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From Chalk to Click: Edtech companies unlocking the potential of online education in the Indian market

In 2020, around 90 ed-tech companies received investment of which 61 players have received seed funding

By Ratna Mehta

The best education system is the one that adapts to the changing needs of the time. If we teach our children today, as our parents were taught yesterday, we are depriving them of the skills needed for tomorrow.

Wings to Edtech

Edtech sector is truly going through the “great un-lockdown of value”. The sector was witnessing tailwinds in the last few years, with several players emerging across the education value chain. However, the pandemic and lockdown have accelerated the pace of growth and adoption. It has increased awareness and acceptability of edtech, which otherwise would have taken time due to human behaviour of resisting change. Other reasons of accelerated uptake can be attributed to:

  • Significantly lower costs for delivering education at scale online
  • Increased internet and smartphone penetration
  • A large untapped consumer base

And this flight of the edtech sector is evident from the money that is getting poured from believers. As per the Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association and PGA labs, ed-tech startups in India attracted funding of $2.22 billion in 2020 alone, in contrast to $553 million in 2019. During 2014-19, the funding was $1.6 billion. K-12 segment has seen the lion’s share of this funding.

In 2020, around 90 ed-tech companies received investment of which 61 players have received seed funding – this clearly shows that a lot of companies are at an early stage of their journey, and still innovation and ideas continue to simmer. India has two unicorns in the edtech sector – Byju’s and Unacademy. They have managed to raise $2.32 billion and $354 million respectively over the last five years, and both are in the K-12 segment.

Edtech influencing the entire value chain

Edtech was initially leveraged in higher education. However, overtime we are seeing a more widespread adoption.

  1. Direct to Consumer offerings for K-12 kids: Gamification of edtech is changing how concepts are being taught to kids. The use of AR and VR is on the rise, as are interactive technologies and gamification that teach young kids using cartoon characters, fun animation and online two-way communication.
  2. 21st century skills: Non-academic/behavioural learning – Startups are now using innovative methods like board games, videos, etc. to help learners gain confidence and learn important skills like empathy, leadership, teamwork, sensitivity, gender roles, etc.
  3. B2B offerings to schools, universities: SaaS tools for colleges to build marketplaces are gaining traction. They connect students to incoming students, students from other colleges, jobs, mentors, and alumni. Also, learning management systems to improve the efficiency of delivery as well as assessments are being implemented across institutions.
  4. Aggregator platforms: Platforms that connect students with teachers, aggregate content from test prep companies, connect job seekers to potential employers are other areas where edtech is playing a crucial role. It eliminates the need for physical infrastructure and travel, thereby increasing accessibility for a much larger population.

How Edtech will transform the education system

Currently, there are some key issues our education system is grappling with:

  • Poor infrastructure
  • Lack of quality teachers
  • Content being more knowledge-oriented than practical
  • Not preparing the students for jobs

The new education policy addresses all of these issues, and edtech plays an important role in achieving its objectives:

  1. To make education more learner-focused, debate & discussion-based and enjoyable by enabling a choice-based learning environment
  2. To enable regular assessments without sinking in much of teaching time
  3. To prevent dropouts, track outcomes and learning and providing suitable opportunities to those who need remediation.
  4. To make smart classrooms by using digital pedagogy and enriching the teaching-learning process
  5. To empower teachers and improve their efficiency through learning management systems

The sun has risen for edtech, and its ability to innovate and create more products and utility will drive the edtech revolution 2.0

Source: BW Business World

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