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Will learning be fully online even after COVID-19 pandemic?

The sector is cashing in on the accelerated interest in online education brought about by the pandemic to become one of the hottest tech startup spaces in the country. Indian edtech startups received a total investment of $2.22 billion in 2020, up from $553 million in 2019

Will learning be fully online even after COVID-19 pandemic? 

There is a lot more acceptance to online learning, says math edtech startup CuemathThere is a lot more acceptance to online learning, says math edtech startup Cuemath

A booming edtech space in India bolstered by the pandemic notwithstanding, math edtech startup Cuemath believes there will be some reversion to offline learning in the country once the global health crisis abates.

"One thing COVID-19 has done is it has reset consumer expectations and behaviours to a large extent. There is a lot more acceptance to online learning. But there is a clear signal I'm getting from parents that education will not be completely online after COVID-19 ends. A significant component will continue to be offline learning," says Cuemath CEO Manan Khurma.

Khurma's views come even as the $2 billion edtech market is to grow to $11.6 billion by 2026, according to India Brand Equity Foundation.

The sector is cashing in on the accelerated interest in online education brought about by the pandemic to become one of the hottest tech startup spaces in the country. Indian edtech startups received a total investment of $2.22 billion in 2020, up from $553 million in 2019. 

Cuemath raised $40 million in Series C funding in December 2020 at a valuation of $172 million. 

Millions of students and working professionals are signing up to study and upskill themselves, respectively. With around 9.5 million users, India has become the second largest market for e-learning after the US. In comparison, the education ministry estimates there are 250 million school students in the country.

But the phenomenon has largely been restricted to urban cities. Slow and patchy internet, despite a relatively good penetration, has kept this mode of learning out of reach of students in smaller cities and towns.

Cuemath says it is seeing demand from Tier 2 and 3 cities as well. But the Bengaluru-based firm wants to keep its focus only on the global online mathematics market. "The global mathematics market is much bigger than the India test preparation market. So, we're comfortable not doing test preparation in India," says Khurma.

Even an omni channel model is not a priority now for the brand, which started out as an offline player in its earlier avatar. "If we were to offer offline classes, our priority will only be India. And India is becoming a relatively smaller market compared to the whole global ambition we have," he says.

The platform is spread over more than 20 countries including India, UK, USA, UAE, Singapore, Canada, Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, Nepal and Bangladesh. 

"We are truly thinking global in terms of designing our teams and processes...Through COVID-19, we have grown 10x. But we are not profitable yet as we are focusing on growth. We are aggressively expanding to other geographies," he adds.

The startup set up in 2013 has 10,000 teachers teaching 2 lakh KG-12 students math and coding skills online in India and abroad.

Also read: Indians strong in math but lag in data skills, finds Coursera study

Also read: Future of remote work: Some employees may change job than go back to office

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