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How is India catching up with the rest of the world in terms of providing online education?

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By Ambrish Sinha, CEO, UNext

Intensified by the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the e-learning and EdTech industry registered an exponential growth during the pandemic years. Being the second largest populous nation, India made a significant advancement in the online education sphere. The potential of online or offline education in India is huge as the country has over 500 million people in the 5-24 years age bracket.

As adoption and consumption of online education increased, both native and foreign investors realised the potential of the EdTech market and started investing in Indian e-learning and Ed-Tech start-ups. As a result, over 9000 Ed-Tech start-ups emerged in India to deliver cutting-edge learning solutions to students, teachers and institutions. The fresh funding also enabled several improvements and innovations in the education sector that enhanced online learning efficiencies across segments, thereby transforming India as the hotspot of EdTech and online education. The government initiatives and New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 proved to be pivotal in the growth of online education.

As per new studies, India is one of the leading countries in the online education sector. The Indian online education market is set to witness tremendous growth in the coming years. According to KPMG, India has become the second largest market for e-learning after the US. The market is poised to grow by USD 2.28 billion from 2022 to 2026 at a CAGR of 19.50%. By providing affordable and cutting-edge online education solutions to developed and developing countries, Indian growth will see a further increase.

Is India set to dominate the online education space?
Let’s examine this question with some points that distinguish the Indian EdTech space from the rest of the world.

Adopt a multicultural approach: As a multicultural society, India has many advantages compared to other nations. Indian EdTech start-ups and e-learning providers need to focus on various factors in offering online education. The learners are from different socio-economic classes, regions and linguistic backgrounds. Therefore, it is necessary to adopt these elements in designing and delivering programmes online.

Enthusiastic entrepreneurs: For years, India produced and exported talent to Silicon Valley and other tech hubs in the world. Many of these people are looking back at their roots and starting new enterprises in different fields, including e-learning and EdTech. These entrepreneurs are incorporating niche technologies and business models to expand their offerings to a broad population. Thus, they are trying to redefine the traditional education system.

Innovative products and approaches: As noted above, it is necessary to introduce innovative products and approaches to attract and retain learners from diverse backgrounds in the online mode. In such a scenario, ongoing research and development is essential in different segments of online education. The evolving approaches such as experiential learning, adaptive learning, outcome-oriented outlook and micro-learning, and emerging methods, including gamification, customisation, and AR-VR powered immersive learning, are the current focus for Indian EdTech start-ups. Several innovations are expected as technology improves.

A big pool of skilled educators: India is not short of talent, especially in education and academics. Every year, thousands of teachers graduate from training schools, and thousands qualify for academics in higher education. These resources can create magic when given the right direction. Online education providers in India tap into talents and develop suitable programmes to bring out their potential.

The advantages mentioned above enable the country to thrive and grow in the global online education space. In the last two years, four Indian EdTech start-ups became unicorns, and more players are marching fast, to enter this elite list of companies. Most Indian EdTech companies are currently offering solutions in the international market too. Learners from foreign nations are pursuing online education from these platforms as it is affordable and world-class.

Sooner rather than later, we will witness more Indian EdTech enterprises reimagining the global online education space with disruptive learning approaches and innovations. Yes, India has the potential to lead the world by providing quality education online.

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