India has one of the largest formal education systems in the world and plays a significant role in the global education industry. Online education is increasingly adopted over the past few years because of its scalability and ease of use. As most of the companies are looking to hire skilled workforce rather than bulk manpower, job market candidates are in search of various online certification courses to upgrade their skills set. Also, school & college students can make use of online learning to clarify the concepts as they get personalised attention. These factors have made the edtech companies increase their customer base by offering a wide range of courses online.
The Online Education Industry in India can be segmented as;
The Online Education Industry in India was valued around INR 81 billion in 2020 and expected to reach INR 360 billion by 2024 with a CAGR of 45.20%.
The Online Education Industry in India is highly fragmented with various players across segments. Approximately there are more than 3,500 Edtech companies in India. However, the industry is dominated by a couple of well known players across various segments. BYJU’s remains the most popular platform for online learning among school students. While for competitive exams preparation, people prefer Unacademy. Other players include Vedantu, Udemy and Topper. Online education is still an untapped market in India and we expect more players to enter the market in the upcoming days.
Online education courses are more affordable than in-class education as most of the courses are available for a minor cost or free. As online education requires only a smartphone or a computer, students save on transportation cost, accommodation and other miscellaneous costs unlike traditional education systems.
In recent years, India is witnessing an increasing internet usage. It is estimated that 50% of the population in India has access to the internet in 2020 and this is expected to increase in the upcoming years. The internet penetration rate in India will be a major demand driver for online education.
Approximately 46% of India's population is between the ages of 15-40 which makes them a more favourable target audience for online education providers. Internet acceptance rate is relatively high in this young age group making online education attractive.
The flexibility provided by online learning over conventional education makes it more attractive to learners. Online education provides students with full control and accountability over time and modules to learn. Recorded sessions allow students to view the entire lecture at their own convenience to better understand the concepts.
The government of India has introduced various initiatives to further improve the quality and needed infrastructure such as SWAYAM, Digital India, Skill India, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan etc. The government is also in discussions with all the open universities in the country to encourage online education to a mass audience.
Abundance of free tutorials on youtube and other online platforms pose a major challenge for online paid-course providers as people are more attracted to free contents.
Though India has a rick geographical and cultural diversity there still exists a socio-economic divide. People living in the interior parts still suffer from interrupted power supply, unaffordability of necessary devices and low or no internet connectivity are primary concerns for the online education system in the country.
Despite online education seeing an increasing growth, it is still viewed as an ancillary to offline/in-class education structure in India. People are ambiguous about the quality/skills of teachers in online education and this presents a barrier to growth for edtech companies in the country.
Not all the modules/contents are available in regional languages. People studying in their regional languages are at a disadvantage. Making content available in all the 22 Indian languages is still a huge challenge for Edtech companies.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruptions by rupturing all the industries and hindering the economic growth of the country. To control the spread of the virus the government of India called for a complete lockdown. This brought the entire education system of the country to a standstill as schools and colleges were forced to shut. The pandemic has left people with no choice other than to turn toward online learning. At the initial stage schools and colleges found it difficult to shift to online space, eventually they improved their infrastructure to educate the students. Contrastingly, people living in areas without internet connectivity and students attending poorly equipped government schools were greatly affected as they were not able to transition to digital learning. Despite the efforts taken by the government, it failed to make education accessible to every class of people across the country.
The covid19 pandemic has completely transformed the education system in the country. While the e-commerce industry took a decade to encourage people to shop online, the Edtech industry in India on-boarded a larger audience into their digital platforms almost overnight. By receiving billions of dollars in funding in 2020 edtech companies were growing like never before. Although the pandemic has revealed the flaws in the education system of India it also opened opportunities for growth. There is no doubt that edtech companies flourished during the pandemic and will in the future. We expect more players to enter the industry which might increase the competition.