BENGALURU (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc has launched an online academy to train students for one of India’s most competitive college entrance tests, the e-commerce giant said on Wednesday, as it taps a boom in virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Amazon Academy”, available as a website and an Android smartphone app, will offer learning material, live lectures and assessments to help students prepare for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), which allows entry into top engineering schools across India.
Content on the platform is currently available free and will remain free for “the next few months”, Amazon India said in a statement.
Each year, close to two million aspirants to coveted undergraduate engineering courses take the government-run JEE, for which some take additional classes with private tutors. Many of those tuition centers have either moved online or shut during the pandemic.
India has seen a boom in online education, or ed-tech, a market which has only expanded as the pandemic forced schools to close.
The country’s online education market for grades 1 to 12 should expand 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, consultancy RedSeer estimates.
Indian ed-tech startups including Unacademy, Vedantu and market leader BYJU’s raised $2.22 billion in 2020, about four times the amount raised a year earlier, according to the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association and PGA Labs.
BYJU’s, backed by U.S. investment firm Tiger Global, and SoftBank-backed Unacademy raised the most capital last year, at $1.35 billion and $264 million, respectively.
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