Over the past few years, EdTech has extended its scope past school and college curriculums. According to a 2016 KPMG report, the EdTech industry in India was worth about $247million and could reach $1.96 billion by 2021.
We have with us the Team of a one-of-its-kind career accelerator platform FOXMULA, who not only talks about Ed-tech industry but also shares their opinions about what our education system is lacking at the moment.
Check it out in this exclusive interview with CoFoundersTown!
Q. How much has the EdTech industry evolved in the last decade in India?
In 2010, the Indian EdTech market was in its infancy. The bigwigs of this industry were present back then but hadn't found their stride yet. The masses had limited bandwidth available at that time and the internet penetration in the country was sparse at best. This climate was far from conducive to the rise of online education.
Over the course of the decade, everything changed. With the widespread availability of high-speed internet, online educational services gained steam. Now, every third student has used an EdTech service at some point in their academic career.
“From being looked at as sketchy services a decade ago to being the premier choice for students for their educational needs, the Ed-tech industry has solidified its role in the market and is here to stay," Aurvind Raj, VP of Sales.
Q. What was the major reason behind this rapid rise in the last few years?
“The availability of high-speed internet and cheap data prices are big reasons for the rapid growth the industry is experiencing. Coupled with the sub-par quality of knowledge provided in colleges (except premier institutions), EdTech filled the gap which the target demographic was craving for,“ says Shubham Sharda, Cofounder.
Q. A report of 2019 claimed that about 80% of Indian engineers are unemployable. What do you believe is the Indian education missing out?
There is a concerning lack of up to date knowledge which students are provided in their institutions. This is inherent to the structure of universities and colleges. The process of making sure their personnel is well versed in industry-oriented knowledge is lengthy.
Authorities neither want to spend the money or time to train their staff. This is the albatross around the necks of our nations' youth which is keeping them from success- Ayush Bansal, founder.
Q. With organizations becoming more conscious towards optimizing the team number, and the evolution of technology at its helm, how do the relevance of EdTech platforms become all more important in the current setup?
EdTech platforms can provide the invaluable service of upskilling and re-skilling via corporate training events to give companies recruits who are well versed with multiple disciplines. A professional’s odyssey of acquiring more knowledge and skills is never complete.
“The more skilled a company’s workforce, the better it fares in this competitive economic landscape, ”emphasises Shubham.
Q. To what extent did being a dropout yourself shaped your decision to work towards the betterment of the education industry?
I would say being a dropout informed the product development process a lot. We all have faced the shortcomings which plague our current education system. Being privy to all that is available now in colleges and what is actually needed for students to be successful, it was much easier for us to create the services which students deserve and need- Ayush Bansal, founder.
Q. Is there any specific reason why Foxmula works mainly towards upskilling only fresh graduates?
It is no secret that rampant unemployment is a scourge which has entrapped the nations' youth in a precarious situation. Indias' unemployment rate is the highest it has been in 45 years. The problem is not that there are no jobs available but that the quality of skilled labor in India is alarmingly poor.
Fresh graduates are on the front lines. Being mauled by the effects of a slowing economy and coupled with the inadequacy of our education system; they need all the help they can get. That is why, as of now, we are focusing on helping them," says Parag Nair, VP of Operations.
Q. Take us through the process of how an undergraduate or graduate is enrolled and the further process at Foxmula
A college student can enrol for either our profile building programs (FoxmulaY) or our guaranteed job program (FoxmulaX). To enroll for either of the services, students have to fill out an application.
After which, shortlisted students are contacted by our counsellors who help them navigate their choices and come to a decision that is best suited for them. FoxmulaY focuses on providing industry-oriented training from scratch, MNC certifications and the students' first work experience to equip them with the skills they need to be successful at a field of their choice.
FoxmulaX is a service which tailors trains students to the specification of our hiring partners and places the students. Essentially making the hiring process effortless for companies while reducing the stress and anxiety students face when they think of their future- Shubham
Q. Which trends dominated the EdTech industry in the 2010s?
Leaving the novel technologies used during this time period, I would say catering to school students was the overarching trend during the 2010s. To an extent, it is still the case but cracks have started to emerge at the seams of this phenomenon. The K-12 market is saturated now due to the aggressive expansion during the prior decade in this sector.
Q. Which new trends are expected to dominate the Edtech industry this decade?
In my opinion, it would be personalized tutoring via artificial intelligence and a focus on college students. The one thing which all EdTech platforms are missing right now is the tailored training that personal tutors provide. That amount of care can not be replicated in a "one size fits all" mentality which is currently being followed by most online educational services.
The advent of AI gives us an opportunity to give each and every student the attention they deserve by moulding the content around their strengths and weaknesses in a particular field. This way, we can truly help that student. This is why I think this will be the new trend this decade.
Along with the shift of focus from the K-12 market to college students as the former is extremely saturated and the latter has a tremendous gap which can be satiated by quality educational services- Parag Nair, VP of Operations.
Q. What’s the biggest challenge an Ed-tech startup faces in India? And, what did you too faced?
Besides getting online education into the traditional roots, which is a challenge even for the giants, I would say, Funding; by far the biggest challenge every EdTech startup faces.
Most investors are focused on making quick money by supporting new technologies and the fintech sector. The sad part is investors not seeing the bigger picture, or match the vision, in terms of both business and social impact EdTech has to offer, leaving it on the sidelines even though this industry doesn't face any slowdowns due to economic recessions- Shubham Sharda, Cofounder.
Q. What would be your advice to the entrepreneurs who are planning to get into the EdTech industry?
It's important to know what value are you seeking to create by your venture into the EdTech space. Same for any industry but more so for the educational sector as there is a very organic demand which needs to be addressed responsibly.
After your intentions are clear than doing market research is imperative for success. A comprehensive understanding of the gaps in the current market is vital to assure that you use the resources at your disposal wisely.
Finally, you need patience and a strong resolve. There will be 100 things which will fall apart in your operation but you will need to be calm and collected- Ayush
Q. Looking back at the decision of dropping out, will you change it if given a chance. Why? Why not?
I would absolutely not change it. I feel I speak for Ayush too. College is important. The exposure to opportunities, different cultures, people and schools of thought is very vital to build an astute entrepreneurial mindset and network along with being a well-rounded individual.
“What I don't ascribe to is the notion that a degree is a must to be successful or respected in society, which sadly is followed by many. What one has to offer as an individual is far more valuable than a piece of paper, all they need is a chance," Shubham Sharda, Cofounder.