Dr. Salunkhe is a first-generation entrepreneur and has over three decades of experience in EdTech, HR and Banking in India and globally. He is recognised as one of the highly respected and influential veterans in the online education space in India. Dr. Salunkhe holds a doctorate degree in ‘Change Management and its Impact on Achieving Business Results’. He has done his MBA and LLB from the University of Mumbai. For his significant contribution to the education industry, Dr. Salunkhe has been honoured with numerous awards. He was recently felicitated with the ‘Education Evangelists of India award by ‘Great Place to Study’.
India’s EdTech industry has seen incredible growth after the unprecedented pandemic. The industry has not only bloomed and has also added four more unicorns, bringing the total number of EdTech companies with a valuation of over $1 billion to 6. A phenomenal outcome is that the EdTech companies have raised more than $4.7 billion in funding, accounting for more than 10% of the total funding of the year 2021. Moreover, in recent times, the industry has also attracted criticism, thus, necessitating to channel a regulatory ‘Self Code of Conduct’ to avoid tarnishing the overall ecosystem.
Now, a new policy for regulating the EdTech industry has been welcomed by a group of like-minded edtech companies that have formed a new self-regulation body. Yes, India’s EdTech companies recently adopted new guidelines to conduct quality business practices — India EdTech Consortium — under the aegis of the industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). Thus, sustainably contributing towards developing learning curve measurement and fair practices to protect learners’ interest. Setting up an independent grievance redressal will provide a platform that serves both students and businesses at scale.
The Indian economy has benefited immensely from the EdTech industry. From enabling quality education at home to meeting the ever-changing skill demands of India’s rapidly developing markets, it has proven its capabilities and strengths by providing students with an equal opportunity to learn and grow, benefiting millions of them across the country.
Through self-regulation, the focus should be on solving the various legitimate issues that can help the sector to scale and provide more quality education with all fair practices to adopt.
Edtech firms must ensure that only ethical business practices are taking place in the industry. For which it should focus on three major pillars. The first pillar should focus on transparency on information that is being provided through the advertisements. It should be more transparent and accurate, and not mislead the learners into joining the program. The second pillar must focus on emphasizing ‘upskilling and skill-building’ as key factors, qualify deliverable, handholding support for learners to engage using a virtual learning platform rather than placement. Today’s market has a massive skill gap; numerous businesses are searching for skilled personnel. If the focus is on skilling a candidate via excellent education, placements will enable as a by-product. The third pillar should focus on the delivery of the program which means the program should be strictly delivered by the institutions so that the academic rigour can be followed.
As we are in the middle of the digital revolution that India was longing for, it was the high time for the EdTech companies to recognise the prevailing problems and come together to find a solution. To ensure the future of this burgeoning industry and a digitalised India with equal educational opportunities, the government, corporates and edtech should work together to ensure that the quality of education should be at par with global standards with a motive of accessible to all at affordable cost. We hope that the code of conduct drawn up by the IEC addresses the grievance redressal to help the learners to study using the online education ecosystem.
As the industry people, we hope to see many positive changes that these regulations can bring to the industry. This two-decade journey hasn’t been easy for the country; the sector faced many obstacles but have yet to overcome some of them. We simply hope to see a brighter future for the industry, which has provided opportunities to millions of students, provided a source of income for lakhs of Indians, and contributed billions of dollars to the country’s economy.