EdTech to remain key technology theme for India’s education sector even after COVID-19 crisis, says GlobalData

With the country expected to maintain self-isolation and social distancing practices well into the month of June 2020, when the new academic year starts for millions of students, and a few months thereafter, India’s education sector is expected to witness continued rise in the adoption of EdTech solutions, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak had forced educational institutions in India to suspend their operations in March 2020, when the nationwide lockdown was brought into force to prevent the spread of the virus. However, continued rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and the lockdown extensions have left educational institutions and students worry about the continuity of learning.

Nidhi Gupta, Technology Analyst at GlobalData, says: “A large section of students in the nation have taken to e-learning platforms amidst the COVID-19 induced lockdown to continue with their academic and other learning pursuits. High smartphone household penetration and rising broadband connectivity in the country are helping drive growth in the use of e-learning platforms among students.”

This has proved to be a major shot in the arm for India’s EdTech sector with most of the EdTech platforms in the country like Byju’s, Coursera, Simplilearn, Toppr, UnAcademy, UpGrad, and Vedantu having seen a sharp rise in student enrolment. Various incentives offered by these companies are also attracting new users.

Byju’s, for instance, has seen massive surge in new users after it announced free access during the lockdown period. Apart from free access, EdTech companies are also modifying their offerings and introducing new features such as live interactive sessions, learning management tools and subscription based content, for students.

Gupta adds: “Not only has the lockdown period led to the steady rise in the adoption of EdTech solutions, it has also brought a significant change in perception about e-learning, from what was seen as secondary learning option to now being regarded as an essential tool that can supplement or even replace traditional learning methods, particularly in times like this when the movement of students is restricted.”

Not just students, even educational institutions have been proactively exploring online tutoring and remote teaching solutions from EdTech companies to enable seamless and uninterrupted learning and academic study for their students.

Many private schools have already adopted some sort of online teaching methods or the other, and are scouting for EdTech platforms offering board-prescribed syllabus that can be included for online classes. A major part of teaching for higher education in colleges and universities will also go online as they embrace digital capabilities.

In response, EdTech companies have started offering solutions specially designed for schools, colleges, coaching institutes and other educational institutions, enabling them to either create their own personalised platform or opt for an end-to-end online tutorial comprising free live classes and assessment tools.

India’s recent decision to allow some of its universities to offer fully online degrees will also help reshape education delivery in the country. A new National Education Policy, which the government is currently working on, outlines the importance of online learning in reforming India’s education system and encourages Indian institutions to not only develop their own online programs, but also to recognize online programs offered by foreign institutions.

Gupta concludes: “While online learning is not new to India, the COVID-19 outbreak and the lasting impact it is likely to create is expected to drive widespread EdTech adoption not just at school and college level but also for higher education, even after the crisis is contained, making it one of the key technology themes to look out for in the country’s education sector.”

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