— Sajal Singh
As per the recent population census survey, nearly 580 million Indians are between 5-24 years of age, with about 250 million of them currently enrolled in schools. This means that about 36 per cent of India’s population is young and learning.
That’s a huge market for the education sector to leverage and grow. Like any other sector, the education sector has also seen an online transformation post COVID. However, by 2026 the online education industry is set to grow by 11.6 billion. This proves that the EdTech revolution is not a temporary adjustment but a permanent solution.
Online education to ensure continued learning
The Government of India has always taken progressive steps when it came to education. In 2002, Foreign Direct Investment through the automatic route was 100 per cent permitted. Due to which the transfer of knowledge, skills, technology, and expertise has become a global phenomenon.
Online education has only contributed to accelerating the globalisation of education. A case in point would be the emergence of online programs in renowned and Ivy League global universities like Deakin University, Liverpool John Moores School, Duke University, and the University of Arizona. A student from any part of the world can earn and learn at the same time, hence reducing the burden of clearing piled up loans later on.
Likewise, Amazon has launched its ambitious computer education programme in India where it would identify and train 1 lakh students for future employability in its organisation. Many mid-level employees will get better projects and salaries as they upskill through online programs offered by EdTech startups.
Similarly, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have partnered with online service providers to provide online and blended courses in digital marketing, product management, finance and operations for working professionals.
Better qualified and well-paid teachers
A report by KPMG shows that India has the second-largest market for online education, right after the US. This means that the nation is going in the right direction as per the recent Nation Education Policy (NEP) passed in 2020. With proper planning and execution, the online medium has the power to meet all the four policy parameters of NEP — Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability, and Accountability.
Right now, the challenge faced by Indian Education is not the lack of consumers (students) but the lack of qualified and willing suppliers (educators.) One of the major reasons for this is the low pay for an educator in a traditional school or college setup.
Those who are highly qualified in their field prefer to take up corporate assignments with lucrative pay rather than settle for less. All of us might have heard of a funny joke doing the rounds on how a teacher knows that they have to teach algebra to disinterested and disobedient brats who will end up earning five times more than they do in the future.
However, online educators in EdTech organisations have reported earning 2x more than their offline counterparts. This is because there is no limit placed on the number of enrolments per batch.
At the same time, the students get the required 1-on-1 attention in the comfort of their room, which they otherwise won’t get in a crowded classroom setup. Satisfied educators will end up teaching the subject with passion and make the learning process interesting and innovative for students.
Blended online mentorship programmes
Students don’t have to spend money on transport, lodging, food, and expenses if they decide to take the online route for exams like IIT-JEE, NEET-UG, GATE or UPSC-CSE. Nor do they have to mull over shifting base. Due to the availability of recorded lectures, students can enjoy a certain level of flexibility in their schedules, which is otherwise absent in the offline mode.
Those who are preparing for competitive exams can do so at their own pace and gain access to their test performances vis-a-vis other students through quantitative data analysis. Online mentorship programs will be a popular demand in offline institutes due to the prospect of the one-on-one learning experience.
2021 marked a paradigm shift towards online EdTech. This trend will only keep strengthening. More students will realize that traditional offline players haven’t built the capability to provide the support needed in these hyper-competitive times.
High brand awareness that traditional players banked on will no longer serve as a strong competitive advantage. Hence, if not at the high school level, from the graduation level onwards, and in the competitive exams space, the outlook for online education in 2022 looks quite strong.
(The author is the founder of Civilsdaily)