Aarti is the cofounder of Qin1, a platform focussed on English speaking, coding and personality development courses for kids from 6 to 18 years. A graduate from IIT Delhi, Aarti is a seasoned general management and strategy professional with over 6 years of experience spread across the Consumer Internet, Healthcare, Infrastructure serving organisations in growth, product management, business planning & investment management domains. Prior to starting Qin1 in February 2019, Aarti has worked in strategic roles in startups such as Lenskart and Housejoy and consultancy firm Deloitte.
India has around 430 million children in the age group of 0-18 years, many staying in rural areas. The education scenario in rural India is mired with lack of adequate infrastructure, poor accessibility and high drop-out rates.
To mitigate these challenges and to make learning more attractive and productive, India was gradually adopting to digital education with the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector. The pandemic changed the game and India was left with no choice but to adopt to online learning as the only sustainable way forward.
India has 250 million school students with a growth rate of 30 percent being added every year. India has 50 percent of its population below 25 years of age which provides ample opportunity for digital learning to impact its population.
With increasing internet penetration, rise in smart phone usage and India having the lowest mobile broadband prices in the world, digital education is set to impact India’s growth story by making the learning experience more engaging, inclusive and affordable and accessible.
Transforming rural India
India may have shifted to online learning as a compulsion. However, the pandemic has been a boon in making us realise how digital education can be effective in providing a personalized learning experience and make learning attractive.
The digital divide has led many EdTech companies to innovate and think on alternate methods. Some companies have done wonders by leveraging the power of WhatsApp, an easy and cheap solution which uses less data. Similarly, TV can offer a medium as well through dedicated educational channels.
India has around 450 million active Internet users and 700 million smartphone users spread even in rural areas. The employment hungry rural youth population has turned to EdTech solutions to compete with their urban counterparts.
Rise of EdTech Platforms
With the pandemic the education industry is undergoing a digital transformation and edtech which was earlier seen as additional inputs has come to the mainstream disrupting conventional ways of learning. The EdTech sector in India has more than 4500 start-ups today and is projected to grow to $30 bn in the next 10 years from the current market size of around $800 million.
The attractiveness of multimedia teaching tools, electronic class management, visual content development, the freedom to access it from anywhere at any time has added value to this mode of learning. Students across all economic strata can get access to vocational sciences, music, arts, sports, robotics, coding at nominal rates.
Today corporates are relying on online trainings. Schools are inclined to train their teachers to be technologically sound. The launch of webinars has democratized conferences which were previously accessible to a limited audience.
The recently announced New Education Policy which rests on the pillars of boosting access, equity, quality, affordability, and accountability and focuses on digital libraries, coding, multilingualism, online assessments and virtual labs counts heavily on digital learning to achieve its targets.
The government has also taken steps to increase digital learning like SWAYAM, e-Pathshala, Vidyan, National Digital Library and several other initiatives which makes it clear that online learning is here to stay.
In a globalised world, where 20 percent of the population speak in English, India needs to master the art of communicating in English to keep up with other leaders of the global economy, the academia, the scientific community, in almost every sphere of life.
The NSO survey indicates that the preference for English as a medium of instruction at different levels of education has been rising. The 2011 Census data reveals that English is the second most popular language after Hindi.
English being the official mode of communication for most organizations, many have signed up for online English learning courses and other self-improvement courses. Today, speaking in English is not seen an additional achievement but the need of the hour.
The English language learning market would be worth $54.9 billion by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 6.2 percent. Today the English learning market is dominated by China, followed by US and Europe and the demand surge is mainly from Asia mainly propelled by online mode.
Digital learning is here to stay and can offer a viable solution to bridge the education gap thereby bringing about a generational change to the Indian society.