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 organization in 2007 along with Raveendranath Kamath, an IIT Kharagpur alumnus. Prior to Next Education, Beas worked as an entrepreneur, investment manager and consultant for around a decade in firms such as FreshPixel India Pvt Ltd, Retort Software India Pvt Ltd, PartyGaming LLC, and Infosys. 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 Bangladesh and Middle East and is now looking at expansions in Africa.
Digital education comes with tremendous possibilities both in terms of accessibility and quality. As the use of smartphones and the internet are constantly increasing, online learning methods are gaining more popularity. According to the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, the global education technology aka EdTech market is expected to grow to USD 40.9 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.3%, led by the seismic shifts in technological demands and innovation.
Breaking the traditional frames of learning
Traditional models of education dictate the frames of learning such as time and place. For instance, the majority of academic activities happen in the bricks-and-mortar confines of a school within a stipulated 8–10 hours of a day. E-learning does away with such frames enabling students to learn anywhere, anytime. Similarly, while books were once the chief source of learning, aiding only the visual learners, the EdTech sector has opened up a whole new world with the introduction of multimedia content, including immersive experiences such as augmented and virtual realities to cater to all kinds of learners.
These tools challenge the passive one-way lecture-mode of learning, helping learners to take a more proactive role with hands-on learning, flipped learning and peer interaction. Teachers have now become facilitators, monitoring students’ individual performances and helping them with personalized feedback/recommendations.
Digital infrastructure – A cost-effective method
An important advantage of technology is that it can provide better solutions at a lower cost. For example, the money spent on a printed book can be used to publish five odd digital books. Moreover, these books with embedded QR codes or digital companions can deliver four times the information and knowledge to the child at a similar cost. Besides, the recorded lectures of help learners who study remotely. It also ensures cost-effectiveness. Incorporating digital infrastructure in the classroom can thus greatly expand the knowledge of learners while keeping expenses at a minimum.
Introduction of digital infrastructure in educational institutions
In the rapidly changing academic scenario, it is imperative to keep technology as an ally for any institution’s academic as well as administrative development. The administrative sector could benefit a great deal from the use of technology and digitization, enabling tasks like fee collection, student and staff management, and creation of report cards and certificates to be simplified. Digitization also reduces manual errors, saves time and reduces expenses. With an aim to make technology commonplace in schools across the country, Next Education India Pvt Ltd has come up with NextERP, a digital platform working on cloud technology, which is today recognized as one of the best administrative solutions in the K-12 sector.
Apart from NextERP, Next Education has developed solutions like the Learning Management System and Next Assessment that provide learners with a platform comprising digital content and online assessments which offers flip learning solution.
These solutions come with one-time implementation costs and continue to serve the schools for years. Such academic solutions not only ease the load on the facilitators, students, and administrators but also keeps the process transparent and the communication with parents smooth.
Today, EdTech is an inseparable thread woven throughout the processes of teaching and learning. Technological advancements are gradually transforming education and making quality education accessible for all. Thus, we must focus on which ways it can be deployed best to support the myriad educational process in a cost-effective way.