M-education – Emerging Market Opportunity in India

Pramila Shriram Patil

Abstract


Indian and global industry has been facing a shortage in skilled workforce for some time now. By 2025, a majority of our

young population will enter the workforce. In terms of demographic profile, India remains one of the youngest nations in the world with 38.2% of its population in the 0-5 year age bracket (as per 2011 census). This translates into the Indian Education system being one of the largest educational systems globally with a network of more than 1.2 million schools and around 31,000 Higher education institutes (indiabudget.nic.in).

Technology has only reached class room of urban schools, wherein it is again limited to computer labs and audio-visual rooms. The sector is estimated to increase IT spending from USD 356 million in 2008 to USD 704 million in 2012, growing at a CAGR of 19 percent, during this period. With improving infrastructure, the Indian Education system is already making strides towards adopting the M-education (KPMG’s the Cloud: Changing the Business Ecosystem, 2011)

The present study, focus on conducting an objective analysis which will unearth the eco-system of Indian education system and its growth drivers. The study also attempts to identify the role of M-education for over-coming the roadblocks and increasing the penetration of education sector and identify strategies to successfully promote M-education.

The study is based on secondary data sourced from Published reports by Government websites like indiabudget.nic.in, Censusindia.gov.in, regulatory bodies like TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, COAI (Cellular Operators

Association of India), AUSPI (Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India), Papers published by agencies like KPMG, CARE, UNISEF, UNESCO, etc.

SWOT Analysis

Strength –  While the reach of physical schools and Internet (broadband) is restricted (only 2% reach in India), Mobile penetration is 76% (0.98 billion mobile connection for 1.2 billion population).(Census 2011 and TRAI Report)

Weakness - While Mobile has penetrated where broadband/ wired could not reach, Wireless technology has limited bandwidth (3G is just launched and may not be affordable in rural and 2nd and 3rd tier cities). This would limit the content rich applications like live video streaming

Opportunities – One of the best ways to offer real time on demand performance support.

Threat – Early stage technology curve. Concerns still revolve around basic device security and data security.

Similar opportunities and threats existed for Mobile industry in 1990s but wireless technology has penetrated to the nook and corner of the nations, not only in India and Asia pacific but also in Africa.

History can be repeated with conscious and collaborative support from all the stake holders: Government, Educators, Service providers, Developers, Content providers/ aggregators and Students

The findings reveal that commercially and technically M-education is a viable solution.

An affirmative feedback from the early adopters of the Mobile/I pad, promises extensive use of this technology in the education sector. Wider acceptance of the M-education has the potential to make several alterations to ecosystem of education sector.

Keywords: M-education, SWOT


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