Six months or half of an academic year is roughly the time that all educational institutions of India have kept their doors closed. A natural concern for their child’s education pushed the parents to shift their children to online mode of education. Most schools started running online classes for children, but Indian schooling has always been complimented with tuition classes which have now been replaced by E-Learning apps and portals.
Online learning was not entirely a new concept to most Indians. So, when traditional schools closed down, switching to virtual learning was an obvious choice. YouGov survey found 49% of parents are still not comfortable to send their children back to school, while 72% parents admitted their children’s dependence on E-Learning portals. 48% parents have reported to be very confident about their child’s ability to learn independently from an online platform.
When it comes to selecting an online education app in India, the choice is very limited. While a number of such portals were launched around 2014–2015, few became more popular than others. Byju’s gained national visibility with aggressive marketing much earlier and as a result, they are riding the Indian online education wave most successfully.
YouGov survey findings show that before and during the pandemic, Byju’s was the most popular E-Learning app used by 65% of students, followed by Unacademy and Vedantu with a user base of 30% and 29% respectively. Clearly, Byju’s has emerged as the sole winner with more than double the user base in comparison to its peers. The survey findings also demonstrate that the Byju’s app is more popular in Tier I cities with 75% students using it while in Tier II and Tier III cities it is preferred by 64% and 57% students respectively.
Interestingly the net worth of these top three edtechs of India is directly proportional to their user base. In March 2019, Byju’s became the world’s highest valued edtech company at a valuation of $5.4 billion while Unacademy was valued at $510 million in February 2020 and Vedantu had a valuation of $200 million in July 2020. Both Unacademy and Vedantu gained foreign funding just before and during the Covid-19 outbreak, while Byju’s became an industry pioneer much earlier.
The survey found 61% of the parents feel that the pandemic will hamper their children’s education to a very great extent. In the current scenario, when India has still not reopened schools and colleges, the momentum gained by online learning platforms is expected to see further growth. However, if the trend continues once students return to traditional mode of education, remains to be seen.
Parents are already worried about their children’s overall development due to increased screen time and reduced peer and teacher interaction. 43% parents have expressed concerns over reduced face time with teachers, while 48% fear the shift to negatively affect the health of their children. A large number of parents (42%) are worried about the mental wellness of their children.
Undoubtedly, the overall development of students is not only about education. The traditional educational system teaches students about discipline, sports and social interaction along with very important co-curricular activities that contribute majorly to the intellectual and physical development of children. E-Learning has not made any progress in any of these related fields as these apps are confined to imparting academic education only.
Hence, experts believe that the future of education would be an amalgamation of both the online medium and traditional schooling, which will ultimately make the presence of online education portals permanent with room for improvement and innovation.
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