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Offline centres aren't a sign of edtech's failure, says Unacademy CEO Gaurav Munjal

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The Economic Times
23rd June, 2022 20:11 IST

Unacademy cofounder Gaurav Munjal said in a series of tweets on Thursday that offline centres set up by online education firms aren’t a sign that edtech is falling.

“Opening a few centres in two of our categories should not be linked to edtech failing. Correlation is not causation,” Munjal wrote.

“Unacademy’s PrepLadder has over 20% market share in National Entrance cum Eligibility Test post graduate (NEET PG) and not a single learner wants to go Offline,” Munjal said, adding that things are different with respect to the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) and NEET.

“JEE and NEET Learners want to go out. Parents want them to go out. More discipline is needed unlike NEET PG Learners where the intent to self-learn is extremely high,” he said.

Several edtech firms have set up offline centres in the past few months as traditional schools have reopened. Unacademy last week announced the launch of two offline learning centres in Kota, Rajasthan.

“The largest offline institute has 200,000 active paid subscribers. Unacademy has 800,000 active paid subscribers. Billions of minutes of learning happen online,” Munjal said, without naming the institute.

Unacademy said that it aims to enroll up to 15,000 learners in the first batch across all upcoming Unacademy Centres in nine cities, namely Kota, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Patna, Pune, Bengaluru, Delhi and Lucknow.

In February, archrival Byju’s had also announced aggressive plans to double down on its offline play through the launch of Byju’s Tuition Centre.

Companies including PhysicsWallah, Cuemath and Vedantu are also in the process of either expanding or building an offline presence to cope with the post-Covid transition.

Commenting on recent edtech unicorn Physics Wallah, Munjal said that the firm's business model was not sustainable. PhysicsWallah, founded in 2016 by Alakh Pandey, prepares students for competitive engineering and medical entrance examinations and claims to offer its courses at a price lower than its peers including Unacademy.

“He (Pandey) will have to increase prices to sustain. The current model is not sustainable, especially after raising venture capital money,” Munjal wrote.

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