Covid-19 and the consequent lockdown forced schools, colleges and universities to stop all regular face-to-face educational interactions between teachers and students. They had to move literally overnight to the online-only learning-teaching model. This entailed not only the proficiency of both teachers and the students in quite unfamiliar sets of competencies but also focused mitigation of infrastructural limitations like poor connectivity and low-end devices, revealing several inherent inadequacies of the existing education system.
Developments beneficial to the realm of information and communication technology (ICT) – like increased internet penetration, focus on appropriate skilling of the nation’s workforce and strengthening of the country’s digital infrastructure for education – had already sparked off some growth in the Indian educational technology (edtech) sector. The COVID-induced home confinement significantly increased the demand for online education as educational institutions as well as affluent individual families were compelled to provide for the use of information and multimedia education technologies to facilitate quality learning experiences for students.
In India, edtech start-ups emerged in 2020 as the segment with the highest quantum of finances having received – in just the first nine months of the year – venture capital (VC) investments worth US$ 1.5 billion, as compared to US$ 409 million in the whole of 2019. As per authentic research, the ongoing pandemic has triggered off a 3-5 per cent rise in free audiences and 50-100 per cent growth in monthly revenues of several edtech companies. Such growth exhibits that for the global and domestic venture capital and private equity firms, the most preferred segment without a doubt is edtech.
According to reliable reports, Indian K-12 online education is projected to become a US$ 1.7 billion market by 2022 with a growth of 6.3 times. Initially, the sphere of edtech was focused predominantly on the K-12 segment. Now, however, the post-K12 market too – which consists mainly of digital support for college and university courses, prepping for competitive examinations and corporate training in addition to a few other components – is expected to grow 3.7 times to be worth US$ 1.8 billion. The entire Indian edtech market appears all set to reach US$ 3.5 billion by 2022.
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