April 18, 2017
While education is considered to be an important thread in India’s socio-economic fabric, there is an undercurrent of a brewing crisis. As per a 2015 report by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS),about 74 countries face grave shortage of teachers, with India second on the list.
Both private and public institutions have their own challenges when it comes to affordable and accessible education. The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has fixed the Parents-Teacher Ratio (PTR) for primary classes at 30:1 and for upper primary classes at 35:1. Although popular private schools demonstrate a better PTR as compared to public schools, a recent survey by ASSOCHAM revealed that many experienced teachers of reputed private schools are leaving their jobs to take up private coaching.On the other hand, as per the data tabled in the Lok Sabha by the MHRD in December 2016, 18% positions of teachers in government-run primary schools and 15% in secondary schools were vacant nationwide.
Fortunately, students with easy access to internet and use of technology are able to leverage websites and educational apps to circumvent this shortage of teachers. As online tutoring is emerging as a new beacon of student empowerment in the Indian education sector, is this sector free from challenges and getting wide acceptance as it deserves?
Online tutoring is here to stay
If current trends are a yardstick, the private tutoring market is likely to touch $30 billion by 2020, showcasing the increasing demand for online tutoring in the future.Therise of internet penetration in semi-urban and rural India has meant that more students from smaller cities and towns will have access to quality online tutorials in the near future.
Like any industry, the online tutoring industry too faces with many challenges. But with some adaptations and intelligent solutions, they can make change the face of the education system in any country
Challenges for the online tutoring industry and possible solutions
Growing competition: The online education space is now brimming with activity, with many service providers, but the growing competition means that only those having an edge in terms of right pricing, quality tutors, and modern tools can stay ahead of their rivals.
Convergence of various segments: Offering the right instructor for varioussegments continues to be a massive challenge, especially in a highly competitive environment that faces a lack of quality teachers comfortable with modern technology.
Adopting new technological innovations: Successful online educators need to invest in modern technology, enabling a flexible personalized platform connecting students and tutors. They have to use intelligent solutions like analytics and Artificial Intelligence which makes learning easy, fun and helps students generate a multifold increase in their cognitive skills and subject competencies.
Attractive remuneration to retain quality tutors: Attracting quality talents is a major challenge of both online and offline players in the education field. Majority of online tuition service companies have adopted the marketplace model, passing on the bulk of revenue (70-80%) to the enlisted tutors, attracting high quality academicians and teachers.
Personalized education: Many students think online education lack personalized experience, and are a one-way communication. Personalized education offering one to one coaching in the online space is a good alternative to face to face coaching.
Flexibility: Both students and teachers can enjoy flexible timings if the online education platforms operate in such a way. This will attract more aspiring students and quality teachers who are otherwise unable to take up a regular 10-4 teaching job, which helps the growth and quality of the industry.
Online platforms offering personalized education cut geographical barriers, democratize education, making it accessible to everyone and leverage on technology forbridging employment to education (E2E) gap. If online educators offer result oriented approach, they can change misconceptions people have about the system.
The future of education is poised to see online tutoring and mobile apps for teaching take center-stage even as quality of education becomes a non-negotiable.If online educators leverage on their benefits, immense scope and potentials, they are sure to change the face of the education system in our country.