Of course, it’s not just WhiteHat Jr alone that has kinks to iron out. There are issues facing the whole ed-tech industry.

A second chance for Indian education?

India’s education system is among the largest in the world with more than 320 million children. And Covid-19 has no doubt made online learning more mainstream than ever before.

“There is no longer any question of whether you can deliver education through technology—because schools are doing it,” GV Ravishankar, managing director at Sequoia Capital India, told KrAsia.

However, access to this learning still has several barriers.

Only 8% of all Indian households with members aged between five and 24 have both a computer and an internet connection. And attending classes online is a big financial burden with people having to buy or share devices, and purchase bigger data packs to get through the curriculum. Moreover, access to textbooks and other study material at schools has been cut off, which means students incur more out-of-pocket charges.

The burden on instructors is no less. Among female teachers, approximately 90% have access to a smartphone but only 40% have access to a laptop, making it harder to deliver lessons.

In the last year, with external factors like lab sessions and peer group interactions out, the focus is only on teacher quality and learning quality “and this is the gist of the problem,” Sumeet Mehta, co-founder and CEO of LEAD School, which helps private schools digitise their curriculums, told Quartz. Simply moving a school’s syllabus online isn’t a solution—what is being taught and how it’s being taught is due for an overhaul.

Mehta believes a sound ed-tech platform must be able to embed skill development on collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creative thinking in their time-tables and annual calendars.

“On pedagogy, one needs to end the rule of the textbook,” Mehta added. “It is the enemy of learning for life because it promotes rote learning and puts an inordinate focus on answering the book-back questions. We need to connect learning to life, we need to make new learning connect to previous learning, and we need to contextualise learning.”

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