Digitization taking the center stage post-COVID, as many as 86% of schools have shown keenness to digitize their ecosystem, finds a survey-based study by Indian School Finance Company (ISFC).
With a sample size of 1000 schools, the study is based on a survey conducted between June and July’21 gives insight into the schooling system of India following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The survey reveals that since the outbreak of the global pandemic, there has been a quick penetration of online learning with schools and learning institutes delivering/offering affordable solutions. From 40% in October’20 today, more than 70% of schools have shifted to conducting online classes in some of the other forms, implying online penetration of content delivery in affordable segments of schools has almost doubled in a year’s time.
A key takeaway of the study was that there is a marked improvement in nearly all areas now (as per June-July 2021 study surveying 1000 schools vis-à-vis November 2020- December 2020 study surveying 552 schools). For instance, 80% of schools were collecting less than 20% of fees till November 2020. However, the fee collection efficiency has improved remarkably, with now 70% of schools collecting more than 70% of the fees in urban and semi urban centers whereas even in rural centers the percentage of schools collecting such fees has gone up to 35%.
Another notable highlight in this year’s ISFC survey is that fee financing has paved the way for the education sector as the ongoing crisis posed a huge challenge on the finances of both schools and parents. The survey reveals that 80% of the schools showed interest in getting fee financing. Even amidst challenges two-thirds or 66% of schools have not retrenched even during the pandemic.
Further, the survey also focused on the number of schools planning to reopen this academic year. Even though there is a threat of a possible third wave, 50% of schools showed willingness to reopen in Q2 of FY 21-22 (between July, August and September). In fact, Telangana has already taken a lead here, as the state allowed physical classes in schools, following strict COVID-19 safety protocols. While 25% of schools see reopening of their premises in Q3 of this financial year, the remaining plans to reopen next year in 2022.
Speaking on the survey findings, Sandeep Wirkhare, MD & CEO, ISFC said, “No doubt, schools were one of the worst-hit segments as they largely rely on their physical infrastructure. A major ongoing paradigm shift is the adoption of digital approaches with schools embracing the idea of online classes as well as digitizing their infrastructure. The online classes are part of the new normal now, and a trend that continues to grow. This is a good sign for semi urban and rural centers where we see kids getting equal opportunity to their urban peers due to standardization of content and effective monitoring. We plan to focus equally on our school fee financing for parents along with our core product to fund schools for their infrastructure requirements.
ISFC is an education sector lender that caters to K-12 schools, vocational training centers, coaching institutes, and teachers (via personal loans) alongside others. At present, it aims to disburse more than $40 million to the schools by 2022. Besides, the company is also eyeing to double its partner network over the next two years while launching several new offerings, such as student financing for K-12, coaching, and skill development, through its highly focused digital transformation.