India has come a long way in the field of education. From sitting in an open yard and following a prescribed text to sitting in your comfort space and attending different courses taught by people around the world, there have been drastic changes in the system due to the constant development and innovation taking place in the tech industry. In the present period, the new forum of E-Learning has been rising among aspiring learners and it is enabling them to not restrict their education to a degree but hold many other verified certificates to a number of other courses that are being provided by institutions from around the world. Education today is not being imparted only by teachers of the institution a person studies in, but many other alternative options to the structure of schools and colleges have now started emerging thus posing a great question on the traditional methods of teaching.
E-LEARNING, THE MOST DESIRABLE METHOD OF LEARNING:
In today’s world students rely more on materials available on the internet than what is presented to them by their teachers. E-Learning is widely being preferred over faculty lectures due to its simplified content, effortless accessibility, and easy understanding. To define E-Learning, “It is a learning system based on formalized teaching but with the help of electronic resources.” It is in the year 1999 that Elliott Massie first coined the term E-Learning at his TechConference in Disneyworld. Digital Learning or Online Education, initially, acted as an additional facilitator to the normal studies that were being conducted in face to face manner. This method of study was gradually being implemented in schools and colleges to make the teaching-learning process more interesting and effective. The initial tool that was used for Digital Learning was the Smart Board.
An interactive Smart Board, also known as an electronic whiteboard, is a classroom tool that allows images from a computer screen to be displayed onto a classroom board using a digital projector. Using the Smart Board to display videos, graphical documents and PowerPoint presentations to teach a concept was steadily growing seeing the effect of it on students. The usage of it displayed numerous advantages for the students such as an increase in test scores, improvement in learning, boost in attentiveness and an increase in comprehension. Apart from the advantages for students it also possessed advantages for teachers as a medium of technology integration wherein the boards enabled teachers to connect any gadget such as computers, mobile phones, digital cameras and any other device that helped them in teaching.
A SAVIOUR DURING THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC:
Looking at the current scenario, Smart Boards transitioned into Online Classes being conducted by schools and colleges and apart from which, universities and institutions around the world are offering a wide range of certified courses. Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, schools and colleges around the world have resorted to taking classes online through video call enabled internet platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams etc. With an exception to online classes being conducted as an alternative to closure of schools and colleges, the world lately has witnessed a growth in the EdTech Industry. This sector is coming up as a preferred option over the teaching method in schools due to its numerous advantages and different than normal teaching methodologies.
The EdTech industry does not hold a proper definition because of its vast use case and constant evolution of technology from time to time, but as per Investopedia, “EdTech” (a combination of “education” and “technology”) refers to hardware and software designed to enhance teacher-led learning in classrooms and improve students’ education outcomes. EdTech is still in the early stages of its development, but it shows promise as a method of customizing a curriculum for a student’s ability level by introducing and reinforcing new content at a pace the student can handle.” The worldwide lockdown has given a great boost to the EdTech industry as they have now reached among the top sectors to have raised huge amounts of investment in the year 2020.
INVESTMENT AND GROWTH RATES:
According to the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association and PGA Labs, Indian EdTech startups have seen a total investment of $2.22 billion in 2020 as compared to $553 million dollars. According to the report, the EdTech market expected to grow 2x to $225 billion FY25 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14% FY20-25 as India is the largest market for education with up to 360 million learners and in FY20 and home to some of the world’s largest EdTech companies with a global marquee investor base. Byju’s and Unacademy, which are among the prominent EdTech firms in India have raised a capital worth $2.32 billion and $354 million respectively in the year 2020.
Talking about Byju’s, an Indian Education Technology and online tutoring firm founded in the year 2011 by Byju Raveendran, has a current valuation of $11.1 billion and has gained a huge customer base and recognition over the past many years. Since lockdown, Byju’s has added over 25 million new students on its platform. It has a total of over 70 million registered students (including the 25 million) and 4.5 million paid users. 40% of the 4.5 million paid students are from the top 10 cities and 30% of its user base are from the top 100 towns in India. Byju’s has so far acquired seven companies including Vidyartha, Tutorvista and Edurite in 2017, Math Adventures in 2018, Osmo in 2019, WhiteHat Jr and LabInApp in 2020. It is the first EdTech start-up to cross $2 billion in investments from as many as 17 rounds from 21 investors. The main objective of the firm being to alter the way in which students learn and to make their learning experience enjoyable, Founder and CEO Byju Raveendran states that, “This approach helps students realise what to learn, when to learn, how to learn and how much to learn. If students learn in the right way and if they like learning they will secure good marks anyway.”
Considering the growth rate of Unacademy, another Indian Online Education Online Company, it initially was started by Gaurav Manjal in 2010 as a YouTube channel that offered free education to whoever visited their channel. After a point, its founders began considering the prospect of gradually monetizing their facilitated services which gave rise to Unacademy as a huge learning platform with free classes. The company claims to have recorded an upsurge of 82% in its revenue in April 2020 when compared to the previous months while also registering more than 10x growth as compared to April 2019. During the said period, Unacademy conducted 1,20,000 live classes and 2,64,000 tests on its platform. As for the number of tests are concerned, it has recorded a 247% growth as compared to the March. The company carried out the acquisition of PrepLadder for $50 million, which is a platform that prepares students for medical entrance examinations such as National Entrance cum Eligibility Test for medical post graduate courses. This acquisition would strengthen the hold of Unacademy in the field of medical entrance examinations. Further, in the same month, the company acquired a majority stake in Mastree, a K-12 learning platform, for $5 million.
Artificial Intelligence has become a part of various other industries in the economy and their presence has nothing but helped boost the efficiency and effectiveness of that industry. Similarly, the presence of AI in the Education sector is proving to have a major advantage over the issue of Personal Attention for a student from a teacher. For over years now teachers and educators have been facing the issue of providing personalized attention to students and due to the lack of it individual progress of a student remains unattended. Every student has a different pattern of studying any material and grasping any concept. AI in this place, formulates techniques enabling teachers to better understand student’s learning capacity individually and which in return would help the teacher improve their teaching techniques.
Education right now in the Covid Era has reached a new level which is well challenging the traditional techniques and is gaining scope at such a level that with the existing pattern, further predictions state even better results from the EdTech sector. Not only does the sector promise to change the conventional methods of learning and teaching but it very well pledges to keep heavily contributing to the Indian economy.
Sakshee S. Shroff, The EdTech Sector of India, Ex Gratia Law Journal, (March 6, 2021), https://exgratialawjournal.in/blawg/children-and-law/the-edtech-sector-of-india-by-sakshee-s-shroff/.