Beas Dev Ralhan is the Chief Executive Officer of Next Education India Private Limited, a technology-driven education enterprise, headquartered in Hyderabad. Beas co-founded this educational organisation in 2007 along with Raveendranath Kamath, an IIT Kharagpur alumnus.
Digital education comes with tremendous possibilities, both in terms of accessibility and quality. Online learning methods are now becoming popular, owing to the increase in the number of smartphone users and internet subscribers. According to the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, the global education technology market is expected to grow to USD 40.9 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.3%.
Digital education paving the way for new-age learning
Traditional models of education focus on the brick-and-mortar structure of educational institutions which primarily depend on the time and place of learning. For instance, in a conventional set-up, all academic activities are confined to 6-8 hours of a day. But, e-learning offers a plethora of opportunities to learn anytime, anywhere. Besides, the EdTech sector has opened up a whole new world with the introduction of audio-visual content that caters to all kinds of learners.
Digital education is thus making inroads into the education system and slowly replacing the traditional classroom model.
Digital education is pocket-friendly
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office, parents spend ₹36,000 on their child’s secondary education in government schools for six years and ₹3,96,000 in private schools. The expenditure increases with the level of education. But, digital education is always available online and is not costly.
An important advantage of technology is that it can provide better solutions at a lower cost. For example, the associated cost of education in a brick-and-mortar set-up is comparatively higher than the one-time cost attached to online learning. Not just education, the additional cost includes lodging and commuting as well. Quality education comes at a high cost, but with the advent of digital learning resources, students can access it at a much lower cost. Similarly, the money spent on publishing a book is almost equivalent to the cost of four digital books with QR codes that provide a vast pool of information and knowledge to the child. This not only facilitates anytime, anywhere learning but also ensures cost-effectiveness. Incorporating digital learning solutions can thus greatly expand the knowledge of learners while keeping expenses at a minimum.
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has had a negative impact on academic progression. When schools reopen, the operational cost will increase owing to safety measures and hygiene protocols, thus making education costlier. However, digital education does not get impacted by any such crises, and there is no significant increase in education cost as well. Considering the advantages of technology in such situations, the Indian K–12 education sphere is embracing the idea of online classes. With the help of a mobile, computer or laptop and a basic internet connection, students can attend classes from wherever they are. Online classes thus reduce overhead expenses in terms of commuting, hostel accommodation, textbooks and more. Moreover, the techniques to conduct online classes are simple, and teachers can easily help learners with virtual and interactive classroom sessions.
Another interesting aspect of digital education is that students can enrol in schools of their choice in any city across the country, thereby saving overhead expenses. Additionally, students can receive instruction at their own pace and in ways tailored to their unique learning styles and interests. This makes learning more enjoyable and productive, and also saves the money spent on tuitions or coaching classes.
Technology is providing schools with a great opportunity to make a smooth transition from offline to online education. EdTech has thus become an inseparable thread woven into the teaching and learning process. We must now focus on ways it can be deployed best to support the myriad aspects of the educational process in a cost-effective way.
More About Beas Dev Ralhan
Before Next Education, Beas worked as an entrepreneur, investment manager and consultant for around a decade in various firms. In recognition of his immense contribution to the K–12 education segment, CII (Southern Regional) bestowed upon him the ‘Emerging Entrepreneur’ award in 2015. He also received the Indian Education Leader award at the 7th World Education Summit, 2016. Under Beas’ leadership, Next Education has also begun to secure a foothold in the Middle East.