In this digital era, technology is replacing almost everything. We don’t need pen and paper, as software like Word, Notepad can be used to write on. We don’t need physical books as e-books and PDFs are replacing it. Blackboards are getting replaced with smart-classes. The ed-tech startup is giving challenges to the school, tutors, and coaching classes. There are many AI-driven institutes where they don’t need human teachers.
So, the million-dollar question arises here is – Will this modern technology replace teachers? Is this technology advanced enough to teach students as teachers do? Do we need to eliminate human teachers? Everyone has a different perspective on this question. But what I believe is – NO, to this debate question. Technology is just an augmentation to a teacher. Technology is a complement to a teacher; it enhances the process of learning but cannot replace the role of the teacher. This made me remind of the famous shloka, which shows the value of a “Guru.”
“Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwara; Guru Sakshat Param Brahma, Tasmai Shri Guravay Namah“
Technology can make it easy to get educated by sitting at home. In this pandemic, technology helps in keeping the flow of knowledge. Online classes, e-learning, online exams helped the education sector in this situation. But we can’t neglect the fact that, even in online courses, we see that teachers are necessary to give lectures, whether in the form of videos, tutorials, skype sessions, etc. Children still need to learn computers to operate these online facilities, which, of course, is taught by a teacher.
Let’s have a look at ed-tech startups which are improving the education sector by combining the best merits of technology and teachers
Byju’s (World’s Most Valuable Ed-tech Company)
India’s first ed-tech unicorn, BYJU’S, offers a learning app, which was launched in 2015. It has learning programs for school students in classes IV-XII alongside courses to assist students who are preparing for competitive exams like JEE, NEET, CAT, IAS, GRE, and GMAT. Recently they have also collaborated with Disney to launch a learning app for classes I to III
It is used by students every day from over 1,700 cities. The typical time a student spends on the app has increased from 64 minutes to 71 minutes over the last 12 months.
The platform mainly focuses on math and science, and also the concepts are explained using 12-20 minute digital animated videos. With 35 million registered students and 2.4 million annual paid subscriptions, Byju’s app is out there on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
The corporation reported its revenues for the fiscal year 2017-18 at $69.4 Mn (INR 490 Cr), a 97% increase since the last fiscal year. At this time, the startup is one of the few Indian companies that has witnessed 100% growth in three consecutive years. In FY19, it recorded an enormous 200 percent growth. This ed-tech startup is looking to reach a revenue target of (INR 1400 Cr) this fiscal year.
Toppr (Mumbai Based e-Learning Startup)
Mumbai-based Toppr offers its personalized learning app for school students studying for boards, Olympiads, various engineering, commerce, and competitive medical exams. It provides students access to 24×7 e-learning, solving doubts, and personalized coaching from quality educational professionals across the country.
After having made a brand name in the field of online test preparation space, Toppr also started specializing in junior and senior grades (Classes 5 to 12), which form the most significant chunk of India’s student population. Six years since its inception, the ed-tech startup also offers courses catering to 25 schools, from ICSE and CBSE to different state boards.
From just 40,000 pieces of content in 2013 to two million of learning material now, Toppr aims to achieve three million by the end of 2020. It has solved over four million doubts, and more than three million tests are taken on its platform.
Toppr has raised over USD 58 million in working capital since 2015. Its recent funding was a Series C round in December 2018, when it raised USD 35 million led by Kaizen PE, Alteria Capital, and Brand Capital. Its other investors include SAIF Partners, Helion Ventures, and Eight Roads Ventures.
Gradeup (India’s Largest Exam Preparation App)
Started in 2015 by Shobhit Bhatnagar, Sanjeev Kumar, and Vibhu Bhushan, the ed-tech startup Gradeup helps approx 18 million exam aspirants in preparation for competitive examinations like JEE, NEET, GATE, IBPS, SSC, TET, UPSC, among others.
Gradeup’s primarily offers Gradeup Classroom, which provides live courses from faculties across India. The program also engages students through live classes, interactive quizzes, mock tests, 24×7 mentorship, among others. Gradeup’s platform features exam-specific communities, which helps students to interact with fellow peers and mentors, ask questions, share updates, and access free study material.
The exam preparation platform, Gradeup, had received USD 7 million in series A funding from Times Internet, which is the second fundraiser for Gradeup in 2019, which has now raised USD 10 million in total. Gradeup expects the total number of enrollments to reach 60,000 students by the end of 2020 and cross 150,000 by the end of 2021.