EdTech and e-learning market in India is glorifying the gamut of education industry in India and is ushering hope for a better future.
Talking of India’s online education, it is crossing the confine of secondary, post-secondary and tertiary education as you can now find various kinds of online courses and modules for competitive exam preparation, professional skill enhancement and other non-academic subjects.
The KPMG report gives further information on the entire growth prospects of online learning market in India. It mentions that the expanding e-learning market is expected to grow by at least eight folds in the near future and become a $1.96 billion market. Also, the user base is also expected to grow by six times to 9.6 million users by 2021. With these stats in mind, you can better imagine the glorifying Indian eLearning market.
Though there have been significant changes in the education industry and we have moved forward from the conventional methods, we can still see key gaps and challenges in the sector. And we all know that the edtech industry in India will not be able to grow prediction numbers if challenges continue to haunt the growth factors.
Let’s take a look at some of these challenges that are slowing down the rate of growth of the Indian edtech industry.
Challenge 1: Insufficient Digital Infrastructure & Teachers
Indian government is surely making efforts in creating a sound digital infrastructure, however, the progress hasn’t been noteworthy. Clearly the reason for such slow progress are the related challenges.
As per stats by the World Economic Forum, one finds that only 15 out of 100 households have access to the internet and mobile broadband penetration is also low at 5.5 for every 100 people. This surely needs to be fixed in order to allow the full potential of online learning in India.
Further, as per the report by the Economic Times, poor digital infrastructure is one of the top challenges facing this sector.
Also, India is one of the countries facing a massive teacher shortage. This has had extremely bad repercussions on education in the country.
Challenge 2: Resistance to Change
The resistance to change and defiance from the institutions to upgrade their systems is huge. This is mainly due to associated costs for technology adoption and lack of data on its effectiveness. Although there is a huge demand for new methods of learning, it’s just a handful of them who are able to use it meaningfully.
From time immemorial, both teachers and students are accustomed to the traditional method of offline learning method so switching to a new form of learning is hard to fit in their thought process. Also due to the reason that blended learning is not well promoted as a practice for improvement. Even the parents have given up on schools for their role of comprehensive skill building for students; they have a rigid notion that the combination of traditional practices accompanied by tuition is the only way student score well in examinations.
Changing this mindset in order to give room to new ideas and accommodate an improved learning system is a big challenge.
The main obstacle is not technology or implementation. Instead, the issue is one of mindset. Educational reform remains top down, and the state/national level conversation is always around aggregate data that hides more than it shows.
Challenge 3: Shortage of Standardization, Credibility and Quality & Funds
There is a lack of standardization in most of the online programs and their formal acceptability, barring a few. In spite of this complexity and of course due to a positive response to online learning, today, one can find there are many e-learning players who are offering multiple courses on the same subjects, following different levels to certify them, applying varied methodology and assessment parameters. No one can deny the fact that the quality of courses also differ across different e-learning platforms as in most of the cases the online courses are designed and imparted by different instructors. These instructors are given the autonomy to design the curriculum. Most of online courses are yet to get academic credits, credibility and recognition in the fabric of traditional education ecosystem.
Also, the mammoth edtech sector and associated opportunities which require larger amount and number of investments to further improve the ecosystem has not seen the same in the last few years, except for only few big rounds. Failing to attract investments at a later stage of operation, edtech businesses die early.
Challenge 4: Free Resources V/s Paid Resources
Adding to the woes is another challenging situation of a plethora of free academic resources on the internet. Most of the students prefer going with resources which are available at no cost rather than the paid option. The companies are facing the heat of not being able to build a user-base who is willing to pay for personalized educational content. The plausible solution at such a case is to align the pricing strategies with the users’ needs and demands.
There is immense potential in edtech but requires change in mindset and fund allocation to experiment with the new practices to build a generation that turns up to be more productive, creative and employable. Please, let us know about your opinion through comments.