Amazon exits India’s hectic edtech market • The Register

Amazon has exited India’s online education services market.

The e-commerce giant last year launched a service called Amazon Academy, which offers tutoring for high school exams and the tests that allow entry into India’s elite engineering and technology universities.

Amazon Academy was just one of many edtech players. of India economic timeswho reported on Amazon’s exit, said the cut is one of many across the company that has also seen the closure of a grocery delivery service.

Amazon may have done well to end its service, as India holds education in high esteem as a means of economic and social advancement. The competition for places at good schools is therefore fierce: more than 150,000 candidates attempt the entrance test for India’s elite Institutes of Technology (IITs), but only around 10,000 are offered a place. Admission to the entrance exams is not easy.

The price of a place in one of the top higher education institutions in India is certainly worth it as they are competitive on a global scale. Names like IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, Microsoft CEO Satay Nadella, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, VMWare CEO Raghu Raghuram and NetApp CEO George Kurian all graduated from IITs, and many other tech executives also attended the Indian ones universities.

India has therefore built a huge “edtech” market – online service providers offering coaching, testing and other services to help students improve their grades and maybe even be good enough to get a place in a major institution get hold of

But the sector is controversial. Leading player Byju’s has quickly built a global brand by sponsoring Indian sports teams and has become the country’s most prominent and valuable startup. But Byjus and other edtech companies have also been accused of using high-pressure sales tactics that target Indian families’ belief that education is a ticket to a brighter future.

Byju’s also faced controversy after it delayed the release of financial information by up to 18 months – which spooked investors and customers alike. The company eventually disclosed losses of over half a billion dollars. Rival companies also unveiled less than stellar balance sheets, leaving their venture capitalists with balls in their faces and reducing confidence in India’s startup scene.

The entire edtech sector – a source of pride for India – has emerged rather tarnished and weakened from this experience.

Amazon’s departure from edtech to cut costs could be a sign that it’s struggled to compete and/or forecast growth in a crowded market. Or it could just indicate that the market is saturated.

Amazon Academy has at least done the right thing for students with access to course materials well into 2024. ® Amazon exits India’s hectic edtech market • The Register

Rick Schindler

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