Vinay Sharma, CEO & Director, Convergia (S. Chand company venture)

An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Vinay is an accomplished business leader with more than 20 years of experience in running P&Ls, leading sales/marketing and operations teams, and setting up new businesses. He has rich and diverse expertise in consumer, IT/Telecom and education sectors. Vinay’s current role includes growing the digital businesses as well as investing in Edtech companies in new education segments. He has been an active mentor and facilitator in the start-up eco system. He is also a Charter member of TiE.

 

The education sector has seen a dramatic transition in last two years, with students, parents, teachers and institutions scrambling to adjust, and continue teaching/learning despite the closures. Thankfully, it seems that Covid is receding and things moving back to normal. The key question is, what this new normal will be? So, will we go back to pre-Covid ways of teaching and learning? Or will the current online system continue, at least where it’s working? Or are we looking at a scenario of ‘Hybrid learning’? Given discussions with multiple students, teachers, school leaders, emerging view is that technology will stay, though the definition of such hybrid is still emerging, and varies depending upon which socio-economic class students/schools belong to. However, as we traverse this uncertainty, new models and new opportunities will emerge.

Going Digital

As the nation faced the Covid 19 crisis and complete lockdown got implemented, it resulted in the indefinite closure of the education institutes across the country. In this situation, technology became the saviour with teaching moving from a conventional model to an online model, where both teachers and students were exposed to new innovative ways of teaching/learning. Many schools and students who could manage infrastructure and connectivity moved to the online learning model, which needed tremendous learning and experimentation on the part of all stakeholders whether school leaders, teachers, students or parents. This also facilitated many innovations in the education sector with new delivery models, apps and platforms becoming popular. This has also transformed the role of the teachers as well.

In fact, the last year, 2020, was a golden year for the Ed-tech sector and proved to be a major catalyst in its growth. This is evident in the Indian Ed-tech start-ups seeing massive investments – a total investment of $2.22 billion in 2020 as compared to $553 million in 2019, according to the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA) and PGA Labs data. The EdTech market is estimated to grow at 3.7x in the next five years, from $2.8 Bn (2020) to $10.4 Bn (2025), at 14% CAGR over.

Online platform and experiences

The digital classroom has opened up new possibilities for doubt resolution, formative assessments, quick results and analytics, and have given access to many resources to even students of tier II/III towns. It has also seen a rise in the number of good teaching staff, especially in remote areas. Though, it wasn’t an easy journey for students and teachers adopting the new system but with the introduction of new applications and features, digital-friendly pedagogies, multiple modes of assessments, video-based learning modules, and personalized learning, in the past one-year, EdTech platforms helped teachers and students learn effectively in the new academic session. Some learning platforms have now also launched live classes feature based on the demand from students and parents, which enable the students to get more clarity on the topics by being face-to-face with the teacher or mentor.

Going Forward

Going ahead, when schools open after the pandemic, we will witness technology continue to be used along with physical classes, hybrid mode of education take center stage – as one that creates a robust model of education delivery and learning through an optimum combination of offline and online modes. This will also lead to creation of new pedagogies and curriculum which is aligned with hybrid delivery.

Moreover, it would need continuous support and training for teachers, students, for them to fully exploit the benefits of these education apps. We as an ed-tech platform will continue to work closely with teachers, students, and parents, to further simplify and enhance education delivery and improve learning outcomes.

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