The right to education is the first and foremost fundamental prerequisite for every child. However, rural India is grappling with poor infrastructure for education and low internet bandwidth issues. Many remote areas still do not have brick-and-mortar schools in the vicinity.
Edtechs are revolutionizing the online learning space, and distance is no longer a constraint. In the pre-pandemic era, edtechs were at a nascent stage, taking baby steps in exploring engaging formats and content. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, edtechs have grown by leaps and bounds. When most services were disrupted, edtechs strived hard to help students continue their learning journey in towns and villages.
Indian edtechs bridging the gap
Digitization has made the world a smaller space and provided an equal playing field for all. Indian Edtech startups are bridging the gap between urban and rural folks.
With the adoption of technology, students in rural regions can take the same course as their metro counterparts. From pre-school curriculum to higher education, vocational to hobby classes, edtechs provide a platform to connect with experts and a wide range of engaging content that broadens the learning curve. Art, music, foreign language, science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and many more subjects are offered on edtech platforms.
As per the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India has the most extensive learning population globally in the age bracket of 5-24 years. The education market is expected to reach $225 billion by FY2025.
In the fast-paced globalized world where aspirants dream of leadership roles, the demand for higher education is on a rapid rise.
As per UNESCO’s State of the Education Report for India 2021, the Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) at senior secondary schools stands at 47:1 as against 26:1 in the overall school system.
To meet such a massive demand, edtechs are bracing themselves up. The Indian edtech space has received investments worth $4.7 billion in 2021, up from $2.2 billion in 2020.
Supportive government initiatives
The Indian government has repeatedly emphasized on Padhega India, tabhi toh badhega India drive. To support the aim, the government of India has permitted 100 percent FDI under the automatic route in the education sector.
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has highlighted the need for integrated learning, providing quality and inclusive primary, secondary, and higher education opportunities.
The Finance Minister during the Union Budget 2022 made several announcements like the eVidya scheme and ‘One Class One TV Channel’ to upskill and groom youth for a brighter tomorrow.
The launch of the Digital DESH e-portal focuses on upskilling and reskilling and enhancing vocational learning and job readiness among candidates. These initiatives are bundled with a progressive rationale for the rural population deprived of their fundamental right to education due to lack of infrastructure.
According to a KPMG report, India is the second-largest market for E-learning after the US. Like the fintech or the healthtech sector, the Indian edtech market is proliferating, and startups in this sector are also turning into unicorns.
The advent of technology like artificial intelligence (AI), gamification, virtual reality (AR), and augmented reality (AR) has given birth to new-age pedagogy. Mobile learning is a rising trend due to its ease of 24x7 access and deeper outreach.
Edtech companies are catering to various segments and mounting their footprint to provide quality and affordable online solutions compatible in low bandwidth areas. They are taking a cognizant approach by curating vernacular content for primary and secondary school syllabi to curricula that prepare students for competitive entrance examinations to professional courses that help students achieve their aspirations.
As we embrace the new normal and schools begin to re-open, a blending learning approach is a way forward with new-age learning models that transform classroom learning into multi-nodal and immersive teaching and learning experiences in urban as well as rural India.
(Aditya Shankar is Co-Founder, Doubtnut-educational app)