India’s online education industry is expected to grow almost eight times to hit $1.96 billion by 2021, with the number of paid users rising six-fold to 9.6 million. The Indian education industry is valued at $100 billion, and the emergence of ed-tech startups has only begun to make contributions to this number. Which is why, entrepreneurs and investors see a bright future a vast playing field for edtech startups.
Why is there a need for technology in a $100 billion education industry?
Several factors are responsible in generating a need for edtech in India:
Lack of quality
The Right to Education act made education a fundamental right of every child between 6-14 years of age. However, the quality of education has not seen much improvement. The teacher student ratio across the country is still unchanged at 1:100. Many children still do not have access to good teachers, let alone the privilege of private education. Close to half of all rural schools do not have functioning toilets and a quarter do not have drinking water.
Private tuition are expensive but ineffective
As the importance of education and competitive exams increases, coaching classes get increasingly expensive for any economically weak family. They end up grappling with loans and mortgages in an effort to give their children a better future. However, the issues like large student teacher ratios, lack of personal attention, difference in individual learning styles and speeds are still not addressed. Students may still end up receiving mediocre quality of education and unnecessary peer pressure at a premium cost. All of these issues can be solved by learning online.
Distance can be a barrier
Students living at the outskirts of cities and in tier 2 and 3 cities do not have access to quality classes even outside of school. They either end up wasting time traveling between home, school, and classes, or move away from their parents to bigger cities. With edtech, students can learn from the comfort of their homes, without wasting time or money on travel.
Increasing competition for premium colleges
In spite of the abysmal quality of education at the school level, the competition for various mainstream courses in premium colleges is constantly increasing. Students appearing for these exams are growing in numbers and in skills, ensuring that cut offs see a steady rise even as number of seats remain stagnant.
What are the business benefits for an edtech startup?
The last 5 years has seen several players, big and small entering the edtech industry in India. The edtech industry today is at a sweet spot between tried and tested business benefits and unexplored markets.
Low cost of content delivery
Unlike traditional learning, edtech startups do not face recurring costs over delivering the same content multiple times. The only cost they incur is in developing content. Moreover, since edtech companies know that they only need to create content once, they focus on quality and accuracy of content.
Unlike other markets like e-commerce, premium clothing, and food delivery, the Indian edtech market is largely unexplored, and players have only started entering this space. Today, in totality, edtech firms have captured only a small percentage of the market. Moreover, this student base is constantly increasing year after year as governments and NGOs strive towards improving literacy rates.
Decreasing costs of technology
With the development of AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data, edtech companies use technology to solve problems that they face.
What is the scope of growth for the edtech market?
The Indian edtech market has immense potential in terms of expanding geographically to the smallest nook and corner of this country. Edtech startups have the potential to provide education to every child with a smartphone and an internet connection. However, this is not the only direction in which the market will see growth in the coming years. The edtech industry will venture into gamification and gamified learning, AR, and VR in an effort to increase engagement and retention rates amongst students. The AI and Machine Learning areas will be explored further to personalise learning and provide education that addresses individual student strengths and weaknesses.
The edtech market does face certain challenges in terms of seamless internet connectivity. Parents are often skeptical about children learning on mobile phones, but these issues will resolve themselves in time, as the country moves towards a digital era.
Source: HT Education