EdTech Sector Trends 2019: As 2018 draws to a close, the time has come to reflect on the highlights from the Edutech industry. After all, India is expected to house the largest student population by 2025; a burgeoning 59 million shall graduate over the next 5-6 years. Then, there are extraneous factors such as disruption and automation that are expected to play a huge role in how education, upskilling and jobs pan out in the future.
The education industry holds immense promise, with a survey by IBEF projecting India to have the world's second largest graduate talent pipeline by 2020. The Government has been at the forefront of heralding change, launching policies that are paving the way for e-learning and reskilling. But a key issue may have gone largely unnoticed — how can this vast talent pool access the right jobs and the right employers?
There is a huge lacunae that exists in the space between jobs for freshers and the available fresh talent. This needs to be bridged immediately. While as a society, India is obsessed with academic excellence & upmanship (also known as ‘Sharmaji ka beta' syndrome), this sentiment hasn't exactly trickled down to the global rankings of the majority of its institutions, barring the IITs, IISc and some of the IIMs.
But excellence and academic aspirations need to be adequately backed up with optimum opportunities for the youth. Our system, is yet adjusting to the newer reality of India where jobs and skills are being debated as topics of national relevance.
So, what could the EdTech sector expect in 2019?
India's youth and the digital medium have one thing in common; they both have a lot to offer the country in terms of development, but are unable to reach the optimum potential in a country with scarce resources.
The current generation is beginning to see education and technology as one joint entity, with Government initiatives focusing on making way for a Digital India that thrives on measuring the efficacy of the e-learning outcomes. Making a sound digital infrastructure has various perks, including resolving the problem of India's inadequate teacher student ratio which still stands at a unimpressive 1:100.
As a result, the last year has also witnessed large players in the industry making waves in the EdTech sector, owing to projections that India is moving fast towards becoming the largest marketplace for graduate talent and this is just the beginning of the country's long journey into academic excellence, and lower unemployment rates.
While private tuitions are often suggested as an easy fix, they remain a very expensive and inefficient option, which Edtech applications seek to address by fixing the problem of accessibility. Technology is being incorporated extensively in Academia through institutions, placement cells, applications, be it in the form of Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning or Big Data, thus making it more cost effective and the accessible choice for the future of education in the country.
All the major e-learning applications are now jumping ship to gamifying their content as e-learning has its fair share of challenges. While education is now more accessible to the population that has accessibility to a decent mobile data package, it comes with a lack of supervision which ‘brick and mortar' schooling methods make up for. This ultimately leads to lower completion rates which is a necessity to boast a degree.
More emphasis is being placed by the government in research and development in higher education, with a future estimate of around $140 billion spent on this segment of education. India's online education industry is expected to grow eight fold, with a target of $1.96 billion by 2021, with the number of paid users rising six-fold to 9.6 million.This will increase the learning opportunities, and boost the global rankings of prestigious Indian universities, putting them on the map.
With the EdTech applications on the rise, a clear segregation between the target market has been noted, with more than fifty percent of these apps catering to the K-12 segment. While this is a welcome change towards targeting the educational proficiency problem at the root, there is a gaping problem in terms of youth unemployment. It isn't the paucity of talent that's the problem, but rather about gaining access to the right marketplace. There is an overwhelming need for recruitment, not just for students, but universities. This step offers the advantage of democratizing opportunities for both employers and students, making for a mutually beneficial recruitment experience. Getting them involved in the placement process the moment they entire the higher education standard gives them the upper hand when the time comes to be placed.
It is estimated that by the year 2030, India will have a gross enrolment rate of 50%, a step above the current 35.9%. This can be achieved by a culmination of the aforementioned as the challenges that are being currently faced in terms of infrastructure will become redundant soon.
The mobilisation of digital media, and education software development will lead the youth through the digital revolution and shape the workforce and workplace of the future. Given our vast populace, combined with the efforts of the Edtech sector, we have the potential to not just fulfill the employment needs in the country but fulfill the employment sector abroad as well, positioning ourselves as the service provider of the world in the 21st century.
Naman Agrawal and Pranjal Goswami are co-founder of Superset, a cloud-based EdTech Firm (Photo: File)