Schools globally are facing an uphill battle whether it be combating learning deficits, infusing digital technology into the pedagogy, or revising curriculum to maximise learning outcomes.
Schools can and must reimagine the classrooms, but what role will EdTech play in making the vision a reality and how can it be better equipping the next gen India for what the future might hold. This was the topic of discussion at the panel discussion presented by LEAD -School EdTech - Solving India’s core Education problem, partnered by ET Now where some of the finest experts on the subject matter participated.
Sumeet Mehta, co- founder and chief executive officer, LEAD
Speaking on some of the leading challenges in the education space, Sumeet Mehta, co- founder and chief executive officer, LEAD stated that India has the twin challenge of both the width and depth. “Good quality education is just not available to all the students. If you are living in a metro, you have access to good education, but if you are born in a small town in a low-income family, the quality of the education that the student gets drops,” he informed.
Mehta explained that if India hopes to become a superpower, then every child needs access to good quality education, which is not happening now. “The second issue is that of depth. We have defined quality education in a very shallow manner, and we have reduced it to academic exams course,” he added. Success in school exams does not prepare you for being successful in life.
Though emergence of four Indian unicorns in the EdTech space has put India on the global map, we can’t expect transformation in India unless the Indian schools undergo a transformation themselves.
Shaheen Mistri, CEO, Teach for India & Founder- Akanksha Foundation
Shaheen Mistri, CEO, Teach for India & Founder- Akansha Foundation informed that the last two years have been extremely difficult for the Indian schools. “There is a need to reimagine the purpose of education. Education other than proving employment should also aim towards making the country and the world a better place to live. When we look at that aspect, we are so far in our school system`,” she pointed out.
Mistri stated the day someone asks the students, why they go to school and when they answer that their purpose is to change the world, then everything would change in education. “That would mean we need to change the curriculum, and the way we assess the children. Which would also mean many challenges, but I think that’s possible,” she added.
The Indian education system is pegged at upwards of $ 100 Billion and School Edtech is a $ 15 Billion opportunity.
Radhika Agarwal, Investment team- Media, E-Commerce & EdTech at Blume Investments
Radhika Agarwal, Investment team- Media, E-Commerce & Edutech at Blume Investments explains that the beauty and joy of EdTech investors is that the more products you build, the market size just expands organically.
“The supply of product is creating the demand as well. Post COVID, schools and colleges are seeing a big change in the way they operate as well. There is a huge opportunity for start-ups to work with schools and colleges. How to bring on better technology to improve teaching outcome is what most stakeholders are working on,” she said.
According to Agarwal, there is also a lot more focus on early learning, so you would also find a lot more products for kids below the age of 10. “It could be more of global products with the use of AI, VR. Use of toys which help in education or parents of children who don’t speak English or didn’t grow up speaking English, how you bring their kids to be in the same level of kids who live in the metropolitan city,” she said pointing to the emerging opportunities.
Major Harsh Kumar, secretary, National Council for Education and Training (NCERT)
Major Harsh Kumar, secretary, National Council for Education and Training (NCERT) stated that the pandemic has played the role of a catalyst which has accelerated the process of reaching to our destination. “The New Education Policy is an umbrella concept through which schools can help students who don’t have the means or the resources to access quality education,” he added.
Major Kumar explained that the New Education Policy is designed keeping all these points in mind. “Even before the pandemic when the New Education Policy was first announced, the government had asked for suggestions and the recommendations given by all the stake holders were duly considered,” he said.
Disclaimer: This article has been produced on behalf of LEAD by Mediawire team