By Kirandeep Dham, CEO, Globus Infocom Pvt Ltd
Ever since the pandemic outbreak, the sectors across India have witnessed maximum disruption, and the education system is no exception. Education today is no longer restricted to ‘Pathshalas’ or physical classrooms. The restrictions imposed at the time of the pandemic paved the way for the new age of modern pedagogy. As a result, virtual classrooms and online learning emerged at the forefront.
Teaching in India has been embracing digital adoption with technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics increasingly marking their presence in the sector. The ecosystem in India is enabling a revolution in all major industries. Hence, the education system in India is emerging with the industrial revolution.
The education system is focusing on creating an online learning programme due to increased demand from consumers. According to a report by KPMG, our country is the second-largest market for e-learning after the US. The sector reached $1.96 billion in the past year and has more than 9.6 million users. The recent Nation Education Policy (NEP) passed in the past year 2020 is the testimony of the same. This means that the nation is heading up in the right direction. With proper planning and execution, the electronically connected medium has the power to meet all the four policy parameters of the NEP — access equity, quality, affordability, and accountability.
Ushering in the New Era of Ed-Tech in India
Ed-tech is the collaborative approach to education and technology — organizations leverage technology to curate high-quality and personalized learning experiences affordably to make education more equitable and inclusive. Everything from the addictive application on your smartphone to the new-normal classroom falls within the wide spectrum of ed-tech.
The rise of Ed-tech opportunities is attributed to three key functions:
Digital Services: The focus on large-scale digitization has resulted in the democratization of the Internet, allowing previously underserved groups to access digital services.
Rise of the Ed-tech industry: According to the report by IBEF, the Indian Ed-tech industry is forecast to reach US $4 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 39.77%. This growth is driven by the rising demand for non-academic courses from tier 2 and tier 3 states and the need for personalization in the ed-tech space. Out of the expected market value of $4 billion, 1.5 billion will focus on Kindergarten-12, after-school foundations, and pre-preparation courses.
Education System: The education system is one of the important pillars of the country. However, there are various concerns including a shortage of trained instructors, a student-teacher ratio gap, and a lack of updated and adaptable teaching methodologies, and it has long required technological support. Tech and ed-tech platforms have brought education closer to the students across regions; its adoption at the mass level is still a major challenge.
Challenges face by Ed-tech in its Mass Adoption
Acceptance of Online learning
Prior to the pandemic, education was going to school/universities, sitting before a teacher and learning collaboratively with peers. However, the scenario has changed and online classrooms are the new normal. Students find it challenging to be as involved in online sessions as they were in traditional classrooms for a number of reasons, the primary one being the preference of in-person education. The millennials and Generation Z are open to remote learning due to the convenience and flexibility that the model offers. Whereas other population segments have been adopting this learning method gradually. As a result, ed-tech acceptance is happening at a slow pace amongst the masses.
Poor Availability of Internet
Poor internet connectivity and lack of tech infrastructure continue to be a big issue, especially in rural regions. For innovation-driven learning, high-speed internet is indeed the most important factor. Even with the localization and personalization of the educational content; online learning backed by ed-tech platforms remains a far-fetched dream.
The ed-tech sector faces its fair share of challenges. However, being resilient in its approach, the market is making concerted efforts to ensure its adoption and acceptance amongst the masses. According to the report by the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the online education market is projected to reach US $11.6 billion by 2026 in India. This implies that the adoption of ed-tech platforms is surging and possesses the potential to transform the educational sector. Adding to it, countless Ed-tech platforms are demonstrating their dedication by assisting educational enterprises in creating better futures and engaging experiences.
Despite being a technology-rich state, India will need to address aspects such as ensuring education to be accessible for all. In such a scenario, Ed-tech companies have been developing new-age tech solutions to create exceptional educational content along with offering high-end educational experiences.
Ed-tech sector faces various roadblocks whilst reaching out to the masses. The market is tackling various challenges including teachers training, monitoring, teaching at the appropriate level, and improvement for underperforming scholars, amongst others. However, it is making concerted efforts to transform the Indian educational landscape.