EdTech industry is booming in India and past few years the industry has seen unprecedented growth. It has attracted about $4 billion in investments in the last 5 years. Some even said EdTech is to India what e-commerce is to China.
According to the reports Indian EdTech Industry is poised to become $10 billion in the next 5 years and $30 billion in the next 10 years. The current market size is about $1 billion. As of 2021, India has more than 3500 EdTech Startups.
All the numbers are exciting, and the future of the EdTech Industry looks bright and the next 10 years could be a golden period for the industry. While everything is looking perfect, all seem not well with the industry.
Social media is flooded with criticism about the EdTech industry labeling all the EdTech companies as toxic and phony. The anger of netizens on some of the practices of EdTech companies is rightful and just. Some of the allegations were of misleading, threatening critics, fleecing parents, and using the power to suspend social media platforms. There is enough proof to say that these allegations were rightful. All of these actions and practices were unprofessional and unethical.
Some start-up companies in EdTech have already entered into Unicorn status in India and it is a matter of pride for the companies and the country to have reached this far. These Unicorns and growing EdTech companies are leaders in the industry and have the responsibility of leading from the front with great work practices and values. They should never forget the purpose of a start-up! The purpose is to solve a problem…
When companies move away from the purpose and go after mere valuations and numbers, the culture suffers. When people criticized the practices of some of the top companies, they should have welcomed the criticism and taken it in the right spirit instead of being vindictive. All the Business leaders know that critics raise our bar. All the complaints may not be genuine, but all the complaints are also not ingenuine. We must believe all the complaints are genuine and start working on them. The false allegations will fall apart in this process of addressing the issues.
These start-ups are founded by passionate and energetic youngsters and there is a possibility that they might lack the experience and wisdom. I am surprised that with all the money and other resources these companies have, no one advised the top management to focus on the vision, mission, and objectives rather than suppressing voices. If they were advised rightfully and the advice was ignored, then there is a leadership problem…
I would like to share one of my experiences in this regard. This was 12 years ago; I was asked to be a part of the culture and HR audit in one of the stand-alone business units located in an international location. We spent 2 full days looking at their culture, work practices and talking to as many employees as possible and concluded that employees are not engaged with the company’s mission and objectives. Culture remained in Books but not in practice. After completing the audit, we sat down with the General Manager and told him about our findings. We were not sure how he is going to take our feedback as most of the people we found to be defensive of such observations. After we finished talking, the General Manager stood up and said, “I am responsible for this failure, and I am going to fix it”. We were very happy to see an open-minded Business Leader. This General Manager took the observations very seriously, assembled a team to build the culture, spent a lot of his time talking to us and mentoring his people and he eventually built a great culture. Of course, he has to let go of some of the people who weren’t aligning with the culture and values of the company. This transformation has led to great employee engagement and ultimately resulted in top line and bottom line.
Let Bygones be Bygones, the leaders of the EdTech Industry must work seriously to address all the concerns of critics and set high standards of organizational work practices, and create a valued brand in the eyes of all the stakeholders. About 3000 small startups are looking at the UNICORNS and the top EdTech companies to pave the way towards a $ 10 billion market without many controversies.
Lastly, Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Let us all work together in creating and building the most respected EdTech Organizations in the world.
LET US NOT KILL THE GOLDEN GOOSE…