The pace at which our world is growing, the day isn’t far when a concept as wild as hybrid learning becomes a reality as well!
If there is one sector in India that has gone entirely digital, it is education. From under-the-tree congregations to classrooms brimming with students (utilizing online learning using devices), the growth trajectory of the education sector in India has been fascinating. Edtech, though not a relatively novel concept, had significant growth elude it for a long time. However, the two-year old COVID-19 pandemic forced teachers and students alike to grasp overnight the new normal of online education, thereby resulting in a watershed moment for the Indian education system.
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]A NASSCOM survey shows that the edtech market size in India is projected to reach $3.5bn by 2022, as the concept has stepped outside of classrooms and onto corporate boards, laptops, and hand-held devices, focusing on content creation, pedagogy, doubt solving, and life skills. [/box]
Today, the key categories of education that shoulder the potential for significant online adoption are primary & secondary, test prep, reskilling and/or upskilling, higher education, and casual learning. It is these categories that have seen the emergence of various edtech platforms in the past five years. Every platform solves different issues of education – some are armed to upskill professionals to stay relevant in the job market, others offer comprehensive courses to prepare for competitive exams, while some help with supplemental learning.
Contributing towards holistic development
The growing population of our country translates into an increase in our student population too. India has the world’s largest population of about 500 million in the age bracket of 5-24 years. With the influx of students every year, the limited number of homegrown universities are unable to match up to the requirements, more so than ever because of the age-no-bar approach and the pace of learning.
Edtech platforms have thus emerged to bridge the gap between learners and the need for high-quality, on-demand education by personalizing content and adjusting study material to the preferred style of students, thereby creating a holistic learning experience.
Apart from providing continuous learning, these platforms have entirely altered the definition of a student; anybody can be a learner today, no matter the age, occupation, or location. Edtech has empowered students to learn disciplines of their own choice, at their own pace and time. With a focus on continuous innovation by incorporating self-learning algorithms, Edtech platforms are today helping the current generation of students by providing instant feedback through immediate results and real-time progress tracking; a ‘win-win’ situation for the education ecosystem (by not forcing instructors to be available 24/7) and their audience (students who need help 24/7). And so, unsurprisingly, 48% of students prefer universities to incorporate more online learning, with Indians being the 4th highest among other countries. 
For both ends of the spectrum
While the term ‘student’ instantly paints the picture of a youngster clad in uniform, the fact that we remain students even after graduating high school and universities cannot be ignored. This is where upskilling comes into the picture.
Research from WEF finds that half of all employees around the world need to upskill or reskill by 2025 to embrace new responsibilities driven by automation and advancing technologies.
Since the world doesn’t stop evolving, professionals and students alike need to stay up-to-date. The post-pandemic lifestyle has forced all of us out of our comfort zones, including those who felt stagnant in their 9-to-5 jobs and wished to continue learning for agility and adaptability in the workforce.
And, boom! Edtech to the rescue.
Interesting to note is the fact that students are just the one end of the spectrum. Edtech is today enabling India’s youth with opportunities in the ecosystem as teachers, mentors, counsellors, guides, and more, while ensuring learning and upskilling for them as well. A survey states that 21% of students view jobs as their main motivation for enrolling in universities. With a surge in focused edtech platforms, the supply has become as important as the demand, and that’s where I believe another opportunity lies for today’s edtech players.
The road ahead
Of one thing, I’m sure – as far as the education ecosystem in India is concerned, we’re not going back to the roots.
Neil deGrasse Tyson once famously said, ‘’The theory of evolution, like the theory of gravity, is a scientific fact’. This rings true for edtech, which will have to continue to evolve and leverage innovative technology to accommodate various changes and learning curves of the stakeholders. Though with the pace at which our world is growing, the day isn’t far when a concept as wild as hybrid learning becomes a reality as well! Because what might have been considered ‘adventurous’ in the past, becomes a necessary normal of today. For learners all over the world and, especially in India, edtech is already a blatant necessity if we want learners everywhere to succeed.
This article is authored by Vijay T S, Managing Director, Chegg India