There is no denying that edtech has accelerated digital adoption across the country, but the degree varies greatly between urban India and rural India, said Vaibhav Anand, India Country Manager, ELSA Corp, stressing the need for more initiatives to bridge the digital divide in the country. .
During a panel discussion on the “Role of the edtech sector in making the education system more inclusive, Vaibhav said: “A large part of the population, especially in rural India, has been affected by the restrictions caused by covid. Students in rural India suffered learning losses due to limited internet penetration and few could afford smartphones and laptops”
“Data shows that the global average of students unable to attend school was around 38 to 40 weeks, but in India children were unable to attend physical classes for more than 82 weeks and that is a phenomenal number. This has a long-term impact on learning outcomes,” he added.
Vaibhav stressed the need to focus on a low-cost, highly accessible, vernacular-friendly model of education.
“To increase accessibility, it can be integrated with tools like WhatsApp and making it more personalized. There is a segment of rural learners who unfortunately haven’t had the opportunities that urban learners have had and they need to be raised to a certain standard before joining the rest of the club,” he added.
Vaibhav also downplayed the perceived threat of ongoing consolidation in the edtech segment and added that it would only create more efficiency in the education system.
“If you look at India alone as a market, there are miles to go in terms of the number of learners to be served in the school space which is K12 in the higher education space or the education space. adult learning. So I’m not so worried that consolidation is a problem for edtech, rather I think it leads to more efficiency and paves the way for more quality in the system,” he said.
Sharing his perspective on the review game in the edtech segment, Vaibhav pointed out that this phenomenon is not limited to the education segment alone.
“Edtech has taken center stage over the past year in terms of valuation perspective, but it’s not Edtech in isolation that has this valuation challenge. I think every segment – from food delivery to ride-sharing platforms – try to strike a balance between becoming highly regarded and providing a service of a certain quality that is accepted by the customer.If you are unable to maintain a product and service of quality to the end consumer, that will ultimately be reflected in your valuation, because revenue will take a hit, the brand will take a hit, and it will lead to valuation dilution,” he mentioned.
Vaibhav also expressed concern about the effect of digital fatigue on children and considered a mixed model based on the strengths of online and offline learning.
“It’s not as simple as going completely offline again. There has to be a mix. The non-pedagogical aspects of education, such as submitting assignments or assessment and assessment, can be done more effectively online, leaving the central aspect of education which is the transmission between the teacher and the students of the teaching and learning process which should continue to be offline. In summary, a nice mixed model with an understanding of what can be done better offline versus online,” he concluded.