The Indian Edtech Industry is indeed ‘THE NEXT BIG THING’

Edtech, a new buzzword, which has emerged justfew years ago is creating whirls all over. The sector was already growing steadily, showing growing signals during 2015-2020. But things changed drastically overnight with COVID-pandemic led lockdown; the edtech industry has witnessed exponential growth. It has now become the need of the hour. Love it or hate it, we can’t ignore it.

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The dynamic and evolving Indian Edtech industry is creating a lot of buzz these days. Be it investors, entrepreneurs, business experts, start ups and even Government of India (GoI), all are contributing to get the best of this phase.

All the reports in the recent times are indicating exponential growth in this segment. To mention a few

• India to have 37 mn+ paid edtech users by 2025.

• The $10 bn edtech opportunity by 2025.

With the inflow of investments, acquisitions, up-gradation in offerings, along with increasing numbers of students, the digital learning movement in our country is on a fast track.The recent scenario of mushrooming edtech startups and M&A have just added extra fillip to this momentum.They all are doing their best to mint maximum profits by leveraging technology to offer the best services. The smart classroom solutions, user-friendly interface, adaptive learning and collaborative platforms are making it best suited for the students.

Future is bright

The Education arena in India has seen some drastic changes in last few decades, which were all meant for the improvisation. Edtech, a new buzzword, which has just emerged few years ago, is creating whirls all over. The sector was already growing steadily, showing growing signals during 2015-2020. But things changed drastically overnight with COVID-pandemic led lockdown; the edtech industry has witnessed exponential growth. It has now become the need of the hour. Love it or Hate it, we can’t ignore it.

The whole world is looking at India right now; the biggest global investors are showing interest in Indian edtech market. In 2020 alone, the edtech sector received $16.1B in VC funding, a 32x increase from 500M received in 2010.India has emerged to be among the top three countries in the world after China and the USA to get the most venture capital funding in the edtech sector.

The unprecedented boom in digital education in India is outcome of several factors. Convenience and low cost will be the driving factors for mass adoption of online education in India.

Internet access and smart phone users

With penetration of internet and smart phones to the interior part of the country, the market size is also growing. According to the latest report, India has around 624 million active internet users in India as of February 2021. These active users offer a huge growth opportunity for the edtech stakeholders, especially in Tier 3/4 cities.

One of the prominent reasons is the low cost or expenses as compared to traditional education (school, college). The affordability of these e-learning platforms which are availing quality education to the students at the most affordable cost is making things even better.

GOI Initiatives

There are several initiatives by the Government of India to promote online learning. The latest initiatives like the SWAYAM programme and DIKSHA are best suited to accelerate online and digital education in India.

The pandemic has changed the way we were thinking. The worst hit segment during the lockdown restrictions in the country was the education. Considering the outcome of the situation the GOI has been encouraging the heads of Higher Educational Institutions to switch to online methods of education and ensure that the academic sessions are not interrupted in future because of any unwanted developments.

SWAYAM is a programme that is designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy, i.e. access, equity and quality. The objective of the programme is to take the best teaching-learning resources to all, including the most disadvantaged. SWAYAM enables students to access all the courses taught in classrooms from Class 9 till post-graduation anywhere at any time.

DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing), an initiative of the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT), Ministry of Education, is a national platform for school education that can be accessed by learners and teachers across the country and currently supports 18+ languages and the various curricula of NCERT, CBSE and SCERTs across India.

Indian EdTech Consortium

With so much happening, it was a natural progression to form an Indian EdTech Consortium (IEC) to deliver quality education and learning outcomes. It was formed recently to regulate the business and developments. The IEC members include leading edtech startups BYJU’s, Careers360, Classplus, Doubtnut, Great Learning, Harappa, Times Edutech& Events Limited, Scaler, Simplilearn, Toppr, Unacademy, upGrad, UNext Learning, Vedantu and WhiteHat Jr, etc. with retired Supreme Court judge BS Chauhan as its chairperson.

They also have significant convergence with the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, in ‘Technology Use and Integration’ and ‘Online and Digital Education: Ensuring Equitable Use of Technology’.

Government comes in action

In most recent developments, GOI has warned edtech companies against indulging in unfair trade practices, including misleading advertisements, and said it will be forced to bring stringent guidelines if there is no self regulation by the industry players.

The increase in fake review in the edtech space and ways to curb it were also discussed during a meeting by Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh with self-regulatory body India Edtech Consortium (IEC) and other industry players in the national capital.A recent report by Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) said that education category was the largest violator of advertising code in 2021-22.

Success Stories

Raveendran launched Byju’s in 2015, downloaded by 5.5 million within a year. It was the first company in 2016 to receive funding from Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan’s Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. There was a queue of global investors. It also went on an acquisition spree, acquiring 19 companies globally for synergy and global footprint like GeoGebra, an Austria-based maths learning startup, Tynker, Aakash, Whitehat Jr, Epic and TutorVista.

Earlier this year, Khan Academy’s online traffic grew more than 2.5 times almost overnight. The company reported over 1,200% increase in parents contacting the platform and more than 750% increase in contacts from teachers.

Indian edtech startups secured a total funding of $2.2 bn across 346 deals between 2014 and H1 2020, nearly 79% ($1.7 Bn) of the funding went into online test preparation startups India’s edtech startups secured $2.2 Bn funding between 2014 and H1 2020.

Recently India got its 101st unicorn in PhysicsWallah– continuing a flurry of edtech unicorns –Byjus (now a decacorn), Unacademy, UpGrad, Eruditus and LEAD – the world is looking at India in this space.

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