On Wednesday, the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon.com Inc, launched an online academy to train students for one of India’s most competitive college entrance tests. The development marks Amazon tapping the virtual learning boom created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “Amazon Academy” is accessible either as an Android app as well as on a website. It offers learning material, live lectures and assessments to help students prepare for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), – the entry point to India’s highly competitive top engineering schools and colleges in the country.
While content on the platform is currently available as free, it will remain as free only for “the next few months”, said Amazon India in a statement.
Every year more than 2 million students apply for the government-run JEE competitive exam to coveted undergraduate engineering courses, for which many students take additional classes with private tutors. Many such tuition centers have either moved online or have shuttered down due to the coronavirus-induced COVID-19 pandemic.
India has seen a boom in online education, a market which has only expanded as the pandemic forced schools to close.
The country’s online education market for grades 1 to 12 is set to grow by six-fold to $1.7 billion by 2022, while the market for students beyond grade 12 is set to nearly quadruple to $1.8 billion, according to consultancy RedSeer estimates.
In 2020, Indian ed-tech startups including Vedantu, Unacademy, and market leader BYJU’s raised $2.22 billion in 2020, nearly four times the amount raised a year earlier, according to the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association and PGA Labs.
BYJU is backed by Tiger Global, a U.S. investment firm, as well as SoftBank-backed Unacademy; it raised the most capital last year, at $1.35 billion and $264 million, respectively.