When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, it derailed the entire education system.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, it derailed the entire education system. Schools and colleges had to be shut, bringing the conventional model of education to a halt. For a knowledge-obsessed society, the uncertainty was too much to bear. Students and parents were forced to adapt to a new normal of an online education system. However, with classes going digital, Kerala’s fledgling edu-tech startup sector began to grow wings.
The changes ushered in by the pandemic have helped many digital education learning platforms to grow leaps and bounds. Industry experts think the timing couldn’t be any better. Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Startup Mission, thinks the biggest takeaway from the last three months is that many local edu-tech firms could bring their brands to the market. “The monopoly of certain brands in the educational sector was no longer an impediment. If the product is good, traction is guaranteed.
If not revenue, many could attract funding. A lot of startups incubated with us managed to raise funds during the period,” he added. According to experts, the unprecedented situation forced people to switch to an online model, which otherwise didn’t have many takers. Edu-tech revolution was about to happen but the pandemic only accelerated it, they opine. “There is no saying no to technology. But the changes were supposed to be gradual. What could happen in three years, happened in three months,” said Mohammed Hisam, founder, Entri App, a test preparation mobile app.
Entri, which had 15 lakh subscribers in January, managed to double its subscribers in three months. Entri has also managed to raise `23.25 crore as capital funding in the last six months. Hisam thinks people have started to warm up to online education, by savouring its benefits, which include the best of the services at cheap rates. “It doesn’t mean that the conventional style will cease to exist. Online education will become more popular, taking over as the prominent form of supplementary learning system which has always exsisted in Kerala,” he added.
The seeds have already been sown with more people becoming aware of the possibilities of digital learning. “The amount we had to spend on digital marketing on platforms like Google Play Store has come down by 60 per cent. The growth is significant and the downloads have increased. I think we just got lucky during the Covid season,” said Prasanth Pillai, CEO of Toffee Ride, a learning programme targeted at primary school kids to help them develop strong fundamentals and better language skills.
Digital learning is indeed here to stay. If a nationwide survey conducted by a leading edu tech firm is anything to go by, 75 per cent of the people who took part in the survey said their children would continue digital learning even in a post-Covid world. Saji Gopinath thinks its eco-system is perfect now. “The last three months have been extremely beneficial. I think it will continue to be so. Once guides supplemented what we learnt from schools, which was taken over by tuition classes.
Now, it’s the turn of digital learning. Even niche learning apps like those dedicated to children with learning disabilities are catching up,” he said. “Teaching aids used by these platforms like visualisation, three-dimensional teaching techniques and games will make learning an easier and better process, thereby drawing in more people,” Saji Gopinath added.
in a nutshell
The changes ushered in by the pandemic have helped many digital education learning platforms to grow leaps and bounds. Industry experts say the transformation, which would have taken place in the course of three years, happened in three months. According to a nationwide survey, 75 per cent of parents who took part said their children would continue digital learning even in a post-Covid world.