some of the teachers are choosing to continue with virtual classes with new edtech startups, leaving behind the traditional chalk-and-talk teaching methods. During the pandemic, almost every teacher had to learn the new virtual teaching methods by sitting in front of their mobile or laptop screens. Now, they become habitual to these methods as it not only provides them with the potential of greater remuneration but also helps them gain digital skills.
The new edtech approach
Edtech businesses are positively transforming the education industry. Edtech firms have come a long way, especially during the pandemic, by bringing teaching and learning to an entirely digitised form. Many edtech companies have noticed the shift in how teachers want to teach now and have incorporated tools to help them make the move from physical to digital more easily, such as enabling simplified sharing of videos, puzzles, assessments, and reports. With the help of advancements in artificial intelligence, instructors now have access to a variety of tools powered by machine learning algorithms that make their jobs easier. Special activities, such as verifying responses for assignments, allow them to devote more time to other parts of teaching. The mission of the startup mattered the most to these educators. What came in second was having the organisation’s support with content, training, and access to a community of fellow educators.
Edtech provides full-time stability and recognition
Teachers who were not able to get adequate job security even after working almost half of their lives in schools can get an opportunity to work as full-time members of edtech startups and be better recognised for their effort. Aanand Srinivas, the founder of the edtech startup StayQrious, which was working with around 50-60 teachers before, saw a definite hike in applications from teachers with a background in traditional teachers during the pandemic. The number of teachers have now increased by around five times as it was earlier.
Attractive pay scale
After a long interaction with teachers, we got to know that teachers are getting pretty good salaries as compared to what they were earning after spending 75% of their daily time in a private school. “When I was working in a Delhi-based private school, I used to earn around Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 in a month. Now, I am earning Rs 60,000 in a month with better compensation and facilities than is provided in schools,” says Mansi Garg, a learning coach at StayQrious. The pandemic has not only changed the learning approach of students but has also changed the mindset of teachers concerning the new facilities they could get and the skills they could develop while working for edtech startups. Edtech startups are now attracting creative talents from all over the country. “With more awareness spreading, we are hoping many of the best minds decide to enter the field of education as the scale of the problem is large and we'll need to have teachers with the right mindset to solve it,” says StayQrious Founder Aanand Srinivas.
EDUTECH IMPACT ON EDUCATION AS A WHOLE
In this generation, technology plays a major role in everyday lives. We now live in an era where people are consumed by technology devices, which is shaping how we communicate. As these technologies evolved, the nature of teaching and learning has become much more collaborative. With these advanced technologies we are stepping into a whole new world of innovation and creativity.
Active engagement - Technology is interactive, this helps students to become passionate about what they are learning. By using the internet, students can get updates on real time issues and solutions. Allowing children to participate in an active way reduces behavioral issues in class, it gives more dedicated time for teachers to focus on the subject.
Discussion and working group - By using software tools, students can create online groups and virtual communities that connect them with students and teachers anywhere around the world. Online communities provide a great opportunity for students to discuss their ideas and receive feedback in real time allowing for a more efficient work environment.
Coaching and Assessment - As technology continues to evolve, teachers must adapt. Incorporating technology into a classroom setting allows for an enhanced relationship between student and teacher. Teachers can now share lesson plans, lectures, and presentations with ease while students can upload their assignments from their devices. Teachers have become facilitators, providing constant feedback, enabling students to achieve deeper levels of understanding. They ensure that students are not just learning the concept, but also how to apply the knowledge, it develops critical-thinking and problem solving skills.
Simulation Software - Simulation software brings to life, the wonders of our world that would be impossible to see without technology. By using specific simulation tools, students can see planetary movements, how a tornado develops, or how the dinosaurs lived. The ultimate aim of EdTech implementation should be to enhance the quality of education and improve engagement levels among students. It is important to balance the visual content with reading, as well as the interactive elements and games with independent thinking and writing, so that students won’t be completely absorbed by all that the internet has to offer. In the interactive age, teachers have more abilities to turn classes into exciting places for discovery and learning adventures. Many in the ed-tech field see new technologies as powerful tools to help schools meet the needs of evermore-diverse student populations. The idea is that digital devices, software, and learning platforms offer a once-unimaginable array of options for tailoring education to each individual student’s academic strengths and weaknesses, interests and motivations, personal preferences, and optimal pace of learning.
Increasing Accessibility and Flexibility - Technology has changed education. Information is more accessible now than ever before. We now have fully-fledged universities that thrive by offering all their courses online, it is now easy for anyone to access a desired educational course online. Technology has brought people together by breaking the geographical barriers that limited access to education in the past. Students can learn at their own pace, depending on their ability and the amount of time. Learning materials are delivered to students online, students can schedule their learning timetables as they wish.
Special Needs in Education - For years, special needs has been an important issue in education. Traditional classroom environments may fail to address the individual needs of some students. Digital learning provides a highly flexible, interactive and accessible nature for individuals to learn in ways that suit their personal needs, capabilities or even challenges. More so, teachers can now use various technology applications to help students with particular needs learn better.
Making Learning Fun Again - Technology has changed education in the ways which learning content is now delivered. Teachers can now use videos, animations, and e-books to enhance the process of learning. It’s common for students and teachers to use games as a way of making the process more interactive. As a result, learning and teaching are now more effective and meaningful than ever.
Interaction between teachers and students - Nowadays, the absolute dependence on physical meetings is gone. It is easy for teachers and students to stay in touch via email and other internet-based services such as file-sharing and messaging.
Online Tests and Assessments - It is now possible for institutions to test their students online. Students can now use e-assessments to accurately evaluate their performance as well as their professors. Similarly, education institutions can efficiently assess their students using online assessments, saving time and resources.
Differentiated Instruction - The technology in education also provides a means to focus on active student participation and also to present different strategies of questioning. It also promotes plans of personalized learning and broadens individualized instructions. The use of internet in education has made a great impact on the educators and students in the whole education system. Internet itself has unlocked a world of opportunities for students.
Improved Student Writing - It is also suitable for students to change their written work on word processor which also helps in improving the quality of their writing. According to various studies, students are better at editing and critiquing written work when it is done on a computer.
Technology has changed education in many ways. From making education more accessible and meaningful, to enhancing the manner in which teachers and students interact during the process of learning. Technology has had many profound and positive effects on education as a whole.
2021 marked a paradigm shift towards EdTech and the trend will strengthen in 2022. More students will realize that traditional offline players haven't built the capability to provide the support needed in these hyper-competitive times. By 2026 the online education industry is set to grow by 11.6 billion. As per the recent population census survey, nearly 580 million Indians are between 5-24 years of age, with about 250 million of them currently enrolled in schools. This means that about 36 per cent of India’s population is young and learning. That’s a huge market for the education sector to leverage and grow. Like any other sector, the education sector has also seen an online transformation post COVID. However, by 2026 the online education industry is set to grow by 11.6 billion. This proves that the EdTech revolution is not a temporary adjustment but a permanent solution.
Online education to ensure continued learning
The Government of India has always taken progressive steps when it came to education. In 2002, Foreign Direct Investment through the automatic route was 100 per cent permitted. Due to which the transfer of knowledge, skills, technology, and expertise has become a global phenomenon. Online education has only contributed to accelerating the globalisation of education. A case in point would be the emergence of online programs in renowned and Ivy League global universities like Deakin University, Liverpool John Moores School, Duke University and the University of Arizona. A student from any part of the world can earn and learn at the same time, hence reducing the burden of clearing piled up loans later on. Likewise, Amazon has launched its ambitious computer education programme in India where it would identify and train 1 lakh students for future employability in its organisation. Many mid-level employees will get better projects and salaries as they upskill through online programs offered by EdTech startups. Similarly, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have partnered with online service providers to provide online and blended courses in digital marketing, product management, finance and operations for working professionals.
Better qualified and well-paid teachers
A report by KPMG (Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler) shows that India has the second-largest market for online education, right after the US. This means that the nation is going in the right direction as per the recent Nation Education Policy (NEP) passed in 2020. With proper planning and execution, the online medium has the power to meet all the four policy parameters of NEP — Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability, and Accountability. Right now, the challenge faced by Indian Education is not the lack of consumers (students) but the lack of qualified and willing suppliers (educators.) One of the major reasons for this is the low pay for an educator in a traditional school or college setup. Those who are highly qualified in their field prefer to take up corporate assignments with lucrative pay rather than settle for less. However, online educators in EdTech organisations have reported earning 2x more than their offline counterparts. This is because there is no limit placed on the number of enrolments per batch. At the same time, the students get the required 1-on-1 attention in the comfort of their room, which they otherwise won’t get in a crowded classroom setup. Satisfied educators will end up teaching the subject with passion and make the learning process interesting and innovative for students.
Blended online mentorship programmes
Students don’t have to spend money on transport, lodging, food and expenses if they decide to take the online route for exams like IIT-JEE, NEET-UG, GATE or UPSC-CSE. Nor do they have to mull over shifting base. Due to the availability of recorded lectures, students can enjoy a certain level of flexibility in their schedules, which is otherwise absent in the offline mode. Those who are preparing for competitive exams can do so at their own pace and gain access to their test performances vis-a-vis other students through quantitative data analysis. Online mentorship programs will be a popular demand in offline institutes due to the prospect of the one-on-one learning experience.
High brand awareness that traditional players banked on will no longer serve as a strong competitive advantage. Hence, if not at the high school level, from the graduation level onwards, and in the competitive exams space, the outlook for online education in 2022 looks quite strong.