Aditya Malik, CEO and MD, Talentedge

2020 has been a watershed year for the Education sector across the world but more so for India. The naysayers have been silenced and the policymakers too have moved the needle substantially towards building an India where “inclusiveness of education” is a key agenda. We shall try to look at how the year went and how 2021 will be a year that will truly be a watershed year from the perspective of EdTech and its impact on India’s demographic dividend and growth in the future years.

Let’s look at some key shifts that happened in 2020 and how they have prepared the ground for a quantum leap for EdTech in 2021 as a nation builder for the future.

2020: The year gone by

  • It saw EdTech startups attract over USD 2.2 Billion in investments
  • The new National Education Policy got approved in July 2020. Opens the doors for Technology to play a key role in creating more inclusiveness of higher education and shaping of new plans to enhance learning
  • Birth of new EdTech players whereby the number of startups shot above 4500
  • New niche segments identified by players to cater to specific needs
  • Growth that would have come in a few years got condensed to less than a year thereby boosting acceptance rather quickly
  • Hiring in the EdTech sector far outpaced that in most sectors

So what does 2021 look like from a trends perspective to us? Let’s take a look.

Higher Education & Reskilling will be in focus: We forecast that the year 2021 will be one where the Higher Education and Executive Education sectors will see massive growth on the back of need for re-skilling for employees across industry domains to ensure they stay ahead of the pack and due to the NEP2020 which allows Top 100 Universities based on NIRF rankings to offer Degrees online. Let’s understand what that means. Under the new NEP2020, a learner sitting in Aizawal can get an Online degree from a Top-100 University based in say Delhi or Mumbai or elsewhere and be eligible for a government job too. This is the first time that Online degrees have been allowed by the government and it will fuel democratisation and inclusiveness of Education that has never been seen before. The fact that companies will need new skills for growth will fuel the Executive Education segment in a manner that will be unprecedented. Also, as a segment, this has seen significant growth in 2020 and this trend will continue as is visible from the fact that Talentedge as a company which is a leader in the Executive Education segment is looking to more than double its workforce in 2021.

Personalization of Education using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Let’s understand how learning works. The entire philosophy is based on learning through Visual mode, Auditory mode or Kinesthetic mode – now this is true for a child as well as any learner at any stage. In light of this, let’s look at how critical it is to adopt technology to personalise learning for each learner based on various data points that can be captured rather quickly and easily using Technology. With Artificial Intelligence-driven personalisation of learning, we’d see an enhancement in quality of delivery and in outcome-based education replacing just degree-based education. This will eventually unlock the potential of each learner and enable her to achieve greater heights.

Dual Degrees and Certifications will become a norm: In 2021, the learners will look at adding dual degree using the benefit provided by NEP2020 and looking at creating a wider repertoire of skills via Degrees and Certification besides their core degree or course they are pursuing. This is a function of consumer behaviour where human beings try to stay ahead of others in a crisis to ensure survivability and this will drive a huge growth once again the Higher Education and Executive Education space.

NEP2020 and PM-WANI can revolutionise Education and unlock India’s Demographic Dividend: The NEP2020 (National Education Policy 2020) and the PM -WANI (Prime Minister Wifi Access Network Interface) has the ability to take very high-quality learning to the remotest parts of the country and lead to unlocking to India’s demographic dividend which has hitherto remained under a cloud due to lack of access to high quality learning from the best possible faculty and institutions. This could all change as faster connectivity and availability of high quality learning drives adoption of higher education and propels India’s GER to well in excess of the current 26.3% which is abysmally low.

Gig Economy & acquisition of new skills: The GIG economy is here to stay. From Gen-Z to Millenials, everyone is looking at being a bit independent and this individualism as a trend will mean that people will continue to acquire supplementary skills to their core skills and handle multiple projects remotely or with a mix of remote and in-person. This as a trend will further accelerate the demand for executive education and higher education. Watch out for this one unshackling high-quality employees who turn into gig-workers.

Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets to grow faster than Metros for EdTech: This is evident even today whereby 45% of learners for Talentedge which is one of the leaders in the Higher Education and Executive Education space come from Tier 2/3/4 markets and not from metros. With quality education being available online, this as a trend will once again fuel massive growth for all EdTech players. Currently as per a recent KPMG report based on AISHE 2018-19 (All India Survey for Higher Education) cited that there shall be over 1.5 Crore leaners in the Open and Distance learning Model which will be catered to by the EdTech interventions by the creation of Live and Interactive learning by Higher Education Institutions.

Digital Learning will start bridging the teacher skill gap in India: India has a shortfall of over 5 Lakh teachers even at current GER of 26.3% as per AISHE 2018-19 if the TPR (Teacher Pupil Ratio) was to be at 1:20 instead of current 1:29. This shortfall is in addition to the skill gaps that exist and the growth that will be witnessed due to the increase of GER from current 26.3% due to online learning. The answer lies in Digital Technologies bridging this gap through the enhanced reach of the best faculties from the finest institutions using EdTech as the enabler.

Technology courses to fuel demand besides Executive Education in traditional domains: We shall witness continued growth in demand for courses in Cybersecurity, Data Science, Blockchain, Machine Learning and Product Management besides courses in Strategy, Leadership, HR and Marketing. This is based on two key observations – on one side, the growth in data means growth in need to mine it and secure it while on the other side, the fear of job loss and need to stay ahead will drive growth in the traditional domains.

Besides these, we shall also witness the growth of micro-segments in the EdTech space and outcome-based learning that will fuel even faster adoption of EdTech and prepare India for a hitherto unseen growth for the country and for the EdTech sector.

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