Internet, cloud and mobility: Driving education innovation in India
Until recently, many students in India grew up rummaging through books in libraries or seeking out the neighbourhood tuition teacher. However, for current and future generations, things may well be very different thanks to the rapid evolution of digital technologies such as cloud computing, mobile innovations, and more wide-spread Internet connectivity. These are the crucial building blocks for education innovation in India.
By: HT Brand Studio
Educational technology, or edtech, is the pedagogy of the future, and the potential for its growth in India is colossal. The country is already on a path of great development, and while progress is on the horizon, there are a few obstacles along the way too. One is the lack of a personalised approach for educating the millions of students, who will shape the future of the country in years to come. Instead, too often, there is an insistence on a one-size-fits-all approach. Yet, edtech can bring forth different models and styles of education to provide a variety of advantages for different students and schools, and other learning environments.
India's booming edtech start-up scene
The rise of tech start-ups in India over the past few years has been well documented, and education is a sector that has garnered considerable attention in this space. GyanLab, for instance, is a new organisation that provides a personalised online platform, acting as an individual tutor for school children and supporting them on a one-on-one basis. A monthly fee paid by the parents gives the child access to the platform, with their strengths and weaknesses being assessed in real-time, which helps the child better prepare for the future.
XPrep, from Delhi, is another exciting education start-up. It is a tutor enablement platform providing a transparent link between parents and tutors through an app. It aims to bring new type of structure to the teaching and learning process, with an ongoing analysis and review of the students' progress. EduDharma, on the other hand, tackles the financial constraints that affect countless students, especially those pursuing higher education, but often younger students too. It acts as an online crowdfunding platform, where individuals can raise funds for their tuition.
Byju's is another very successful learning app that provides students with a supplemental school curriculum, in addition to training and test preparation for higher education. The company hasn't gone unnoticed by the rest of the world. It recently raised $50 million of investment from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan), helping to cement the company's position at the forefront of the Indian edtech industry.
Outside of the start-up space, Tata ClassEdge entered edtech in 2011 with the aim of innovatively using technology to improve learning outcomes for children through interactive learning. More than 1,200 schools and 70,000 teachers across the country have already adopted the Tata ClassEdge way of teaching.
Internet, mobile and cloud – critical foundations of edtech
Today worth around $2.5 billion, edtech is a rapidly growing market in India. Its growth is set to continue – not just because of a bourgeoning start-up ecosystem, but also because reliable, faster Internet connectivity is starting to become more commonplace across the country, especially given the way in which different mobile devices and other digital technologies are starting to permeate all aspects of people's lives. This digitisation is lowering the barriers for developers to come up with new compelling edtech applications, and enabling more Indians to reap the benefits.
David Eden, Future Technologist and Product Innovator at Tata Communications, comments: "More wide-spread access to reliable Internet connectivity, advancements in cloud computing, and a whole host of low-cost mobile connected technologies, will pave the way for growth opportunities not just in edtech, but across all industries and society as a whole. The World Bank estimates that just a 10% increase in mobile and broadband penetration increases GDP by 0.81% and 1.38% respectively in emerging markets. This means that if we see a 50% increase in broadband penetration, and a 30% increase in mobile penetration in the next couple of years, this would increase India's GDP by 9% – or $180 billion. Numbers like this highlight the huge role that digital technologies play in boosting the prospects of individuals and entire communities, ultimately accelerating India's growth in the global market."
Propelled by digitisation, the education market is ripe for innovation, with augmented reality and virtual reality the next technologies that are set to lead to the next big advancements in this space. Edtech innovations will transform the learning experience for children, young people, their families as well as teachers – driving positive changes in the entire economy.