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Expanding Horizons in Education

By Kamalini Ramesh

Online Learning

When Byju’s was founded in 2011, it created waves across the country. It provided education through the Internet and made it more accessible, especially to those who couldn’t adapt to a school-based learning environment.

Following in its footsteps other startups like Unacademy, Vedantu, and PhysicsWallah entered the education technology sector (EdTech sector). The emergence of these startups led to India becoming the second-largest Edtech market in the world after the United States.

Learning in India has been revolutionised by the introduction of learning material in vernacular languages, allowing students to understand concepts in languages familiar to them. Platforms like PhysicsWallah and Vedantu have used this as their unique selling point and capitalised on the demand created by students who study in non-English medium schools.

Edtech startups in India have also been instrumental in the introduction of experiential learning, using game-based technology to make learning more meaningful. Research has shown that engaging learners in games fosters creativity and a better grasp of concepts. A mathematical treasure hunt and physics through swinging pendulums can transform them from challenging subjects to a cakewalk. These companies have bridged the understanding gap entrenched in the Indian curriculum, which is criticised for being unable to engage students in hands-on learning.

The benefits provided by this sector, however, haven’t been distributed to all. The digital divide of our society has ensured that those without access to the internet and communication technologies lag. The glitzy advertisements and celebrity endorsements have created a desire in the middle class that cannot be fulfilled without stretching their finances. 

Major mergers and acquisitions have transformed this sector into yet another that is slowly losing sight of corporate social responsibility. Startups have forced their employees to put in long working hours to ensure optimum sales and jump at every opportunity available to promote their courses in schools and colleges.

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