QUOTE OF THE DAY
“There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.” – Nancy Kassebaum
INDIAN EDUCATION TECH FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GOOGLE
Education and technology is becoming intertwined in the subcontinent much like in USA.
WHAT HAS GOOGLE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
Google began the trend! So much so that Apple and Microsoft are jostling to make a headway in the education sector as well. Yesterday, Microsoft announced its suite of new education products to challenge Chromebooks growing popularity in U.S. classrooms. So, what’s the Indian scenario like?
“In highly populated emerging markets such as India, the real need is for primary and secondary education, or what the U.S. refers to as K-12. But most of the attention seems to be focused on higher education; even the Indian government is holding seminars on how to attract foreign students to Indian colleges. Quality pre-college education has been left to the non-governmental organizations. It doesn’t help that education has been declared a not-for-profit sector.”
~ excerpt from a Wharton Article
OK, ARE INDIGENOUS TECH ENTHUSIASTS WORKING TOWARDS BRIDGING THIS GAP?
That is where the EduTech Startups come in. Take for example KleverKid. It is just one among “a spate of newly emerging companies addressing India’s primary and secondary school sector”, the Wharton article explains. On a year-on-year basis, enrolment in private schools have gone up. This fact is important considering in all Indian states public schooling is much cheaper. Tapping on to this growing trend, a lot of young entrepreneurs have emerged in to the education space. It’s a business model geared towards a greater social good and is expected to pick up more pace in the next few years.
WHERE ARE THESE STARTUPS GETTING THEIR FUNDS FROM?
In July 2016, over 230 startups from across five cities in India participated in two-day edtech entrepreneurship boot camps. Unitus Seed Fund, along with Sylvant and local partners like TiE, conducted the StartEdu 2016 event series in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. The camp saw 10 finalists who qualified for funding
WHAT KIND OF PROFILES DO THESE STARTUPS HAVE?
Most of the companies are geared towards school education but have different model plans. Take for example Plastic Water Labs. The company addresses the issue of ‘learning comprehension’. PWL is attempting to create a better learning environment by introducing VR technology.
VR is a great solution as its multi-sensory allows spatial thinking; since students are placed in an immersive metaverse, they learn and retain better by both observing and interacting with the subject matter.
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The solution is being built for students in Grades VI-VIII to understand science and mathematics better, along with the current educational resources. The VR lessons will be delivered over Android-based smartphones and can be ‘VR’ed’ through Google cardboard, on a monthly subscription of Rs 350.
India’s socio-economical aspect is a concern for those wanting to impart quality education for all. ToT Smart Education based out the State Capital Delhi is trying to do away with the stark economical divide among India’s vast population and bring education to the masses.
ToT Smart product line includes physical textbooks and mobile app for game-based learning (Pedron) along with a performance monitor. The combined offering is positioned as blended learning for schools. The company has already served over 400 schools and over 50,000 students.
Other startups chosen for initial funding include Entri, a plug-and-play test preparation platform, XPrep that is building a parent-tutor network for better engagement and communication among all parties concerned, Dost Education that is deploying low-cost mobile platform that deploys voice-based curriculum via the phone, allowing mothers to be better informed and active participants in their children’s’ education.
BUT IS THERE SUBSTANTIAL MARKET PENETRATION FOR MODELS SUCH AS THESE?
According to recent estimates, mobile penetration is counting a billion people with over 300 million connected to the internet and is expected to reach 550 million by 2018. There is a significant potential to digitally educate the masses. In fact, the past few years have seen a substantial rise in digital and live online interactive platforms at primary (and other) levels of learning. With the evolution of technologies such as cloud computing, data centers and virtualization and its integration with the education industry, education and coaching institutions are witnessing a rapid rise in enrolments and added revenue.
And with investors showing interest in the Indian Edu Tech Space, it looks like Google, Microsoft, and Apple might eventually have some stiff competition from Indian entrepreneurs. In fact, the trens kicked off in part by the success of TutorVista, an India-based business targeting the U.S. market that was sold to Pearson for hundreds of millions of dollars.So, we can safely it’s good to be a part of the EduTech boom in India. At least, for now.