Before the advent of pandemic, digital learning was more of a privilege. It was mostly catering to tier 1 cities but that has changed now, said Akash Pillai, Chief Business Officer of K-12 learning platform 90+ My Tuition App. He was speaking at a panel discussion on the ‘Role of edtech in making the education system more inclusive” on Plunge Daily Twitter Spaces.
Highlighting the key role played by the edtech sector in changing educational landscape in rural India, Akash said the edtech segment has been able to cater to syllabuses of states as well as of central board.
“With the emergence of young startups, edtech is covering multiple languages. It has opened up new avenues when it comes to upskilling and pursuing professional courses. Students sitting in the comfort of their homes now have access to quality education. Edtech has enabled students to understand school curricula in a much better manner as compared to the conventional learning techniques. It has also eased the lives of teachers as they can now leverage technology to cater to specific needs of students,” he added.
Akash stressed that the pandemic has brought a tectonic shift in parent’s perception of online learning while adding that the digitisation has made the education system more transparent.
“Earlier, parents were not very open to the idea of online learning. They would ideally judge the performance of their children based on open house exams which happen once or twice a year. Now both teachers and parents are able to track the progress of the student more closely. It has, in fact, made the entire system more transparent,” he said.
Lauding the digital initiatives announced in the union budget 2022-23, Akash said accessibility will not be a problem for the edtech industry in the long run.
“The government is putting a good amount of effort into building digital infra and is also aiming at inclusive development. 5G auction has already been announced. It’s going to be a reality in one or two years, which means that people from the remotest part of the country will be able to have proper access to online learning. Bharatnet connectivity is another ambitious plan which is connecting rural India,” he said.
Sharing his views on the ongoing consolidation in the edtech sector, Akash said, it’s too early to expect any monopolistic environment in the edtech industry but stressed the need for more product innovation.
“Right now it’s too early for the edtech industry to go into that kind of phase. One of the disadvantages of consolidation is that it only addresses a single ideology and it’s unlikely to cater to all segments of population. If there will be smaller players in the market; newer ideas will come in. All these big investments made for acquisition should be utilised in product innovation,” he said.
“Funding and valuation plays an important role in ensuring that we are able to expand and reach out to the underserved segment of the population but at the same time, there’s been a concern in the edtech industry, when it comes to striking a balance between funding and profitability. Being a representative of my organization, we are looking forward to being a profitable organization rather than just being highly valued, he added.