While a majority of school-going kids prefer to have private tuitions at their homes, technology is enabling them to opt for the same experience “online” where the chosen teacher appears on one’s computer screen rather than coming to a pupil’s home in person. Since online tutoring is a new concept, India’s $12 billion private tutoring market largely remains offline (home tuitions), with the online segment being a miniscule part of it. But given India’s digital pursuits, the online tutoring would not only grow “but would also trend in times to come”, according to Ashish Sirohi, CEO and co-founder, Eduwizards, an education technology company providing offline and online tutoring in India and US. Technological constraints like the lack of internet or fluctuating bandwidth explain why there are fewer technology companies offering such option in India. Such handicaps also limit the number of students aspiring to have online-tutoring. “Less than 2% of students using our website have chosen the online option,” Sirohi added.
As internet connection is generally slow in India, offering online tutoring requires companies to spend significant capital to make their whiteboards work at low internet speeds. More dependable internet speed, especially at the students’ end, would give more traction to online tutoring “but it is hard to predict how fast online tuition will increase”, according to Eduwizards. Kaizen, a private equity education company, projects the size of India’s private tutoring market (both offline and online combined) to reach $17 billion by next year. While the private tutoring market caters to school-going students, the coaching market that prepares college going students for competitive exams such as Civil services, IIT etc is a separate vertical having a current size of over $2 billion.
Analysts believe that India offers plenty of scope for online tutoring to grow. Since Indian society places a great premium on education, parents are willing to pay for quality tutorials taken offline or online.
Analysts believe that India offers plenty of scope for online tutoring to grow. Since Indian society places a great premium on education, parents are willing to pay for quality tutorials taken offline or online. Such willingness to pay would only help the sector as “Research has proven that an average student, when tutored, one-to-one using mastery learning techniques, performed two standard deviations better than students who learn via conventional instructional methods,” according to Kaizen. In USA, 6% of school-going students opt for online private tuition.
Besides technology, finding a good teacher (whether offline or online) is another big challenge. Since the market is largely unorganised, it is generally through word of mouth that students get to know of a good teacher. Education companies like Vedantu and Eduwizards are trying to bring some order in the otherwise unorganised market by signing up teachers from across India and elsewhere. “We have a review based system (students reviewing teachers) that we post on our website,” Sirohi said. This helps students to choose from a wider pool of qualified teachers and that is where the online process scores an edge over offline.