Within the US$ 1T consumer spend (including expenses and expenditure, Praxis estimates), Education constitutes a good ten percent of total spend in India. This spend has largely been on schools, tutoring & coaching centers, test preparation centers, books and periodicals, and such. The Digital penetration is less than 0.25% but is showing strong signs of inflection.
Education has been one of the last consumer verticals to adopt technology but with the mobile devices now ubiquitous and mobile data extremely cheap, this might be changing dramatically.
One of the reports suggested that within an year, Chinese students buying educational products or service online jumped from 26% to 75%. We believe this will happen in India as well, given how similar the examination and qualification systems in the two countries are.
We see five secular trends accelerating this usage in India:
- Increased acceptance of spending beyond the curriculum leading to expanded Life Time Value (LTV): Parents with kids in grades 5-8 and students in grades 9-12 are conscious of building practical understanding of concepts as a means to succeed in exams and competitive tests. There is increased interest in topics like robotics, analytics, mobile applications, and parents (at least, in the metros) are getting more aware of introducing their kids to a wide variety of personality and skill development programs.
- Available supply of quality digital content at scale: Some EdTech players are investing deeply in creating high quality content that is comprehensive. Having such content available is accelerating EdTech adoption and as consumption scales, the ROI on content creation will increase thereby spinning a virtuous cycle.
- New pedagogies and skill-focused curricula in Metro cities: Several schools, while being affiliated with whichever Board to conduct the grade 10 and 12 examinations, are innovating on how they tech more effectively. Investments in teacher training (supported by higher fee brackets) and more effective content (videos and apps in the classrooms, digital submissions of assignments, aptitude building assessments).
- Significant impetus to digital supplementary aids driven by grants and impact-focused funds: Several state governments and corporates have become quite active in supporting the cause of education. Impact-oriented funds like the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) and non-profits like Central Square Foundation (CSF) are funding the access of digital tools to the masses who still study in schools less than INR 12,000 (Indian Rupees twelve thousand only) per annum. Praxis has been the implementation partner to Google.org and CSF sponsored program – ICAP – that aims to make a ton of innovative content available to students and teachers in English as well as vernacular languages.
- Shifting focus to ‘skill building’ and ’employability’ from ‘Academic excellence’: The noise around ‘moving away from rote learning’ and ‘imparting skills that will make an individual future-ready’ is becoming louder. This is creating several new digital businesses like Cuemath and Logiqids that are centered around building skills, aptitude and softer skills. In technical and vocational education, the Government is already investing aggressively to close the skill gap. It is a matter of time that there is formal, at-scale encouragement to skill building instead of rewarding only excellence in academic exams. International boards like IGCSE and IB are slowly but steadily gaining ground in key metro cities for this reason.
We have been at the forefront of enabling content companies go digital and refining the go-to-market approaches of several digital educational providers. We believe that this combination of pedagogy, mobile access, AI-based adaptive technologies and high quality content supply will change the way students learn.