By Neeti Sharma
Despite the challenges, not all is gloom and doom in Edtech.
The Indian Edtech industry had been slowly gaining market space before the pandemic, with companies operating in both the B2B and B2C models gaining investors, increasing marketing capitalization, and revenues. As the pandemic hit the world, many industries and sectors suffered catastrophic losses. However, the Edtech industry stood firm by adapting quickly and accelerating digitization, and enabling people from across the country to gain access to education quickly and efficiently.
This quick pivot, coupled with investments in digital infrastructure, technology led learning and the need for continuous learning enabled the Edtech sector to not just survive the pandemic but thrive as well. Remote digital learning continued uninhibited even as schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions stayed closed, making India’s Edtech sector has emerged as one of the top three in the world behind the US and China.
However, as learners went back to physical classrooms and the digital fatigue set in with many stakeholders, the Indian Edtech industry faced its fair share of challenges and essentially faced its first major crisis since before the pandemic. As with any industry that has a sustained period of excellence, a minor blip is to be expected in the Edtech space as well. Most companies performed a quick pivot again and re-invested/ invested in brick and mortar classrooms and/or offered a hybrid model of learning.
As we move toward the end of 2022, there is yet the scope of optimism in the Edtech industry, primarily due to two reasons. Firstly, the quick evolution of business models offers a sustainable and adaptable option for investors and stakeholders. As we have seen, organizations in the Edtech space are not afraid to make decisions and make them quickly.
Secondly, the abundance of talent in the industry is another reason that the Edtech industry is likely to survive and thrive in the coming years. In a span of 12 years, India’s Edtech space has received a 32x increase in venture capital investment, moving from 500 million in 2010 to 16.1 billion in 2022. With the industry poised to reach 4 billion by 2025, and 30 billion by 2032, the future does not look as ominous or dire as it is being made to look.
The rise of the use of technology is also an important factor that needs to be considered while thinking about the future of Edtech. The introduction of the metaverse, the use of gamification, and non-traditional learning methodologies have already piqued the interest of the learners. Be it, online or offline these new age learning methods will become the norm for the future.
Internet usage is another key driver that is likely to contribute to the rise of the Edtech industry in the next few years. India is expected to have 900 million internet users by the end of 2025 with smaller towns accounting for 40% of active internet users in the country. With such vast penetration and growing partnerships between private and governmental agencies, rural India will become a hub for Edtech in the near future. Moreover, most organizations in the space are also offering courses in local languages and India’s Edtech industry will have a crucial role in bridging the skill gap in India’s rural workforce. Moreover, in areas where the teacher to student ratio is mismatched, digital learning tools can play a huge role. The current generation, both rural and urban, are digital natives and they are likely to adapt to online offerings quicker and more effectively. Unlike traditional learning methods, Edtech offers bespoke or customized learning options that are far more effective for the modern learner.
As we move forward, it is safe to say that factors such as hybrid learning, access to newer technologies, innovative learning methods, lower cost of learning, stakeholder engagements at scale are going to be the key to sustainability for India’s Edtech industry. While the industry may yet face more ups and downs, it is here to stay for the conceivable future, albeit through constant innovation and evolution.
The author of this article is president, co-founder, TeamLease Edtech.