NEW DELHI, May 17, 2018 : With mobile and Internet penetration increasing at a breakneck speed, people are adopting technology for driving learning outcomes like never before. From test preparation to vocational learning to certifications to tutoring, Indian ed-tech firms are now booming in all niches.
A significant example can be found in the UPSC (civil services) exam segment. In the recently announced results All India Rank 1, Anudeep Durishetty, shared that online learning was a crucial part of his preparation. In a segment in which it is a norm for lakhs of candidates to relocate to a major coaching hub to access quality teachers, such learning becoming available online solves a core problem for aspirants. In addition to students, teachers also benefit hugely from online platforms.
Traditionally, to extend reach beyond their main classroom(s), teachers mainly had three options. Travel to other cities regularly, use satellite technology such as V-SAT, or use video conferencing software such as Skype. The first two options are still limited by sizes of classrooms. V-SAT technology in addition to high infrastructural costs still needs students to visit classroom centres at a fixed schedule to access the classes. In the third option, acquiring customers has been a problem institutes have not been able to solve. None of these solutions was able to create a widespread impact.
This is where ed-tech platforms strike gold. Through technological innovations, these companies enable teachers to add online to their repertoire in one go. From helping create digital content, to deliver via efficient learning management systems, teachers can continue focussing on their core strength – teaching.
The smart companies in this segment realize that in addition to technology, and to attract students the platform needs to be student-centric. One such example is the online live learning platform NeoStencil.com. “In this time of technology, it was necessary to go online as well as ensure continued focus on content delivery and student outcomes,” shares Praveen Kishore, proud teacher of Anu Kumari (AIR-2, CSE-2017) and one of the over 60 teachers on the platform.
Many institutes are still able to manage content delivery but fail at acquiring customers. One such teacher, Mr Qaisar Hafiz, an ex-IES officer, a graduate of IIT Roorkee and now well known in the IES/GATE exam segment, shares: “We, at Engineers’ Zone, were doing online classes in-house but soon realized that there was a need of an expert team to scale. This was difficult for an academic institute like us, simply because that’s not our forte. Hence, we decided to join hands with NeoStencil and it has been going great.”
Ed-tech platforms such as NeoStencil, Superprofs and Unacademy operate as marketplaces in this online learning space. Some international counterparts of these Indian startups include now-established companies such as Udemy, Udacity and Coursera.
According to a report by Google and KPMG, the paid user base of online education is forecasted to grow 6x – from 1.6 million users in 2016 to 9.6 million users in 2021. This is good news for not only the ed-tech platforms but also the teachers as a huge pool of students who look up to them for quality education.