EdTech: Rising Only With the Rise in Covid Cases?

With a fail in the ‘factory model’ of schooling with the prevalent circumstances, EdTech is something that is really picking up. Who are the key players and where would they post this period? Read on to learn more.

Though there is never a ‘right time’ for a pandemic to strike and put an indefinite hold on the working of civilization, the timing could not have been worse for the Indian education sector. With a system far from centric to tech-solutions, the covid-19 outbreak has seen both public and private institutions struggle to facilitate the new e-learning concept.

With the lockdown forcing students to move to these new virtual classrooms, this sudden adoption of technology catalyzed the emergence of EdTech in India. Though most businesses struggled to survive through the economic pressure exerted by the pandemic, EdTech was one sect that boomed. The increase of this digital penetration of education in India was aided by the melodious coupling of the lockdown, as well as the widespread increase in the availability of the internet.

The quarterly growth rate of Internet subscriptions surpassed the 3.35% mark, harnessing an easier route for key EdTech players to tap the potential user base across the country. With more than 250 million students enrolled in school nationwide, the urgency for the evolution of skill-building online classrooms was widely observed by the Industry.

The biggest concern of the never-updated Indian curriculum was the translation of textbook learning into skills that can be utilized at the workspace. Though debatable (and highly dependent upon its implementation), the announcement of the new National Educational Policy (NEP) 2020 showed scope and some hope for the institutions in order to make education flexible and far more holistic.

What also stands in the path of this up and coming sector is the lack of regulations by the government. Before the 2018 UGC Regulations, there were no structured measures or guidelines regarding any online measures. Added with the infrastructural divide that Digital India brings with it, the lack of high bandwidth and rural-urban differences also pose a big threat.

With new launches and consolidation in the sector along with the spike in funding, India’s EdTech happens to fall in the limelight and is being observed by keen eyes all around. Though the launch of newer and cheaper portals has somehow divided the wide consumer base, some key players in the industry like BYJU’s, Embibe, Toppr, and Testbook continue to dominate the landscape.

The highlight of these advancements was the acquisition of WhiteHat Jr, a smaller coding EdTech start-up by the well renowned BYJU’s. The 300 million dollar acquisition would give way to the industry leader to launch coding on its portal; something which has a fast-growing yet niche market with students today.

The arenas where these funded ventures are highly criticized is the price packaging and rural reach. Most portals are heavily priced with large bandwidth requirements. Excluding the big players in the game, many new ventures in this sect are conquering the mode of reaching those who can’t experience the same luxury of these big brands. The mode of learning through WhatsApp.

cr. Zendesk

Though the consumer market is warming up to the idea of these virtual education platforms to flourish, what remains a mystery is the future of these EdTech companies. Is this only a short-time-pandemic-induced stint? Or is EdTech here to stay?

Increased funding is something that has come to light only in the corona struck world. Though these start-ups comprise of only a mere 0.56% of the overall education sector, the innovation and launches show a vision to surpass the estimate. Since online education has come across as a clear winner when it comes to continual education, these start-ups are optimistic about the fact that e-learning is something that is going to become an irreplaceable part of the curriculum; a form of learning that would quintessentially become a supplemental figure.

The added free content that most of these sites feature for all to access can be compared to free gym services: the equipment is  provided but no trainer to explain its utility. Though it’s not technically impossible to gain knowledge without one-to-one help, the access of doubt solving sessions, mentor meets, and added help is something that is needed to realise its maximum potential.

Though the personalised journey that e-learning has gotten most students used to with its easy and appealing interface is something that is hard to resist, it is still a big question as to where the future of this now leading sector lies. Will classroom learning be back with a bang? Well, only time can tell one that.

Read about how online classes are a constant struggle of stress, screen-time, and inaccessibility here.

Feature image credits: YourStory

Sara Bhasin