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EdTech sector set for remarkable growth, experts say at RBETA 2024

RBETA 2024 on EdTech growth: At the Republic Business Emerging Technology Awards 2024, leaders from the EdTech industry came together to share their outlook on the potential and transformative impact of India’s EdTech sector, which is set to become the second-largest market in the world after the United States. Currently valued at around $5 billion, the market is expected to nearly double to $10 billion by 2025.

In the lines of these scenarios, RBETA hosted Sibaram Khara, Vice Chancellor of Sharda University, Venkatesh Madurai Subramanian, Founder of Apna Vikas, and Manoj Jain, Founder of Ishika Digitech to discuss the future growth of the industry.

(Edited excerpts from the panel discussion)

Direction of EdTech industry

Khara underlined the sector’s rapid growth during the pandemic, which necessitated the adoption of digital techniques for academics. 

“Before the pandemic, digital usage in teaching was minimal, limited to some courses and LMS systems,” Khara explained. “However, the trend shifted significantly with the introduction of India’s National Education Policy, which targets a 50 per cent Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education. To achieve this, the government has promoted online education, leading many universities to launch online programs. Post-pandemic, we continue to adopt these digital techniques.”

Khara further stressed the future indispensability of EdTech. “Without EdTech technology, it will not be possible to implement education effectively in the future. EdTech will be essential, incorporating more AI-embedded features to enhance learning. These advancements will benefit both students and teachers.” He also highlighted the importance of personalised care, measurement, mentoring, and guidance, which are made possible through the extensive use of data and AI analysis.

Opportunities in EdTech

Venkatesh Madurai Subramanian spoke on the vast opportunities within the EdTech sector. “Opportunities are abundant for those who seek them. Success and failure are part of the journey. It’s important to fail fast and learn quickly. My own startup failed during COVID-19, but it’s okay. The key is to focus on creating value in society rather than on traditional valuations,” he stated.

Subramanian underlined the limitless potential driven by human intelligence combined with AI. “Our only limitation as a society and as entrepreneurs is our imagination. Human intelligence, combined with AI, can drive significant advancements. The capacity to dream and innovate beyond current limitations is essential.”

He provided a compelling example of AI democratising education, citing the character Ekalavya from the Mahabharata who faced barriers to learning. “Today, with internet access and AI, students can learn in their native languages through text-to-speech and speech-to-text technologies.”

AI as an effective tool

Manoj Jain discussed the effective use of AI, while also cautioning against over-reliance on it. “AI is a good tool when used sincerely, but there’s a danger as people increasingly rely on AI instead of seeking help from teachers or parents,” Jain warned.

“AI is created by humans, and it can sometimes provide wrong answers or guidance. For instance, people might rely on AI for travel itineraries without verifying the accuracy,” he noted.

Jain also highlighted the rapid pace of technological advancement compared to government regulations. “Technology often advances faster than government regulations. For example, drones operated without licenses were initially unregulated, creating safety concerns.”

He acknowledged the steps India is taking towards responsible AI, akin to Europe’s GDPR. “India is taking steps towards responsible AI, similar to Europe’s GDPR. The government is acting quickly, and we must maintain this pace to ensure proper governance and protection.”

As technology continues to advance and integrate with educational practices, the potential for growth and innovation in this sector remains immense. The collaborative efforts of industry leaders, educators, and the government will be crucial in harnessing this potential to create a more inclusive and effective educational environment for all.

 



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