India is the second-largest market for e-learning after the U.S.
By Chandni Nihalani, Director, PayPal India
Education Technology (EdTech) has transformed the way people access and consume education all over the world. Today, learning has been made more obtainable, flexible, and personalized, enabling people across the spectrum to acquire new skills and knowledge anytime, anywhere. India has also become the second-largest market for e-learning after the U.S. With the increasing adoption of AI, ML, IoT, and blockchain technologies, Indian EdTech is expected to hold an important position in the global education industry.
The Rise of Online Learning
Indian EdTech start-ups found their way into the spotlight at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. But with restrictions easing in 2022 and educational institutions reopening, hybrid learning became part of the ‘new normal’. EdTech firms that adapted their business models to include hybrid learning comprising of online and classroom have not only survived the business woes of the pandemic but thrived in its aftermath.
Today, there are approximately over 4,450 Indian EdTech start-ups in India that are assisting over 300 million school students across the globe.
In line with this momentum, the Indian central government has rolled out several programs to boost the growth of the distance education market, besides focusing on techniques such as e-learning and m-learning. The government’s focus on bringing the digital revolution to the education sector is evident with initiatives under the National Education Policy as well as the Union Budget 23-24 that propose an improvement of digital infrastructure and regular training for teachers to encourage online and hybrid learning. While government support together with an impressive inflow of funding has helped Indian EdTech firms to thrive and expand offshore, digital payments have also played a key enabling role.
Growth Drivers for Indian EdTech
The boom in Indian EdTech can be attributed to multiple factors such as an increase in online content consumption, high penetration of internet and smart devices, and the demand for skilled professionals in the global workforce.
The fast-growing popularity of mobile and online content consumption, coupled with digital-first lifestyles, has created a sustainable network of digital users leading to a massive opportunity for EdTech firms. A dynamic mix of educational content comprising textual, visual, and video formats, highly appeals to this set of digital users.
As new-age technologies continue to permeate every echelon of society, reskilled and upskilled talent has become the need of the hour. For tech talent to continue to stay relevant, they will have to acquire new skills by unlocking the potential of online learning. This has also bolstered the demand for Indian EdTech.
An Indian EdTech’s success
The country’s large and talented pool of teachers who are well-versed in English, along with being experts in Math and Science, has been one of the major influencers for the global demand for Indian EdTech.
A pertinent enabler for Indian EdTech is its price leverage. For instance, courses in the U.S. and the Middle East cost more than three times and double, respectively, compared to India. Moreover, online post-graduate programs by Indian EdTech firms can be availed at one-tenth the cost of a master’s degree in the US. The cost-effectiveness of Indian EdTech, therefore, allows students to overcome the paywall between them and premium educators, and the virtual nature of this learning erases geographical constraints.
Simplilearn, a Blackstone portfolio company and a leading online Bootcamp for digital skills, has seen growing demand for upskilling and reskilling courses and certifications across geographies, fueled by the rapidly evolving job market. According to Simplilearn, some of the in-demand programs from U.S customers include Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, and Coding.
With an aim to make location-agnostic professional education accessible to everyone, Simplilearn has a large and diverse customer base across 150 countries in international markets including the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Over 60% of the EdTech company's revenue is generated from outside of India.
So How Are Digital Payment Platforms Propelling the Rise of EdTech Firms?
First, the digital payment platforms make access to online learning secure by offering a safe way to transfer funds and protecting customers’ data from fraud and theft. Second, they allow consumers, in this case, students and/or their parents, to make payments in different currencies, and provide options to pay as per local preferences.
The payment processes for school fees and online learning platforms are often found to be tedious and unreliable due to limited and traditional payment options. Digital payment platforms provide a simplified option for parents as well as professionals looking for upskilling courses as they sign up on EdTech platforms. PayPal simplifies the payments process for EdTech companies by solving issues from multiple parties engaging on the EdTech platform (parents, tutors, etc.). Furthermore, its buyer and seller protection covers both parties in the event of unauthorized payment or a product/service issue, respectively.
Digital payment platforms such as PayPal enable EdTech companies like Simplilearn to receive safe and secure transactions in real-time from their customers in different currencies.
India continues to be poised for growth in its journey to becoming a global EdTech hub, fueled by increasing reliance and trust in digital tools. The acceleration of EdTechs such as Simplilearn is testimony to this. With digital payment platforms offering an opportunity of easing transactions between EdTech companies and students, India will continue to contribute to the bright and promising future of the global EdTech industry.
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