How SaaS-based service providers are contributing to India's Ed-tech growth
The EdTech market has tremendously grown over the past few years, with innovations in AI, ML and smart learning tools already catering to STEM education approach
Technology innovations that have helped businesses go digital have been the saving grace of the pandemic. Even as more and more sectors make the jump to the digital domain, SaaS providers are expanding their reach and creating customized solutions for various sectors, including education. The EdTech market has tremendously grown over the past few years, with innovations in AI, ML and smart learning tools already catering to STEM education approach. The pandemic has further accelerated this growth, with increasing number of schools turning to Ed-tech platforms to ensure continuous education.
Apart from ongoing education, digital adoption is also helping schools and education institutes automate and mange other functions, including data management, administration, teacher-parent engagement as well as teacher assessment and performance monitoring, revenue collection and much more! For professionals and adults across age groups, Ed-tech is opening up doors to learn new hobbies or to upgrade relevant career skills, thus re-inventing the entire learning process.
And the above transformations have been driven by enthusiastic SaaS based service providers who stepped up to meet the demand with customized innovations. Here are some key innovations by SaaS providers that are transforming Edtech.
- Remote Learning: From customized platforms for secure virtual classrooms to advanced remote learning options, SaaS providers have created various options for teachers and students to interact seamlessly. Whats more, making these tech enabled processes simple, easily accessible by parents and teachers and making it friendly for non-English speaking population, have been key factors that helped wider adoption of these ed-tech tools. With facilities like easy upload of recorded videos, playbacks and real time/ live classrooms, SaaS-based Education Technology now facilitates the availability of courses and its learning material to students and helps them overcome their geographical limitations
- School Management: Although physical classes are suspended, a school/ educational institute functions on various levels and requires a meticulous administrative hand. From managing records, attendance data, school curriculum and extra-curriculum syllabus, to teachers records, accounts, managing the infrastructure, fees and revenue for the upkeep of the physical infrastructure, are all tedious and time consuming tasks, which become challenging in the times of staff scarcity due to lockdown. Automated school management system helps address all these concerns by bringing them on the digital platform. Managing all of these features through a single window operation, often customized for the specific institute, has helped several schools to handle this effortlessly.
- Value Added learning tools: Providing differentiation and value-added tools such as Online tutoring, Assessment, performance analysis & management of studies and attendance etc., has been a major contribution of Ed-tech, especially during the pandemic. In fact, one of the key growth factors in Ed-tech during the pandemic has been the innovation in the value added segments, which go beyond just learning tools. Assisted learning tools, AI and ML powered processes earlier comprised of a large part of Ed-Tech before the pandemic. Now, the value added services, including data analytics and management, form an considerable portion, if not equal to the learning technology tools.
- Teacher training: As much as Ed-tech is about teaching students, it has also evolved as an important tool for professionals, seeking to upgrade their skills or to acquire a new hobby or work related expertise. On the same lines, recent Ed-tech innovations have helped focus on the yet neglected aspect of teacher training and skill enhancement. While most teachers are trained during their preparatory phase as young professionals, their training rarely goes beyond and update about their own subject. With the new formats of teaching and the widespread use of technology that is integrating soon with conventional methods of teaching, there has been a dire need for up skilling teachers with the new techniques. SaaS providers have helped create innovations that focus on this particular segment and are helping train teachers gain a better understanding about various Ed-tech tools.
Even as the fate of physical classrooms remain uncertain, given the ongoing rise of the virus, schools and educational institutes across the country are more than getting used to the new normal of virtual classrooms and ‘learn from home’ formats. The availability of smart devices, faster internet broadband connections and presence of parents to guide and supervise students throughout the learning processes, have been major enablers. While Ed-tech start-ups and SaaS providers working in the Ed-tech space continue to prosper and attract Angel/VC funding opportunities, parents, teachers and students are also easing in to the idea of tech driven processes for new age learning.
An IIM-Kolkata alumni, Ashish founded uFony, the parent company for School Dairy, in Pune. uFony, meant to rhyme with “euphony” - meaning a pleasing sound, created its first product, the School Diary App, in 2012, as a specifically designed technology solution for the education sector, aimed to simplify and streamline the parent-teacher communication.
Prior to uFony, Ashish spent 9 years in a corporate role, working across technology, business development, and planning across sectors, including the IT services and CPG industry. He was also a part of the Global Program Management team, where he managed a 50+ MUSD transformational program comprising of 400+ resources distributed across Europe, US, India and China for P&G. Having worked with some of the leading Indian and International brands, including Infosys, AT&T, P&G and Veizon(USA), Ashish gained immense insights in working with multicultural teams and acquiring hands on expertise, across business domains. All of these learnings he carefully imbibed so as to eventually implement some of the world’s best practices, in his own business venture. His goal had always been to start his own venture one day and enable creation of at least 10,000 jobs – a milestone he is very close to achieving!
School Diary has been a success since its launch in 2012. What started with one school in Pune is now a family of 201K+ app users, across 709+ schools, pre-schools and day care centers, spread in 9+ countries. The App, designed to create a one stop communication platform, accessible on iOS, Android, Windows smartphones and Windows 10 tablet, desktops and over browsers, has been effective in bridging the parent teacher information divide. With customized, innovative and simple solution, the app has created an easy and engaging interface that could help both parents and teachers to be on the same page, when it came to a child’s education.
In addition to School Diary®, Ashish is also the founder of Daycarez® & Zoment™.