NEW DELHI: Education is one of the most pressing problems that various stakeholders such as the government, non-profits, policy-makers, and entrepreneurs are trying to tackle. Entrepreneurs must focus on solving one challenge in a scalable way and that would be enough to drive growth for startups in the education sector.
Coaching classes still hold an iron grip on exam preparations, but this is another industry that could soon get ‘disrupted’. Traditionally, preparation has been associated with a classroom where a group of students is tutored by a teacher. New startups want to break the group study model, which they say doesn’t work for most students. Seeing the potential of edtech and using it for the exam preparation model, many startups have emerged which claim to prepare students competitively for such exams.
Currently, the test preparation market size stands at over 18 Mn students, with an annual growth rate of 20-25%. At an average ticket size of INR 10000, the market value currently stands at around INR 18,000 crore.
The test preparation market is currently dominated by classroom coaching which is highly unorganized and students are often deprived of best resources due to geographical constraints. Online preparation is an answer to this. The market opportunity in this sector is huge and the ecosystem is conducive to cater to online consumption of content and resources.
India has one of the largest education systems in the world with a network of more than 1 million schools and 18,000 higher education institutions. Added to that, more than 15 million students prepare for competitive exams (IIT JEE, CAT, Banking, etc) every year. With that number, test Preparation indeed is one of the most lucrative business models and today, there is a sizeable number of students and parents who’re willing to make that effort to go beyond traditional methods of doing it.
Securing government jobs is the best option considered by most of the students in India. And it has been continuing for ages. Students in tier II and III cities and rural areas tend to prioritize public sector job as it gives a sense of security, dignified social life and enhances the chances of getting desired life partner along with hefty dowry.
Ever since the government-service exams have gone online, the selection of students from Tier 2 and 3 cities has dropped down. It is not because of lack of knowledge of the candidates but due to the teething issues related to shift to computers. The efficiency of students fell from 65/100 to 35/100 when they shifted to digital mode, due to lack of exposure to computers. Many college graduates in these areas find it hard to operate a computer. The strategy to attempt exam changes as the mode shifts from offline to online. In an offline exam, all the questions are available at once, while in the online pattern you can see only one question at a time.
To gauge the craze of government job, just look at the number of aspirants for positions opened for railways. Of 90,000 vacancies, about 25 million (2.5 crores) have applied for vacant positions. It essentially means that 277 candidates competing for a single post.
While this craze must die to get rid of unemployment and prosperity of the nation, it’s an opportunity for tech-oriented education startups to thrive. Scope for companies who are helping students in preparing government jobs is phenomenal.
Online learning cannot replace the traditional classroom, it will definitely complement it with better reach, analysis, personalization and will increase the competitiveness of examinations by providing a level playing field for aspirants of small towns who were earlier deprived of best resources. Also, since Indian students are much used to self-study, a learning platform in India has to integrate well with the traditional classroom rather than being an alternate.