The education system in general and its ancillaries in particular, have always been a talking point in the Indian domain. With its stakeholders liking the break from conventional practices, the Indian education system is witnessing dozens of innovative and robust changes. There should be no doubt that a lot needs to be done in the concerned space, with constraints being in abundance and operations being unidimensional in nature. On basic observation, one would understand that numbers is and shall not be a problem for education technology or edtech companies, due to the vast need for education across all classes of society. The thing that the edtech setups exactly need to understand is the differentiating element among these classes of the society and to cater to their needs accordingly. The need of the hour for the Indian Education System is Edtech.
With an influx of more than USD 2 billion, venture capital since 2014, one can fairly gauge the kind of potentialities that the market sits on. Even against the backdrop of a gloomy global economic picture, these tech companies have managed to get their hands on healthy capital. Quarter 4 of FY-2018, saw as much 20 deals of funding in this space amounting to the proximity of USD 600 million. If you have already started reading the sentences twice because of the numbers, brace yourselves because they are going to get bigger and better. Increased gadgets use can be used as a tool by the Indian Education System for promoting Edtech.
PROSPECTS OF THE INDIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM:
- Demographic Dividend:
India is a fairly huge competitive advantage over other nations, as far as demographics are concerned. The nation has more than 260 million students, with 65% of the entire population aged 35 and below, 50% aged 25 and below and 30% below 14 years of age. This demographic picture not only paves the way for core education needs but also for up-skilling purposes, which fairly qualifies to be a major form of service offering by these edtech setups. For the ones who are unsure about the future of Indian edtech, this seems to be an element of change.
- Internet Penetration :
The smartphone users in India have ever been rising, riding on the back of approximately 400 million user base. The country is the world’s second largest smartphone market, and the last couple of years saw massive educational content flow across these devices. This sort of penetration can somewhat be termed palpable, as the Indian consumers have witnessed massive discounting in data price offerings, making them available at cheap prices. 70% of all internet traffic in the Indian market accrues to Video-based learning, drawing a pellucid picture of the proposition.
- Need for change:
The diversified need prevailing in the market, gives a long rope to innovation and experimentation. As far as the need is concerned, it is evident and rightly so since the traditional system has subject to vast scale criticism, both by insiders and outsiders. It is this need that the edtech visionaries need to tap onto in order to create a sustainable ecosystem. Also, it is felt that the high degree of formalization is something that needs to be battled out by these ventures, as they cannot ostracize the system.
CHALLENGES FOR EDTECH IN THE INDIAN EDUCATION SYSTEN:
- Stakeholders’ mindset:
It shall surely be a task for the edtech cartel to weather out the mindset of the parents, and not just that but to also change it. Parents, more often than not are unwilling to resort to unorthodox ways of learning for their children and prefer the opposite. This creates a gap in the ecosystem and thus it becomes all the more imperative for edtech players to play like ‘good boys and girls’. An example to learn from is Byju’s, India’s most successful edtech company’s, marketing advertisements hinting at parents’ unacceptability towards video-based/ gadget based learning, which eventually turn out to be fruitful for their kids.
- Increased gadget use:
The very proposition of edtech brings along inflation in gadget use, which is looked down upon. In a world where parents and students are pursuing non-digital conduits to enhance concentration, this is a negative. To combat this issue, edtech ventures can perhaps come up with simple and friendly user interface in order to put minimal pressure on the consumers, concerning optics and thinking abilities.
- Thin attention span:
No millennial can deny from the above-mentioned point. The screen exposure is on the ascent and attention span on the descent. This characteristic trait has not spared anyone and is spreading like a virus. For edtech players, since the entire base will be online, it is more of a challenge for them to hold on to the attention span of the learning members of this ecosystem. The problem is pervasive across varied age groups and can be solved with the help of an airtight nomenclature of programs in place. With Edtech the Indian Education System can prosper.
Author’s take on Edtech:
All in all, my focus area shall be at the wide spectrum of experimentation that the concerned players can undertake with so much, yet to be done. The technology incorporated plays a substantial role in the framework, because it is this technology which needs to be capitalized on, in order to render the finest of services. With supreme technology in place, the edtech startups can have more technical analysis for the learners, coupled with robust engagement.
The Indian education system, especially in the primary zone lacks engagement with students, but I believe that with edtech, this gap can be filled, if the platform is made capable to offer robust engagement mechanisms and eventually a steeper learning curve. One observation on my end would be that in order to differentiate itself, a startup can aggressively pursue on the up-skilling bit of services, since its gaining traction by the day and has become a necessity for working class professionals. I sense that in five years time, the space will witness lots of improvement and it will culminate into a general acceptable educational model by one and all.