“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
The education sector in India is at a crucial stage in its growth. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the country has over 1.5 million schools, and is home to one of the largest higher education systems in the world with 751 recognised universities and 35,539 colleges. In spite of these figures, there is still a huge potential for the development of education in the country. Until the past decade, India’s education system was restricted to archaic, simple classrooms with blackboards and eight-hour school days. However, with the internet boom, this scenario is rapidly changing to a shift towards digital screens.
When it comes to being a part of the global online community, India is only second to China with 384 million internet users. With easy access to smartphones and reducing data rates, the emergence and influx of edtech companies in India have been nothing short of a revolution. Edtech has come a long way from using computers to teach subjects and has now expanded into interactive videos, mobile learning applications, online degree courses, and is even used by students to prepare for competitive exams like JEE, CAT, CLAT, and IAS.
As a result, edtech is now becoming the preferred mode of learning by students. Through easy accessibility and comfort, edtech is now bridging a massive gap in the education system. Here’s how it can further change the landscape of learning in India.
A shift towards a quality-driven education:
One of the most significant problems faced by Indian schools is the skewed pupil-to-teacher (PTR) ratio. According to an independent study performed by the Azim Premji Foundation, classrooms with a PTR ratio between 15 and 20 showed the best learning levels, while performance decreased sharply as the PTR ratio increased. Now, the statistics for the PTR at the national level for elementary schools is 24:1, while it is 27:1 in the secondary schools. This debilitates the learning experience students can get from schools. In this respect, edtech offers a fresh change by focusing on each student. For the first time since decades, the education system is shifting from just clearing exams to a more quality-driven education for learners.
Smartphones driving learning:
As more time is spent by people on their smartphones, the adoption of edtech has become inevitable. When smartphones are used for everything, from banking to online shopping, education is only a natural evolution. This has further contributed to bringing a new shift in perspective towards education. The availability of low cost and high speed of internet gives edtech no geographical boundaries. A student sitting in a remote corner in Assam can now attend online courses offered by Colombia, and this is only one facet. Smartphones enable people to learn on the go, an IAS aspirant can now listen to educational content on his/her commute to work, and can later come home to take mock tests, all with one smartphone and an internet connection.
Changing education in rural landscape:
One of the factors crippling development of the country is the reduced availability of quality educational content in rural areas of India. The influx of edtech industry is changing this picture by bringing nifty educational solutions in the form of online classes and course content. Many non-profit organisations are dedicated to providing the students in remote areas with quality education through volunteer programmes. Edtech mixed with “each one, teach one” enables lecturers and educational professionals alike to deliver online lectures to rural classrooms. Through quality education, edtech is investing in bringing about a knowledgeable and empowered rural India.
Assistance on test preparation:
One of the most recent and upcoming trends in edtech is its growing usage for test preparation and assistance. Be it any major competitive exam; there are as much as 2-3 lakhs aspirants every year. When competition is on such a massive scale, students resort to every means of preparation that can help them. Edtech helps students in saving time through mock tests, webinars, and video lectures. The online space is full of preparation content for every competitive exam, from medical and engineering entrances to CAT, CFL, and IAS as well. The advancement of the internet has provided access to these resources to students from Tier II and Tier III cities as well. When every imaginable preparation material is available online, aspirants hardly need to wander elsewhere.
The internet has shrunk the entire world into a single screen, and given the scope of education in India, edtech will continue to play a defining role in the industry. Unlike the limited knowledge offered by traditional learning methods, edtech offers students a plethora of options to learn in a stress-free environment. As the nation shifts towards digitisation, edtech is slowly redefining the way in which Indian students learn and in turn, widen their horizons.