350 million people under the age of 14 (as of July 2013). That’s India. Despite of all the hurdles and system defects, India is a growing economy with an up-and-coming middle class. The importance of education in India, as far as the middle class is concerned, is paramount where on an average parents end up spending the biggest share of their income on providing the best possible education to their children. This makes education industry one of the most lucrative industry in the country for at least a couple of decades.
When looking at education industry from a technological lens, there is a huge opportunity to innovate and revolutionize the way education is delivered on a mass scale. Let’s focus on K-12 education here. One of the biggest challenges that technology an address to a large extent is consistency. There is a big gap in the quality of education between the best-in-class and rest of schools in the country. Technology can play a big role in bridging this gap. Having a connected infrastructure that could set de facto standard for home work preparation, teacher training and even extracurricular activities can improve the quality of education and experience in many schools.
Along the same lines, is the issue of scalability and customization. To make any technology platform successful in increasing the level of consistency across schools in the country, a very important thing is scalability. The platform needs to be scalable enough to be accessed by thousands of schools and customizable enough to meet the needs of millions of students. Another key thing that a scalable and customizable technology solution will do is that it will make it economical for mass adoption in the country.
One of the most critical things that a technology based solution for K-12 can do is that it can make education interesting. It sounds simple, but is the real make or break deal for the success of the platform. The reason being that this platform is not competing with the way education is otherwise delivered in the country. It is not even competing with the competitive offerings in the space. The real competition comes from the likes of Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and hundred of apps on an average mobile phone. If you want kids to spend more time leveraging this platform to learn, it needs to be as social as a Facebook, as easy to use as a Tumblr and as readily accessible as a Candy Crush.
Technology has revolutionized many industries in different parts of the world. There has been a lot of advancements in the education sector as well with companies developing innovative solutions for schools and students. With the increasing penetration of high-speed internet and economical accessibility to internet connected phone, there is lot more that will happen in the education industry in India which is ripe for a massive evolution in the years to come.