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How Techology Will Be A Disrupter In Tier II And Tier III Towns For Online Education Space

Poor internet connectivity especially in smaller cities, lack of awareness and mistrust in online forms of learning and so on and in spite of these challenges, the Ed-tech sector is doing all that it can do.

Photo Credit : Photo Courtesy: BW Disrupt,

The very fact that India is a developing country puts many things in the ‘still developing,’ category. Education is one such sector; is the backbone of every nation and in a country that has the largest population of students, the scope and opportunities are endless. As per reports from the HRD Ministry, India's student population in higher education grew by 800,000 in 2018-19 as against the previous year taking the absolute number of such students to 37.4 million. This number is further expected to rise in the next 2 – 3 years. Along with the traditional forms of education with respect to schools, institutions, colleges and universities, there is also a great demand in the online education sector. The country is home to second largest e-learning after the United States with an expectancy of growth to 9.5 million users by 2021. A decade ago, the scenario would be different but with the advent of technology and convenient access to the internet, the sector is witnessing a major shift and transition. While not long ago, the idea of esteemed education was limited to the metros and tier I masses, however, today we see a fast-growing demand in tier II and tier III towns and cities as well. The deep penetration of the internet and affordable smartphones has made it possible to reach out to the population that is still finding their way around technology in tier I and tier II towns of the country.  

Acceptance and adaptability play a major role when we speak about any section of strata. The first wave of acceptance of digital in tier I and tier II cities and towns came in as consumers started exploring tech-based solutions in their daily lives such as online shopping, communicating through video calls and learning from youtube. This helped build their trust and led them to further explore this field. The experimental consumer section soon turned in to the internet for every minor and major task. The introduction and spread of smart classrooms in schools helped kids see the possibilities of learning virtually and motivated them to try out new ways of learning and adapting to change. This helped ed-tech as an industry to grow from hereon and form a stance in the market to grow exponentially.  

Ed-Tech is not just limited to virtual learning, it is remodelled, and rebuilt every minute to build itself as user friendly as possible. The Ed-Tech industry has started using AI and bots to help fulfil every need of the students, there are functions like live chat wherein the queries are solved within minutes and help these aspiring youth learn outside their classrooms. While we’re aware that the exam preparations are highly competitive in India, students cannot sit idle and wait for the current scenario to subside. Looking at the current uncertainty, it seems that the economy will take 1-2 years to get back to normalcy. To make the most of this time, students, of course, cannot ignore learning and enhancing their skill set. They are looking for multiple ways to make this time useful and prepare for their boards, competitive exams and university exams.  

In this second wave of growth in online learning, there are also multiple challenges faced by students. Infrastructure problems, poor internet connectivity especially in smaller cities, lack of awareness and mistrust in online forms of learning, and so on and in spite of these challenges, the Ed-tech sector is doing all that it can do to reach out to these masses and help these ambitious youth fulfil their dreams, even in these tough times. Features like downloading video lectures even with less data and watching them anytime-anywhere, practising hour-long questionnaires with only seconds of internet usage,  facilitating cash-based transactions and code-based product activations through offline vouchers that are sold across bookstores, cyber cafes, and institutes, they are leaving no stoned unturned. 

Offline traditional coaching has always been the first preference for millions of students coming from smaller towns and villages for exam preparation. But today, due to the uncertainty of the prevailing situation, these students are on the lookout for alternatives to completing their education. Data shows their increasing trust and growing resilience on e-learning platforms which will see unprecedented growth in times to come. This could lead to the new phase of education where students shift to the convenient and affordable online mode of learning or use both offline and online modes simultaneously to gain maximum benefits. New consumer behaviour is ready to set off and create an impact in the education sector with the ambitious Millenials and Gen Z willing to take on to every challenge and compete for their best shot. The question is whether India is ready to adapt to this change very quickly using the technology prowess thereby harnessing the true potential of what lies with the young minds?  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house



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