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We’ve Reached the Zenith of E- Learning, Where Do We Go from Here?

The previous two years have without a doubt been turbulent for the students of the country, with them frantically seeking new ways to learn. Students in urban regions have resorted to EdTech, which has led to the massive boom in the industry. Online education has grown immensely in India, with the number of users increasing from 1.57 million users to 9.5 million users in 2021 at a CAGR of 44%.


EdTech is also reported to be a long-withstanding industry, with reports claiming that the market is set to rise to $11.6 billion by 2025. This report comes amidst the various studies that claim that about 250+ million Indians are attending school at various stages today. With India’s rising population, a largely growing population willing to invest further in their children’s education, and a global pandemic- it only makes sense that the EdTech industry is bursting with potential. With this growth potential, however, comes further speculation about the largely unmonitored sector of education.


While there was a steady demand for EdTech services in the country, it grew exponentially in the last two years. Two years has not been enough time for governing bodies to catch up to the exponential changes that have occurred in two short but defining years for the industry. The Union Budget changed that notion, with issues of accessibility, the impact of the digital divide on education, online safety, and so on being discussed thoroughly.


A Laser Focus on Online Safety

The first of the major concerns for the bodies present was the fact that the EdTech services remain highly unmonitored. There’s been a public outcry from parents and students alike to take steps to safeguard the information of the youth that is vulnerable when it comes to online safety. Several students who have access to Online education services are yet to be assured of their safety. In 2020, a major Indian online education service (EduReka) witnessed millions of student databases being uploaded onto unauthorized third-party websites.


Democratizing Education 

There’s a massive gap in what students in Tier I cities consume, and how the students of Tier II and III cities, towns, and villages access the very same information- if they have access to it at all. The severe disparity between education content and its consumption is a matter that needs to be addressed immediately. The Finance Minister proposed the introduction of eVidya classes. Televised demonstrations and one-on-one education content that could range from 12-200 channels to bridge the gap. These eVidya classes will be introduced to students ranging from classes 1-12 and will act as supplementary coaching to the knowledge acquired in traditional classes.


Additionally, a program called DESH E-stack will be introduced to help people upskill and build additional skills to supplement their jobs and find new opportunities based on the application programming interface (API). These courses are followed by payment and certification to help identify potential.


Introducing eLearning to more masses and giving a boost to the EdTech sector is a major step in moving towards a well-rounded and educated India. Having eLearning as the focus will help create a network of online universities and other electronic platforms that could be used to aid traditional learning.


Is India ready for the online-only revolution?

In 2022-23 alone, the Finance Minister states that we’re on our way to witnessing 75 skilling e-labs, with 750 virtual labs for mathematics and science. However, the lack of focus on physical education and schools is worrying as students thrive in offline modes of education. There are several small corners of the country that still rely on physical schools for their kids’ basic needs, and the growth of physical schools, or lack thereof, needs to be addressed. The education budget saw a minuscule increase of over 11%, from 93,224 crores in 2021 to 104,278 crores in 2022, falling short of the 6% that has been recommended for the GDP count.


However, the focus on E-tech and the reach of these institutions is commendable. With the reach of digitization, steps need to be taken to make eLearning more accessible. While reaching 100% literacy is the goal and eLearning is a tool to help disseminate the tools required to move towards the goal, it is important to note that access is the biggest issue when it comes to online education.


The National Sample Survey (NSS) report in 2017-2018 recorded that 23.4% of the urban households had access to the internet, while only 4.4% of the rural households had access to basic internet services. This indicates that while eLearning services are helping with providing education, added steps need to be taken to help carry the messages through a stable medium.


(The author Mayank Singh, Co-Founder & CEO, Campus 365 and the views expressed in this article are his own)


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