In spite of the growing reach of mobile and internet access across the country and the expansion of the EdTech market, not every child is able to reap its benefits. In India, only one in four students has access to digital learning. Although EdTech solutions for virtual learning are growing, they are still out of reach for millions of families without smartphones or high-speed internet. However, there has never been a better time to utilize these technologies to close the learning gaps that have widened during the pandemic. According to a study by Azim Premji University, 92% of Indian children have regressed in their language learning and 82% have regressed in math. 

EdTech as a Leveller

A total of $5.6 billion was invested in India’s EdTech sector, making it one of the country’s major players. EdTech for primary and secondary schools represents about half of the overall market. According to the companies, they reach up to 100 million users, which is about 40% of India’s school-going population. These numbers have been boosted by school closures sparked by the pandemic.

EdTech can benefit India’s children because we have the products, the appetite, and the knowledge.  However, India’s education crisis cannot be solved with EdTech. Neither is it a replacement for teachers in schools. As a matter of fact, this pandemic has demonstrated the importance of teachers in education. 

How Learning Has Changed in the Last Two Years

The return of students to the school will require educators to create an environment that is both collaborative and supportive. It is imperative to change the way we approach EdTech so that more students have access to digital content and can become involved in online learning.

Over the last two years, there has also been a lot of innovation focused on removing barriers to access and usage for children from low-income backgrounds. Teachers watched over their students from afar, while parents took on the role of teachers at home. AI and chatbots were used by companies like ConveGenius to facilitate remote interactions between students and teachers and to support parents. These companies conducted weekly quizzes to assess what students were learning. Teachers and students would receive regular feedback in this way, just like in physical classrooms.

Bharat EdTech Initiative (BEI)

BEI, a collaborative of 34 organisations, is helping 117,000 students learn at home with the support of proven EdTech solutions. BEI aims to increase the engagement of children with these solutions by providing ways for parents and teachers to nudge students in their lessons. Programs like these, and the insights they provide on use cases and usage patterns, will provide the evidence for large school systems to adopt technology confidently. 

Our goal should be to continue innovating so that more children can benefit from digital solutions that will help them learn and succeed now and in the future.

Prachi Jain Windlass | Director, India at Michael & Susan Dell Foundation India

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