BENGALURU – Amazon.com Inc has launched an online academy to train students for one of India’s most competitive university entrance tests, the e-commerce giant said on Wednesday, as it operates a boom in virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Amazon Academy”, available as a website and an Android smartphone app, will offer learning materials, live lectures and assessments to help students prepare for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE ), which allows entry into top engineering colleges across India.
Content on the platform is currently available for free and will remain so for “the coming months”, Amazon India said in a statement.
Each year, nearly two million aspirants to coveted undergraduate engineering courses take the government-run JEE, for which some take additional courses with private tutors. Many of these tuition centers either moved online or closed during the pandemic.
India has seen a boom in online education, or ed-tech, a market that only expanded when the pandemic forced schools to close.
The nation’s online education market for 1st-12th graders is expected to grow sixfold to $1.7 billion by 2022, while the market for students beyond 12th grade year is expected to nearly quadruple to $1.8 billion, consultancy firm RedSeer estimates.
According to the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association and PGA Labs, Indian ed-tech startups including Unacademy, Vedantu and market leader BYJU’s raised $2.22 billion in 2020, roughly four times the amount raised a year earlier.
BYJU, backed by US investment firm Tiger Global and Unacademy, backed by SoftBank, raised the most capital last year, at $1.35 billion and $264 million, respectively.