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Education Blog 2016-11-01

Huge potential in taking education forward with e-commerce

Technology has always been called a great leveller and Ecommerce has a potential to transform the education sector just like Gutenburg’s printing press.

Huge potential in taking education forward with e-commerce

Over the last 5 years or so India has literally witnessed a revolution in field of ecommerce. If we want to, we can get everything delivered right to our homes, be it a hot cup of tea, morning breakfast, grocery for household. Not only this we can complete our daily chores done just sitting on our couches like paying bills, sending gifts, getting repairs done. Electronic commerce (or E-commerce as it is popularly known as) has entrenched our life to an extent that it will be impossible to imagine a world without it.

E-commerce has touched almost every aspect of our daily lives, making it convenient for consumers to buy and making it easier for sellers to sell. One area which has largely remained untouched by this ecommerce revolution is “Education”. Every stakeholder of this ecosystem (education) viz: Institutes, Sellers and Students have largely been ignored or underserved by e-commerce revolution which has swept the country.

While billions are being spent globally for the education sector, its impact and efficiency remains low and just making everyone literate would simply not meet the core requirement of Education i.e. to be able to live one’s life with dignity.

Technology has always been called a great leveller and Ecommerce has a potential to transform the education sector just like Gutenburg’s printing press. It can not only bridge the gap in content quality and resource mobility but also revolutionise the way content is created, delivered and consumed globally.

Let’s quickly glance at different needs of educational institutes to fulfil its obligation of “education” to its students.

  • Need of facilities and supplies to facilitate student education
  • Need of expert teachers and trainers to transfer and disseminate knowledge
  • Content to disseminate knowledge
  • Enabling uniformity and sense of belongingness in students through uniforms
  • Juxtaposing knowledge with experience using project tools and kits
  • Collect fees from parents
  • Exposing students to “real world” through visits, tours, exchange programs

The above is a list of few of the major needs or activities which an Institute needs to continuously be engaged in for providing education to its students. An institute today spends huge amount of time, effort and money to ensure that it checks all the bullets above. An e-commerce model which can truly transform the education ecosystem will be a boon for education institutes by helping them achieve all the above by using fraction of time, effort and money.

Essentially, e-commerce will transform the ecosystem and provide benefits to all the stakeholders of the ecosystem. This transformative e-commerce model will not only ease the transactions (on both B2B and B2C side) but help in building a complete education community leading to friction less transactions and information flow.

An institute not only benefits from automation of transactions with parents but also with sellers. E-commerce in education will enable institutes to discover and build relationship with product and service providers which are currently “off the radar”, leading to more choices, better evaluation and better deployment of resources. Ideally e-commerce in education will allow institutes to focus on just that “education” and let ecosystem take care of ancillary needs.

Digitisation of this ecosystem will assist institutes in:

  • Ease of search and hiring of trained resources for institutes in less time and much lesser cost
  • Discovery and purchase of products for school infrastructure from among the wide choices at the best possible rates
  • Access to resources in areas of content, learning, hands-on-experience
  • Virtual connect with educators globally through e-connect
  • Virtual student to student connects across the country (globally)
  • Quick and easy sharing of information, knowledge and best practices
  • Convenience to parents and students to transact online at their convenience for fees, uniforms, books, school supplies etc.

Globalisation, increased investments are increasing the push to enable ecommerce in education. The question is not whether Ecommerce has a potential to the disrupt the field of education and learning, it has and it will, the lack of initial thrust (if any) can only delay the inevitable but technology will transform the entire education landscape.

The pace of developments has skyrocketed in recent times riding the dot com era and the current global ecommerce boom. E learning has become much more accepted, online education is provided by almost all institutions of higher learning, the internet has reached to the nooks and corners of the world and even the remotest villages will soon be able to access the world-wide web sooner rather than later. The focus should now be on consolidation of these point solution in education space towards e-commerce driven ecosystem. Focus should move from solving a problem through a solution to catering to complete education and development lifecycle of the child. Keeping child in center will open up the opportunities and areas which have never been explored and have potential to exponentially benefit the ecosystem: Seller, providers and Institutes. 

About the author:

The article above has been written by Amit Mishra, Co-founder of SchoolSaamaan.com, based on his personal research and experience.

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