By Anish Srikrishna, CEO, Times Professional Learning:
The edtech revolution in India will help democratize education by making learning accessible and affordable for learners. As the EdTech industry evolves and self-regulates, it will create a framework providing learners options and opportunities to be future-ready leading to national growth and equitable development.
The Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered for its many unknowns. However, the pandemic also unleashed a technological revolution in education led by the edtech companies that delivered accessibility to learners when the nation was under a total lockdown. This capability helped many brick and mortar institutions deliver continuity of education to millions of students to their homes.
The technological revolution led by the edtech sector in India will help democratize education by making it accessible and affordable for learners. As the sector implements measures through its self-regulatory code for this thriving sector, it will create a framework leading to the country growth and provide learners with options and opportunities to be future-ready. Globally, edtech players have fulfilled a complementary need for the formal education system and perform an important service – allowing it to focus on core academic outcomes and research while outsourcing non-core areas such as tech platform, sales & marketing, student management, digital content management, etc.
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According to IBEF, India has the largest student population of about 500 million in the age bracket of 5-24 years, and the higher education segment stood at 38.5 million in 2019-20. In fact, UNICEF data suggested that there was a closure of 1.5 million schools due to the pandemic induced lockdowns in 2020 that impacted 247 million children. The National Education Policy has recognized the potential of online learning, and government during the pandemic encouraged higher education institutions to switch to the online mode to maintain continuity in education while also promoting online learning through initiatives like Diksha, PM e-Vidya and SWAYAM.
The online education programs have made education affordable, accessible, maintained equity and standarised the quality of content offered on its platforms. The pandemic led disruptions that compelled students and parents to adopt tech-enabled learning solutions. According to a KPMG report, paid edtech users have grown from 1.6 million in 2016 to an estimated 9.6 million in 2021. This growth is attributed to the increased internet userbase in India that crossed 830 million in 2021 and grew over 530 million over the past six years since 2015. The Economic Survey 2022 mentioned that the telephone subscriber base has increased to over 1.2 billion in March 2021 from 933 million in 2014 that speaks volumes of digital penetration in India over the past few years. It also claimed that India’s average internet data usage has increased from 1.24 GB per month in 2018 to 14.1 GB in June 2021.
With several edtech unicorns emerging, the NITI Aayog too, has taken cognizance that India can soon become the edtech capital of the world with the private sector by taking the lead and the government acting as a facilitator. It augurs well with able backing of government policies supporting growth of the sector and encouraging edtech startups to flourish. It will also enable learners to get exposed to a plethora of learning options in skilling, vocational education, executive education at affordable rates and delivered to the remotest locations across India via digital mediums.
The Indian edtech industry that was valued at US $ 750 million in 2020, is expected to reach US $ 4 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 39.77 per cent contributing to India’s global education narrative of becoming the global edtech capital as its raises billions in investments . While the Indian edtech industry is slated for exponential growth, valid regulatory concerns have been raised and this has enabled the formation of India EdTech Consortium (IEC) comprising of key etech players to proactively address the concerns of learners.
High Education services provider like Times Professional Learning (TPL) (a part of the India EdTech Consortium (IEC) has maintained complete adherence to regulatory guidelines Advertising Standards Council of India, Consumer Protection Act, 2019, among other regulations. TPL is committed to its learners with programs that enable them to upskill to meet industry requirements and make them future-ready.