The internet puts coaching centers to the test

In India, one out of four students takes private tuition, according to the latest NSSO data. A 2013 ASSO CHAM survey valued the Indian coaching industry at Rs 1.5 lakh crore.Clearly, if technology is transforming education, it cannot bypass the parallel education system. Geetanjali Khanna, COO of edutech aggregator Fastudent, says that chartered accountancy (CA) has seen the biggest shift from offline to online coaching. “Most aspirants now buy CA lecture sets online in the price-range of Rs 700 to Rs 5,000 per set,“ says Khanna, adding that numbers will only rise as students are increasingly strapped for time.“Travel time has increased, making physical attendance at coaching centres difficult. Also, students are pursuing many co-curricular activities in addition to academics. All these factors make online tuition more appealing,“ says Khanna.

Aakash, a leading brand in coaching for medical and engineering entrance, recently launched Aakash Live, an online platform where students can attend live instructor-led classrooms from anywhere.The online tool offers course schedules, asynchronous discussion sessions, integrated cloud storage for content and access to class recordings.coaching

Then there are websites that train students to crack competitive exams with tailor-made solutions. Embibe, with over four lakh enrollments since 2012, offers highly-personalized coaching for entrance exams to engineering and medical courses. Their instructors pinpoint the weaknesses of each student by tracking time spent over every question in online mock tests, and then offer personalized solutions and speed tips. The website also has a `rank predictor’ tool that estimates your all-India rank based on the marks you score in individual subjects in mock tests.

Such tools are a boon to those who live in smaller towns and can’t afford to move to a bigger city just for coaching. “We encourage students to stay in the comfort and convenience of their locality and pursue their professional goals through elearning and digital education,“ says Aakash Chaudhry , director, Aakash Educational Services Private Limited.

So will coaching hubs like Kota eventually lose their popularity? Unlikely, say industry experts. The future market will be a blend of classroom and digital teaching. “Both classrooms and teachers will stay, but the method of instruction and learning will become more digitized.