Industry body ASSOCHAM released a report in 2016 which stated that India could take about 126 years, or about six generations to reach global education standards prevailing in many countries. The situation may sound abysmal, but education in the country is evolving at a pace faster than most experts would have anticipated, largely due to the impact of the Internet.
E-learning was first introduced to the world through the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) structure which was a massive success in the Indian market. A study conducted by Coursera and researchers at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Washington deduced that out of the 51, 954 Indian learners surveyed, 90 percent claimed to have benefitted from these online courses which were a better outcome than the global average. However, online learning is now so much more than just MOOCs; it is set to be one of the most disruptive industries in the country. Furthermore, gamification, AI, robotics, analytics and various other technological innovations are being used by startups in the country to provide a personalized experience to users.
How online learning empowers and enables Indian youth?
The Ed-tech industry in India is still at a nascent stage but is doing its best to tackle eminent problems in the Indian education sector, in an attempt to enhance learning and make it more accessible.
The job market across the world is set to change more in the next five years than in the last fifty and people are more aware than ever of the changing dynamics that technology has brought. India is blessed with a promising demographic wherein around 65 percent of the total population is below the age of 35. Unfortunately, unemployment in India is projected to increase from 17.8 million in 2017 to approximately 18 million in 2018.
The Indian job scenario is reeling under the twin pressures of layoffs and unemployment, primarily due to automation and decline in the global economy because of which the concept of a job for life has become passÃ©. Majority of India's young population belongs to tier-2 and tier-3 towns of India. Go to any of these cities and you will find that government jobs have always been the ultimate goal of the growing middle-class sector. In these cities, the charm of the 'Sarkari Naukri' continues to be intact.
With the steady decline of the private sector, there is a steady rise in the number of applicants for government and bank from metros too. With the rise in competition, comes in the need for specialized training for these exams' preparation. Unfortunately, the existing primary and secondary school education in India does not impart 'for-the-job' knowledge and skills required to clear these exams. This is where online learning comes in; it provides an affordable, easily accessible and flexible platform for skill-based knowledge to people of all ages and from all walks of life.
Women, especially from Tier 2 &3 cities have highly benefitted from online learning because of the accessibility and ease of learning that these platforms provide. In fact, over 80 percent of our total female user base, for bank exam preparation, is from tier 2 & 3 cities. The reach of online education ensures that youth, all over India, are getting aware of more and more skill-based career opportunities.
The increasing Internet penetration and a surge in Smartphone ownership in the market are enabling Ed Tech to rapidly expand its base to Tier II and Tier III cities and even some flourishing villages where a large proportion of the population resides. The National Optical Fibre network which aims to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh Gram Panchayats is one of the key steps that the Government has taken to establish digital infrastructure thereby creating a fast network; which is a boon for online learning.
The Ed-tech industry in India is still at a nascent stage but is doing its best to tackle eminent problems in the Indian education sector, in an attempt to enhance learning and make it more accessible. Shifting from the conventional student-teacher model, the Education Technology model has in itself transformed from a fun alternative to learning into an adaptive training model that can be used on its own. In fact, India is now the second largest market for e-learning in the world.
The major advantages to opting for e-learning are:
1. Students often have the option to select a personalized study plan, syllabus that meets their level of knowledge and interest at their own pace, and at a time, in their own native language.
2. Eliminates travel time and travel costs.
3. All students need is access to a Smartphone or computer and Internet connection.
4. Online education enables students, who work and study side by side, to multi-task easily. They can learn and practice on the go with the help of mobile apps and desktops in offices.
Therefore, it is no secret that E-learning can play a major role in transforming India from a developing nation to a developed one, by helping the traditional model of schooling to evolve from a merit-based model to one where skills are prioritized by filling in gaps that have for long been ignored.
Abhishek Patil is the CEO and Co-founder at Oliveboard, a leading online preparation portal for MBA, Banking and Government exams like CAT, SBI, RBI, IBPS, UPSC and so on. He completed his education at B.M.S College of Engineering and Harvard University.