Coronavirus lockdown has serious implications on many industries and sectors as people are forced to work from home due to the 21-lockdown period announced by the government of India. However, one industry is seeing a surge in the country due to lockdown.
Yes, we are talking about the e-learning sector. The lockdown has forced all schools and colleges to shut down and relay more on online classes so that students don’t have to suffer due to the lockdown. With this, multiple ed-tech companies are witnessing a surge as universities, schools, coaching institutes and more are shut down due following the spread of COVID-19. So, does the lockdown really helping them to gain momentum for e-learning? Or is it facing hiccups in the country? The answer is not that simple.
The growth of ed-tech is unprecedented!
With the following lockdown, multiple ed-tech companies are witnessing a surge. E-learning players like BYJU’s, Unacademy, Udemy, Simplilearn, UpGrad, Catalyst, Brainly and more witness a jump on different courses. Byju’s revealed that it is making all its learning programmes for students in classes 1 through 12 free until April-end. Furthermore, Unacademy revealed that it provide 20,000 free live classes for candidates looking to prepare for entrance exams.
Interestingly, online users who have enrolled with Simplilearn for courses on cybersecurity, Cloud, DevOps, AI and data sciences have jumped 15 per cent in March. Similarly, Catalyst Group, online learning platform has witnessed 30-40 per cent rise in admissions in the last two to three days and also the number of students regularly attending the online classes have increased. This has resulted in new energy in the ed-tech companies as they are trying hard to fill the gap between the school and students.
Students are inclining towards e-learning!
A recent survey conducted by Velocity MR revealed that online learning is a more preferable way of learning among students. The report highlights that the age range of 25 years to 45 years prefers online learning. The report further highlights that almost 3/4 of learners prefer online learning as the most preferred mode of training wherein, 1/4 of learners prefer traditional classroom training.
Similarly, as per a report released by KPMG India and Google, Online Education in India: 2021, the online education in India is expected to witness a growth of eight times by 2021. The report further highlights that the number of students adopting online platforms for test preparation is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. Students are preferring online classes as the internet and smartphone penetration has increased rapidly allowing students to focus more on online learning.
It also provides the flexibility of time and quality of education along with a better understanding of subjects through various videos, graphics, animations, quizzes and more has helped the students to opt for online classes as compared to offline courses.
But why it still faces hiccups?
The main reason behind online classes not getting picked up in a country like India is because of certain reasons. To start with, online classes do not provide social interaction with other students and to some extent, it feels isolation for the students. This will also dampen social skills, which is generally developed when the students go to schools and colleges.
Secondly, switching completely to the online mode of education is a far-fetched dream in a country like India. This is primarily because of the deep digital divide that exists between children from different socio-economic backgrounds. While, there are students that can easily afford multiple devices and subscriptions to online learning platforms with ease, but the majority of the students it is a luxury they cannot afford.
Children don’t have separate devices like laptops, tablets or even smartphones through which they can attend online classes. For most of the lower-middle-class students, the only mode of online education comes from the smartphone of their parents and we all know that you can only do so much on a budget-centric smartphone.
For those, students whose parents do not even have a smartphone are left behind in this digital divide. Moving on, the constraint of space is yet another issue. Children from these backgrounds have to share small rooms with their parents, which at the end makes it difficult for online education to take place. This coupled with a patch internet connection and lack of home broadband access to many children has become a hiccup for e-learning.