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A story of booming opportunities and few challenges - Road ahead for Indian Edtech

A story of booming opportunities and few challenges - Road ahead for Indian Edtech

5 Dariya News

5 Dariya News

5 Dariya News

22 Jun 2022

Until a decade ago, none of us could have fathomed the criticality of laptops and mobile phones as enablers for learning. But as the world cocooned into homes owing to the global pandemic, multiple businesses including education were compelled into a digital makeover. Bereft of the familiar setting of the classrooms, education in India was one of the worst hit sectors, only to be propelled back to normalcy by the tech enabled solutions. As students world over moved to online education,  it led to a meteoric surge in e-learning and a spectacular expansion of the Indian ed-tech sector.

With over 550 Million people aged below 25 in India, there lies a huge potential for the Indian edtech sector to tap into and expand. While the adoption of digital learning has been varied in urban and non urban markets, the pandemic has undoubtedly opened the need gaps and enabled edtech companies to extend their reach and operations. Last year, edtech was among the top three funded sectors in India, raising $1.9 billion across 80 deals. All stakeholders including the government, private and public schools, tutors, coaching institutes, students, and teachers have taken cognisance of the benefits of digital learning today and its ability to supplement traditional classroom learning.

Edtech in India is poised for a steady growth and multiple factors could be attributed for the same -

         Proliferation of smartphone users in Tier 2 and 3 cities - Students in Tier 2 and 3 cities now have improved access to high-quality education. Reducing data costs (India has the lowest internet tariffs in the world) have enabled rural areas to have access to more information and knowledge. With increasing internet penetration, betterment in purchasing power and the need for high quality education, the next leap of digital transformation will stem out of these cities in India. .

         Increased access and guidance - Students today enjoy limitless access to course materials and subject experts online from around the world. Companies like Brainly in India, opens students to an exhaustive knowledge base of over 48 million questions and answers, that is available for free for all queries and doubt solving. This has also benefited parents who are continually on the lookout for online educational tools that will assist their children in achieving academic success.

         Age no bar - Online learning makes it possible for people across ages to access different subjects by allowing them to learn at any place and any time, as per their convenience.

         Digital-friendly government policies- The government has launched several programs such as' Digital India’ and ‘Skill India’ to spread digital literacy in India, create a knowledge-based society and implement three principles: access, equity, and quality of the education policy.

         Reducing the divide - Students with varying skill sets and sensibilities can access a wide selection of courses owing to online learning. Students come from a variety of backgrounds and are always on the lookout for digital learning modules that will suit their educational demands and help in adaptive learning. Education apps like Brainly deliver personalized adaptive learning, which helps students achieve better learning results and thereby add further value to their traditional learning methods in a hybrid approach. 

A primary reason for the success of the ed-tech industry in India has been the “Bharatiya” approach adopted by the companies. They are taking note of the linguistic diversity and regional disparities in India while developing solutions. Though global in scope, the edtech industry has been able to capitalize on India’s varied demography while keeping in consideration their propensity to spend for quality education.

However, the road ahead is also plagued with challenges for edtech. The need to sustain a loyal audience base, increasing customer acquisition cost, dearth of digitally literate teachers and the economic divide are some of the glaring difficulties for online education companies in India. Some other challenges can be listed below as -

         Poor internet connectivity This still remains a major issue, especially in rural areas. High-speed internet is necessary for innovation-driven learning. With Tier 2 and 3 cities still encountering bandwidth constraints, the pace of digital adoption here will continue to be a cause of concern. 

         Resisting pedagogical change – COVID 19 dismantled the walls of the classroom and took education online. With the pandemic showing signs of waning, schools are returning to classroom education and the one-size-fits-all model is back in play. Hence, customer retention is going to emerge as a challenge. 

         Language – For a diversified nation like India, it’s imperative for online learning platforms to design programs in vernacular languages to dig deeper into the untapped demography.  To cater to students in a language of their comfort, some doubt solving app make its content available in several Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Bengali, and Sanskrit. Ed tech companies are continually working on increasing their language portfolio and offer customized learning solutions. 

Online learning has a bright future in India. Educational technology companies must address the challenges and help define the future of education. In developing online education, the change will be led by the trio of content, delivery, and access. To reach their target audience and drive growth, online learning platforms must first understand their target audience and innovate accordingly to create satisfactory products that appeal to students.

 

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