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EdTech start-ups are playing a big role in revolutionising the education sector in India. More than 900 EdTech start-ups came into existence in the past two years and are trying to influence the $100 billion education sector in the country. In the past couple of years, EdTech innovation and growth have definitely helped students in acquiring knowledge about various subjects, connecting with tutors, getting guidance on subjects, either free of cost or at affordable price. Now, the key question is if it can help with good job opportunities?
The EdTech start-ups in India fall into three broad categories. The first category deals with the K-12 segment. This is the biggest segment and is valued at around $20 billion. Start-ups within this category help students with learning and scoring more marks in school. The second category comprises those who help students in competitive exams, in selecting courses and colleges and in getting admission into top colleges in India and abroad. The Indian test prep segment has got a market size of about $8 billion. The third category gives career guidance to students and professionals and helps them get jobs. Currently, the career guidance and professional training segment is pegged at about $1 billion.
Besides providing interactive and flexible learning and training modules from top course providers, the EdTech sector is also helping the students in getting better job opportunities. They are helping the students in three ways — career guidance, skill upgrading and professional development, and job placements.
In order to get good job placements and to be successful in them, students need to focus on these three critical questions:
1) What are the right career options for an individual given his skills, interests and aspirations?
2) What courses, programs, training and certifications do an individual need to take to fill the gaps and strengthen his/her career profile?
3) How does a candidate find and apply for jobs?
These are the areas where the EdTech platforms are helping students.
The career guidance platforms help students pursue the best-matched careers and courses. These EdTech start-ups are helping students in self-discovery and making them realize their true potentials. The platforms deploy machine learning, artificial intelligence, Neuro Linguistic Programming and various algorithms along with knowledge and expertise from subject experts (domain experts), career advisers, certified counsellors and psychologists.
There are numerous EdTech platforms that allow students to make informed decisions with career choices through various tests and assessments. The tests include psychometric analysis, analysis of signature strengths and goal analysis. The platforms use simple multiple choice questions to analyse the skills, interests, strengths and weaknesses of students. The assessments help the students make better career choices based on logic, aptitude, reasoning and abstract questions that identify their unique strengths and skills.
An student is more likely to end up with excellent job opportunities if he/she pursues a career that suits his/her personality, skills and goals. India has always been obsessed with orthodox career paths. But, these EdTech platforms are breaking the conventional, Indian mind-set that includes both that of students and parents. Some of the major players in the career guidance and self-discovery space are Mindler, CareerGuide and Stoodnt.
Skill Upgrading And Professional Development
The Indian workforce faces serious issues when it comes to specialized technical skills and soft skills. There are several players in the career guidance and professional training space that help students with skill upgrading and career advancement.
The EdTech platforms provide various courses, including verified courses from several reputed institutes (course-providers), and those delivered by industry and academic experts. Students can take basic and advanced training courses on Computer Programming, Data Science, Analytics, Big Data, Mobile Computing, DevOps, Cloud Computing, Digital Marketing, Statistics (including short courses on R, Python & Excel), Robotics, Foreign Languages, Marketing, Finance, Logistics, Management and Entrepreneurship.
EdTech platforms like Coursera, EdX, Simplilearn, Tynker, Udacity, Pluralsight provide several online courses that groom students and make them ready for the job market. The courses are either self-paced or instructor-led. Apart from certificate courses, students can also pursue customized Masters Courses (MicroMasters programs delivered by EdX). These platforms not only provide flexibility with modules, location and time, but also helps the students develop unique skills set. These platforms are thus developing alternative education and training opportunities for students, regardless of age, location or background.
There are some niche players as well. Purple Squirrel Eduventures is a unique venture that aims to provide personalized industry training across all streams. The Mumbai-based EdTech start-up is targeting an under-served market by connecting students with industry partners. They arrange for industry visits, field-trips, workshops, hands-on experiences and projects.
Communication skills and languages are as important as the specialized skills. EdTech companies like CultureAlley and Duolingo are dealing in this particular niche. The HelloEnglish app of CultureAlley, a Jaipur-based EdTech start-up, which also works offline, provides free courses for upgrading reading and writing skills in English language. Duolingo, on the other hand, provides courses on foreign languages on its online platform through game-style apps.
Stoodnt, a silicon valley based edtechstartup, focusing on career and college guidance, is launching a platform that brings together a student’s profile, strengths, interests to suggest the “star careers” and colleges, programs that can help them in achieving their goals, plus providing an expert guidance network that can guide and mentor a student in achieving their job aspirations.
Apart from career guidance and skill upgrading, there are few Edtech start-ups that are also helping students get jobs directly. Simplilearn, which started five years ago as a professional certification training provider, recently launched its value-added service called JobAssist. JobAssist connects the students with the top hiring companies for relevant job openings.
It would be interesting to see if any EdTech company starts catering to the Indian college students, aiding them in getting placements and jobs on their platform. The US-based EdTech start-up WayUp is performing the same function. WayUp, founded by former Googler Liz Wessel, is an online platform. The platform is currently being used by 200,000 college students to find internships and jobs at companies like Microsoft, Uber, and Google.
EdTech players like Simplilearn and WayUp are playing a major role in bridging the gap between the job aspirations and the skill expectations of the recruiting companies.