According to the HRD ministry official statistics, there are currently 12.86 crore boys and 11.93 crore girls in Indian schools. This demographic primarily consists of the Next Half Billion (NHB).
The advent of technology in education is resulting in a growing number of EdTech startups both in India and worldwide. There is a clear upsurge in the number of students that go online exclusively for learning. Startups like Byju’s, Vedantu, Unacademy, Wonderslate etc. cover the many aspects of learning. Players both old and young continue to bring newer and smarter learning solutions to the education landscape.
But these changes largely remain in the tier-1 cities. As another statistic puts this skewed growth into perspective, ‘out of the above mentioned 1.5 million schools, only 2.46 lakhs are in the urban centres while the rest naturally are in rural areas.’
Therefore, it is needless to say there is an ample amount of space left for EdTech to explore. There has never been a better time to cater to such a geographically skewed demographic. The demographic termed as NHB is going to dictate the growth patterns of the industry in the not so distant future.
What is Next Half Billion (NHB)?
According to Omidyar Network India- Redseer Report 2019-20, “half a billion new users are expected to come online for the first time by 2022.” This demographic, which is termed as the Next Half Billion, primarily consists of aspiring students who’ll dive into the world of online learning through a ‘mobile-first’ approach.
Now the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may have stopped the conventional centres of education, it has certainly amped up this onboarding of the Next Half Billion. And amidst all the sudden changes that Corona has brought to the fore, the real question for the EdTech remains: How does EdTech plan to cater to the Next Half Billion?
At a time when about 97% of users access the internet through their mobile phones, the future of EdTech companies would depend on how well they cater to the needs of the NHB. As the report suggests and refers to the World Bank classification, this group of aspiring Indians make for the country’s largest income group.
How is it going to affect the K-12 segment?
In the world of online coaching, test series, and upskilling, K-12 still largely remains an outsider. But this picture is set to change for good.
According to the report, “By 2022, online education offerings across grades 1 to 12 are projected to increase 6.3 times to create a $ 1.7 BN market, while the Post-K12 market is set to grow 3.7 times to create a $ 1.8 BN markets.” This goes on to show that, although the post-K12 market looks cluttered as before, the K12 opportunities are set to open up for the players both inside and the ones who are trying to break in.
K-12 is estimated to create $400 MN out of $1.7 BN by 2022 which means their share in the spoils is set to increase nearly five times from today’s 5% to 24% by 2022.
And the scale of opportunity is staggering as currently, EdTech caters to only 30% of the K12 population that belongs to the NHB which makes roughly for the 50% of the entire demographic. By 2022, this populace will represent nearly half of the EdTech market by volume.
But above all, as the EdTech players crunch up the numbers, the good news is that there is ample space for newer products and services as most of these changes would take place in small towns and villages. The larger parts of India still reel under the lack of proper infrastructure with only 61.66% of schools having access to a library.
And lastly, the hurdles may be perennial and age-old, it is nothing short of a golden opportunity for EdTech players both giants and upstarts. The aspiring Indian students are looking right in the face of EdTech players and asking them, ‘are you ready? because we are.’