The latest round of funding raised by EdTech companies like BYJU’s, Vedantu, Unacademy, Toppr, have got a lot of media and social media attention. What goes under-reported is the challenges these companies face as they navigate the complex social, economic, cultural, educational, and infrastructural landscape in India.
Let us have a look at the 5 Major Hurdles that EdTech Companies are facing in India.
With over 560 million internet users, India is the second-largest online market in the world, ranked only behind China. Internet penetration is 50% of the total population. However, quality and speed of services is a serious concern across the country, more so in the hinterlands. EdTech solutions, in most cases, require good speed and reliability of connection for their applications to run smoothly and deliver E-Learning Content.
A technical support head at an EdTech company mentions that out of the total technical complaints that they receive from users, ~95% are related to internet speed or interrupted internet service at the user-end, both of which they have no control over.
High Customer Acquisition Costs:
B2C EdTech companies can grow only when the majority of the parents/students make online purchases of their E-Learning Apps. India is not a mature market, as of yet, in this regard. Alternatively, EdTech companies are forced to resort to door-to-door selling, which results in a very high customer acquisition cost.
Slow Device Adaptation:
Tablets, mobile devices, laptops are beyond the means of many parents across the country.
Skepticism About Using Devices:
Too much time spent on gadgets and devices is still perceived as an unhealthy practice by most parents. The parents are skeptical about the benefits of educational screen time. The parents believe going to a good brick and mortar school and using conventional books, etc. is still the better mode for learning.
Inadequate Enforcement of Intellectual Property Protection:
The biggest challenge for content creators, in all genres, is protecting their intellectual property. Content lies at the heart of what an EdTech company does. While technology enables the delivery of content, it also makes it vulnerable to piracy; a serious challenge faced by all EdTech firms operating in India.
Internet-Based Services are Free:
The notion that internet-based services are “free”; though this perception is not limited to India. While users are generally willing to pay for buying a book or for subscribing to public libraries, they are reluctant to pay for an e-book or E-Learning App.
Notwithstanding these challenges, EdTech companies like BYJU’s are growing exponentially by overcoming these challenges with innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.
Stay tuned for our next article on how EdTech companies are growing exponentially