Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


Indian edtech start-ups find themselves amidst an oasis of opportunity.  Prior to the pandemic, the edtech sector was in a phase of transition and many edtech startups found themselves in dire straits only to shut shop eventually. Today, the scenario has changed drastically and many Indian edtech startups are actually doing pretty well amidst a thriving online education market.

Image source: KITABOO

Today, conversations with Gen C around live classes, online tests, gamifications, and school enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have become accepted. These conversations are in fact a critical part of a novel education system that hinges on innovation and creativity. Here, Edtech startups have enabled the creation of business models that challenge the status quo of conventional education approaches. Based on insights from Entrepreneur and aspirecircle, let’s delve deeper into the dynamics of the promising edtech business models in 2021.

SaaS tools for digital transition

Schools, universities, coaching institutes, and other traditional institutions faced enormous challenges as a result of the pandemic. To ensure business and learning continuity, they had to swiftly upload all of their work to the internet.

Startups in the business-to-business (B2B) space saw a lot of opportunities here and began selling SaaS tools to help with the transition. Exam assessments, real-time tracking of student performance, rapid feedback, and assignment management are just a few of the tools available from companies like Classpro and mPowerO Upswing Learning. These platforms have also facilitated the adoption of other edtech technologies by acting as a base. These educational institutes can thus use these SaaS tools, not for a stop-gap measure but a permanent digital transformation that caters to the educational needs of the new normal.

Bridging the skills divide

Today, there is a significant mismatch between schooling and the abilities that are valued in the labour market. Some skilling platforms, such as SkillLync, AttainU, Udacity, and SOAL, are cashing in on this. The ever-increasing gap between what industries expect and what students learn during their education has caused a global shortage of quality talent. The industry’s quick adoption of new technology has necessitated the continuous upskilling of experts and personnel.  Many edtech companies, such as SaaS giant Zoho’s “Zoho Schools Of Learning,” provide an alternative to traditional college education. These edtech firms don’t just facilitate upskilling but also cross-skilling. Hands-on software engineering, essential communication skills, and useful mathematical topics among other pertinent subjects are taught to students by these edtech companies.

With strong and relevant fundamentals, students are better equipped to deal with real-world problems.  Education has always been a dynamic medium and new-age edtech is better equipped to deal with a world that finds itself in the middle of a transition.

Enabling and empowering teachers

With more than a third of India’s 1.3 billion people under the age of 15, teacher shortages are one of the country’s most pressing and under-appreciated problems. Nonetheless, as compared to their state-run counterparts, private schools have considerably superior pupil-teacher ratios (1:31-1:37 in government schools). It’s even more of a struggle in the digital age as existing teachers find themselves struggling to adapt to the mandate for digital learning.  Recognizing this need-gap, many edtech businesses are offering teachers digital tools like student activity management software. Others are teaching them technical skills that will benefit them in the future.

For example, Classplus provides everything a teacher needs to succeed as a digital educator, including technology and business assistance. Teachmint is a Bengaluru-based firm that allows teachers to use their smartphones to create virtual classrooms. It lets professors to digitally take courses and interact with students, give work, and collect payments. Ergo, the focus of these digital tools is to empower teachers and also build a robust ecosystem of educators, where learning is experientially enriching and also novel in its approach.

Future outlook

With education being the most expensive item in Indian households’ budgets, the education industry in the country has a lot of room for additional unicorns like BYJU to emerge.  With edtechs, the paradigms for the educational sector are evolving into a more accessible, approachable, and experiential form. Edtech is opening up a whole new dimension of possibilities for learning and education.

This article is authored by Lionel Alva

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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