With more than 900 startups coming up in the past 2 years focused on the education sector, startups in Edtech are making their presence felt in the $100 Bn Indian Education sector.
Today, students have access to interactive videos and textbooks, on-demand classrooms, customised learning modules, access to top-quality lessons and content from some of the best universities in the world, and all of this – available and accessible via todays’ smart phones.
Traditional Education systems are undergoing tectonic shifts as both students and educators are rapidly embracing the convenience, personalisation and agility offered by Edutech firms.
Newer innovations such as MOOCs or Massively Open Online Courses are gaining widespread acceptance among the student population. Hallowed institutions such as Harvard and Oxford as well as bureaucratic organisations such as the Indian Government have bet big on MOOCs. The Indian Government via the HRD Ministry has launched its Swayam initiative to offer over 200 e-courses with another 10,000 e-courses under the AICTE planned over the next 2-3 years.
The Bet Seems To Be Paying Off
The number of students registering for online learning is climbing by over 70% per annum. “Online courses offer fantastic flexibility, convenience, and customisation; while delivering impactful learning outcomes for students,” says Nikhil Barshikar, Founder – Imarticus Learning. He further added, “Our online courses have been popular among students because students are upgrading their skills with industry-relevant subject matter that is not available in their university curriculum.” With recruiters recognising the impact of updated curriculum, wider talent pools and online assessments, these online courses are clearly poised to disrupt how training and learning happens.
One of the key factors that is driving this revolution is the emergence of big data and advanced analytics tools. By leveraging analytics, teachers can better understand the learning capabilities and performance of their students. Similarly, Institutes are assessing their teachers better and helping them strengthen their capabilities.
Big Data And Analytics In Education Sector
Big Data and Analytics have had a cascading impact on other sectors closely aligned with the education sector. The availability of data has led to emergence of new business models that would have been difficult to launch in the past. Take the example of student loans, until recently considered to be the exclusive domain of banks, are now considered fair game by startups looking to revolutionise the education loans. “Education and Skilling Loans are a crucial driver in this segment. By leveraging students’ data and analytics, it is possible to provide these loans online and complete process in less than 8 hours,” says Varun Chopra, co-founder of Eduvanz – a digital platform that aims to revolutionise the students’ loans segment by leveraging analytics and data insights, “Edtech startups must build digital products and services to ensure every student has the resources and opportunities to build their careers per their strengths and aptitude.”
While online learning and training is increasingly disrupting conventional chalk-and-board delivery of educational content, the deeply fragmented education sector is showing signs of consolidation as well. As India becomes more internet-savvy and the penetration of internet increases across diverse geographies, edtech startups will be able to meet the demands of different education boards and different segments.
Amit Ratanpal – a leading investor in the Edtech space says,
“Personalisation is the key in education. No two students are the same. Edtech must innovate to create customisable ecosystems designed to educate by integrating elements of gamification, edutainment and result-oriented learning.”
By building such ecosystems, edtech startups have found great success in areas such as online tutoring, edutainment, and online test preparation; where they have managed to reach out to a wider audience including students in Tier-II and Tier-III cities where availability of quality institutes and good faculty is often, a bottleneck for them. It is in these geographies where the full impact of edtech start-ups can be felt.
With over $145.5 Mn already pumped in the education sector last year, it is expected that the still nascent education technology will rapidly evolve and mature setting the stage for a large-scale disruption in how students learn new skills.
“We are poised to be the youngest county in the world as well as the fastest growing economy. It is imperative that we train our students unlock their potential. For this, democratising access to education is the first step towards revolutionising the education sector,” says Varun.
A step that may well be underway.
[The author of this post is Joy Parekh – Asst. Vice President – Online, Imarticus Learning.]