These Experts Argue Why Revolution in Indian Education Can Come Only Through Tech Innovation Edtech companies can democratize education by bringing quality learning across geographies and socio-economic boundaries at a much lower cost
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Experts across the education and tech industries believe that contextual application of technology is the only way to make education inclusive, relevant and up-to-date. It is important to roll out more devices and integrated solutions that address the educational segment, they argue. Players in tech and education space all over the world are constantly on the look-out for partnerships and collaboration for content and app development specifically in the educational space. Bringing free world-class quality educational content for learners across age groups and their academic areas of interest is now the only way forward.
India is currently the world's second-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.21 billion as of July 2017 according to a BMI (Business Monitor International) Report. The wireless segment dominates the market and has also been growing at a brisk pace. India Telecommunications Sector Report November 2017 by Brand Equity Foundation states, during FY17-18, wireless subscriptions witnessed a CAGR of 21.64 per cent to reach 1,186.8 million.
Though many are sceptic about India's capacity in adopting tech advancements in a mass scale, Pradip Agarwal, CEO Heritage Group of Institutions Kolkata, is confident that India is at the threshold of digital transformation as the Indian telecom industry is growing exponentially. "Especially after the Honourable Prime Minister's "Digital India' initiative to create a digitally empowered society, there has been an unprecedented progress in the area," he proclaimed.
Tech-advancement to Revolutionise Education
Union Budget 2018- 2019 emphasised developing digital intensity in the education sector. The proposal aims at changing the teaching-learning tradition from blackboards to digital boards. According to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, revolution in Indian education is possible only through tech advancement. Considering the talent we have in our country, the recent budget also promises government support and motivation to these talents by providing an open arena for technology in education.
Till now, e-learning and technology led education was followed by private institutes where education costs pretty penny. On the other hand, the Government Institutes which provide pocket-friendly degrees were unable to provide their students tech-enabled learning, due to high cost.
Subha Das Mollick, Founder, Bichitra Pathshala - a society that aims to make learning joyful through the use of digital resources and make the students more critical consumers of media - argued that countries that have been using technology in education since decades clearly demonstrate how friendly their education system is. Technology provides you with an open space to do research, creating your own inventory of knowledge and helps you prepare for the international professional arena. It also helps in slaying all the barriers like carrying loads of books, misplacing notes, and missing out the lectures. Keeping in mind this issue it's now imperative to make the Indian education culture technology pro," she elaborated.
How Can Ed-tech Start-ups Help?
With the technological revolution across the globe, India has seen a growth in the ed-tech industry. India's ed-tech market is estimated to grow 6X in the next 4 years to $1.96 billion.
Edtech start-ups like Toppr are focusing on disseminating information across the country, making the same information accessible in both urban and rural areas. Through carefully curated expert video lectures, large question banks, and doubt solving through chat, high-quality education is now available to students with a smartphone and an internet connection.
"Toppr uses Big Data, Machine learning, and Artificial intelligence to analyse the study patterns of every student. Individual learning speeds and patterns are taken into consideration. Student's strengths and weaknesses are analysed. Students are then offered tailor-made learning content, helping them learn better," shared Rajshekhar Ratrey, VP, Educational Content, Toppr.com.
Edtech companies can democratize education by bringing quality learning across geographies and socio-economic boundaries at a much lower cost. "This ensures that an average subscription costs significantly lower than coaching classes. This low cost, high-quality structure increases the affordability of education for a wide range of economic classes," maintained Ratrey.
Tech innovation in education began with a few new-age companies tinkering with the idea of on-the-go assistance for K-12 students and those aspiring to ace competitive exams. It soon gathered momentum and snowballed into a phenomenon that solved almost every problem associated with the scenario – MOOCs, social learning, life-long learning, test preparatory platforms, those that help parents find the right tutor and the list goes on.
Ali Asgar Kagzi, Co-founder & Director, Genext Students, feels, the Indian education landscape is truly on the cusp of a massive revolution, one which is expected to affect every aspect of it very soon.
"Tech innovation hasn't just made it possible for students in tier 2 and 3 cities to access the best of academic training that would otherwise only be available in metros; it is also making it possible for students across geographies and social demographics to enhance their learning outcomes. Tutors and teachers are being powered with tools that can help them deliver more personalised education and also update parents and students about progress in real time," he shared.
Interestingly, technology is also making it possible for those with a passion for teaching to make a good living out of the same. While earlier, tutoring and teaching weren't really considered lucrative career choices, tech innovation is quickly altering the scheme of things. This has ensured that good quality teachers who had refrained from the profession earlier are now taking to it with gusto.
All of this is, cumulatively, contributing to a vastly improved education scene in the country with a heightened level of quality education, more engaged students and deeper penetration across socio-economic and geographical levels. However, the true potential of ed-tech's capacity to revolutionise education in India is still largely untapped. Edu-tech start-ups are on the path to change this in the very near future.