What kinds of educational software apps have been created for developing countries e.g. India?
Hello! It is my pleasure to respond to your query about educational apps in/for developing countries (including India specifically). We will begin with some basic background data on the market itself, which includes various issues/limitations that may arise and how to design your app to be the most successful (based on those getting around those issues). Then, we’ll talk about the most popular educational apps for the developing world that are currently on the market. It is my sincerest hope that the information here will help you in being awarded the grant you are seeking. All research points to this endeavor being an excellent choice of pursuit in a rapidly-developing market – and with the right app-development and marketing – you could change the world!
Mobile Ecosystems Forum released a report in Spring 2014 that detailed how “mobile apps are proving the key to mass education breaking through in developing countries.” They go on to say that four of the top five countries for educational app downloads are developing ones (including your focus, India, as well as South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria). The fifth in that list is the United States. This is primarily due to falling mobile hardware prices and the choices of these countries’ governments to mandate the use of learning apps within formal schooling.
Globally, educational apps rate as the ninth most popular types of apps, with gaming and social networking dominating the market. So, logically, if your app includes gamification that incorporates critical thinking and collaboration, it will be most successful in the global market, not just in the developing countries’ market. Examples of this type of design include adventure and role-playing games or quizzes.
Additionally, the report discusses how inexpensive Android-based phones have been made available in Africa and how India’s government’s elearning program requires the use of the Aakash Tablet (which is Android-based). Android-based smartphones and tablets have become increasingly available in these countries, with iPhones being too expensive and technologically inflexible to get much of the market share. So, I would suggest developing your app to work with Android-based devices in order to secure the largest market share.
According to a 2014 TechCrunch article, “China and India account for the majority of new mobile connections, and in developing countries, mobile saturation hasn’t yet hit and is still experiencing double-digit growth.” The IBTimes reports that “mobile penetration reached 89% in developing countries in 2013, with the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions exceeding one billion”. Of the developing countries, Africa leads the way with a 9% increase from 2010 to 2013. A survey by Ericcson Consumer Labs reported that the average Indian spends three to five hours a day on his or her smartphone. According to Your Story, “A big opportunity for developers is to build apps to provide local content to everyone in the mobile-first country”. So, focusing on multi-language (other than just English) usage and connection of the User to local content seems like the way to go. Additionally, since shopping is the #2 online pursuit in India, if your app has in-app purchases associated with it, you are likely to garner a larger portion of the market share.
A whitepaper by Ravi Jane reports that, “Some estimates place the cumulative annual growth rate of the mobile data market in India to be as high as 77% through 2010”. So, there’s definitely a huge (and growing) market for your app! However, since the data charges for developing countries are just as high as they are in developed countries (which means they are unaffordable to most people in less developed nations), if your app is optimized for data use (meaning it uses very little bandwidth to run), it will be most successful. The article goes on to say, “The continued double digit growth of mobile in developing countries represents a tremendous business opportunity. While companies in Silicon Valley fight over trying to develop the top app in a certain category, huge untapped potential still remains in the developing world. Working in this space will require businesses to be able to think through the design of their applications from a different viewpoint. Their end users will have different motivations, experiences, needs and constraints.”
Now let’s talk about what’s already on the market. According to AppCrawlr, the Top 10 most downloaded educational apps for developing countries are:
1. Math for Children Ages 3-5 (4.5 star rating)
2. Economics Study Aid and Quiz (3.5 star rating)
3. English is Fun (4 star rating)
4. IFA-Krishni Nepal (5 star rating)
5. Save Water! H20 Facts & Tips (5 star rating)
6. Lojik Kreyol (5 star rating)
7. What is Socialism (5 star rating)
8. LKDF Interact (5 star rating)
9. Radio MBA (5 star rating)
10. Kids Hub (4 star rating)
Even though the market share for iPhones/iPads is much smaller in developing countries, it’s still important to note that there are many solid educational apps available for these devices (in case you decide to develop an iOS version of your app). According to AppCrawlr, the Top 10 downloaded educational apps for this operating system are:
1. Fraction Calculator Lite (2.5 star rating)
2. ONE Campaign (4 star rating)
3. Get Water (5 star rating)
4. Chinese Cadres Learning Website (3.5 star rating)
5. Fraction Calculator Pro (4 star rating)
6. Tree Planet 2 (5 star rating)
7. Safe Delivery (no rating shown)
8. ExamMate VCE Health and Human Development 4 (no rating shown)
9. Terre des Hommes VR Experience (no rating shown)
10. Plant Doctor Game (no rating shown)
According to StudyBucket, some of the best educational apps for students in India are:
1. Hindi-English Dictionary
3. Chanakaya Niti
4. Vedic Maths India
5. Constitution of India
6. Wikipedia Long
There are many other educational-based apps for developing countries on the market. A large portion of these include some form of reading training. With half of South Asians and a third of Africans who finish school still unable to read properly, and 60% of 6-14 year olds in India unable to read at second grade level, this is the largest market in the educational app world. Some recent successful app-based initiatives include the patented web delivery techniques that ensure low-bandwidth connectivity by DataWind (the company that developed the Aakash), and the One Laptop per Child Initiative (currently active in countries like Afghanistan and Zambia).
Lastly, the Ed Tech Round Up article I linked gives some good background on educational technology trends in developing countries, and the whitepaper by Ravi Jane may also provide some statistics or data useful in writing your grant. Positive thoughts to you in this endeavor!
Thank you again for your question, and I hope this information gives you what you need. Please Ask Wonder again for any other questions you may have!