Global Edtech Surge: Bridging The Education Gap

The edtech sector is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6 per cent from 2023 to 2030 highlighting its high rate of acceptability and adoption

Edtech facilitates learning by integrating technology into education and has seen a surge of acceptance in developing nations. A World Bank report finds that EdTech interventions in developing countries, which are based on self-led learning and improvements to instruction, are the most effective at raising learning outcomes. Nonetheless, the sector is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6 per cent from 2023 to 2030 highlighting its high rate of acceptability and adoption. Of course, while expanding access to technology alone is not sufficient to improve learning, it is a necessary first step in most cases.

Edtech solutions transform the learning experience. It can be purely remote online learning or can be integrated into the classroom, birthing a hybrid model for more efficiency and impact. Some of the major forms of EdTech include:

1. Mobile Learning and Online Courses: These platforms allow students to access educational content from any location, making it especially beneficial for those in remote areas with limited access to schools.

2. Learning Management Systems: These systems enable personalisation of learning, tracking individual student progress and creating customised learning paths tailored to their specific needs. This individualisation is invaluable for students with different learning styles or those who need additional support.

3. Educational Apps: These apps promote self-learning for students who can learn at their own time and place. They can also be used to provide training to teachers.

With developing countries facing budget constraints, Edtech provides a cost-effective solution. Traditional education methods often involve significant expenses, from infrastructure to textbooks. In contrast, online courses and mobile learning eliminate the need for physical classrooms, transportation, and other resources, making education more affordable for students, especially those from low-income backgrounds. Many initiatives have successfully used digital educational resources in developing countries, distributing tablets loaded with educational content which are designed to function without internet connectivity, ensuring accessibility even in remote regions.

Education is a fundamental human right but when it comes to developing countries, it is often seen as a choice given the heavy investments. Often ridden with more pressing challenges, such as infrastructure developments, inadequate technology and political instabilities, education takes a back seat. It would do well however to remember the words of Silvia Costa, Former Member of the European Parliament, who said that “Education and training are an investment, not a cost”. Education is a crucial investment paving the way for better days, proving to be a catalyst in diminishing poverty, enhancing economic development, elevating a country's GDP and improving job opportunities.

The challenges most developing countries grapple with in an attempt to provide equitable education opportunities are a lack of resources, inadequate infrastructure, and a shortage of skilled teachers. It is here that Edtech proves to be a promising avenue in addressing some of the most challenging policy questions within education systems. Offering a sustainable solution to boost employment and lifting the economy by creating an educated and skilled population.

Advantage India

India has witnessed a surge in the acceptance of online education where hybrid learning has become part of a ‘new normal’. Today, there are approximately 4,450 Indian Edtech startups in India that are assisting over 300 million school students across the globe. Online courses accredited and approved by the Distance Education Council (DEC) of India are now widely recognized by employers. The Indian Government has been at the forefront to bridge any educational gaps with the Ministry of Human Resources Development initiating several online learning platforms that cater to various educational needs, from primary schooling to advanced technical education. The best example being SWAYAM, a platform that offers a repository of 1,900 courses, providing educational opportunities for a vast number of university and college learners and has seen users across 60 countries. The 'Pradhan Mantri e-VIDYA' digital education initiative assists students, especially those without internet access, by offering learning opportunities through television and radio.

This shift has been further propelled by the visionary approach of New Education Policy 2020, which emphasizes the importance of leveraging technology in education. India, with its vast student population and rapidly growing digital infrastructure, presents a fertile ground for Edtech innovations. The country’s large and talented pool of teachers who are well-versed in English, along with being experts in Math and Science, has been one of the major influencers for the global demand for Indian Edtech. As digital literacy spreads and technology becomes more accessible, the future of education & skilling companies looks promising, with the potential to revolutionize education for millions.

Looking Ahead

The potential of Edtech in bridging the education gap in developing nations is undeniable with cost-effective solutions, access to quality education, personalized learning experiences, teacher training and development, and elevating the overall quality of education. EdTech can play a pivotal role in shaping the educational landscape of developing nations. Edtech success rates have grown steadily to 7 per cent as compared to under 1 per cent through the conventional classroom mass-teaching formats. The Indian Edtech / Skilling ecosystem is highly driven and holds the power to place India at the top of the global education landscape while building the largest talent pipeline for the global economies.

(The given article has been attributed to Mayank Kumar, Co-founder and MD, upGrad)

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