Edtech companies that focus on non-academic courses shine in Nepal. Will they define the future?
Prabin Shrestha, 41, owns an import-export company in Kathmandu. As the world embraced digital marketing in the wake of the Covid pandemic, Shrestha wanted a change too.
However, this transition came at a price. When he hired freelancers, they demanded a large payment.
Shrestha had to find another way. Before taking action, he decided to learn it for himself first: “Now I have a clear understanding of digital marketing. I can even do the digital marketing for my own company myself.” He says Shrestha.
Helping Shrestha to acquire this skill in a short period of time was Sikumna, an edtech company operating in Kathmandu since 2020. These days, there are many people like Shrestha who have taken various courses from her Edtech companies.
Gone are the days when you had to physically travel to the classroom to attend class. Today, thanks to these edtech companies, students are no longer tied to physical structures or writing down everything they are taught in the classroom. Several educational technology companies facilitate this process.
Taking advantage of the impact of the new coronavirus, many edtech companies have been established in Nepal. Edtech interventions in mainstream education are also increasing, but in Nepal, these companies have started offering non-academic courses on their own and are becoming more popular by the day. These companies are likely to define the future of Nepal’s education industry.
The Rise of Edtech Companies in Nepal
Like Shreshta, 23-year-old Sudikshya Kadariya from Kathmandu completed a Photoshop course at an edtech company. Her Photoshop was completely new to her, but now she’s familiar with it thanks to a virtual course through her Edtech platform.
“Both the course and the teaching method were worth it,” says Kadariya. The founder of his Kadariya Beauty Station, an online retail beauty store, also prides himself on using his Photoshop skills in his own business.
Edtech companies have become popular around the world after the 2020 lockdown imposed to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
During lockdown, academic institutions conducted classes, exams, and even ECAs virtually. Thousands of students have taken classes through virtual platforms. Nevertheless, there are many academic institutions that continue to offer online classes.
As the use of technology in education has increased, so has the number of edtech companies that specialize in offering short, skill-based courses that are not included in college or university syllabuses.
They define their product as skill-based content. For example, some courses offered by edtech companies are related to graphic design, the stock market, music, and digital marketing.
Sikumna, an online teaching and learning platform based in Kathmandu, is one of those edtech companies. The company, which started operations two years ago, currently has over 2,500 active students in 15 courses. To date, in total he has over 9,000 students enrolled in his Sikumna.
Students taking courses at Sikmna come from a variety of backgrounds. Their backgrounds range from students to entrepreneurs to job seekers in a variety of fields.
“There are many people in our country who have excellent degrees but are unable to get quality jobs because they lack the skills. people are connecting with Edtech companies,” says Saugat Basnet, founder of Sikumna.
problems and promises
Lack of student concentration is a major challenge for edtech companies, according to Basnet. According to him, almost 60% of students regularly drop out of each course.
“Because of a lack of discipline and focus, they were unable to complete courses designed for a period of time,” says Basnet.
But Ashwin Neupane, creative head at Digital Gurkha, a digital marketing and educational technology company, has an idea for overcoming it. He says the course’s gamification and quiz features help students stay focused.
“We’ve already tried these things in our courses and they’ve been very productive,” says Neupane.
Digital Gurkha launched its educational technology services a year ago and has acquired over 10,000 students to date. Neupane believes young people’s curiosity about digital courses and learning platforms is one of the big reasons behind the rapid growth of edtech companies.
He further states that most students prefer courses related to jobs that are in higher demand in the market. For example, NEPSE Technical Analysis, Digital Marketing, and Content Writing courses are more popular than others.
Both Basnet and Neupane believe that education technology companies have a solid future in Nepal and around the world. Investment in digital education is expected to reach €337 billion by 2025, according to a study, which will be reflected in Nepal as well.