Amazon closes its online learning platform in India

Amazon is closing Amazon Academy, an online learning platform that launched in India last year for high school students, the company announced Thursday.

The retailer says it will phase out edtech service in the country from August 2023. Those who applied for the current academic batch will receive a full refund, it said.

Amazon officially launched the Academy, formerly called JEE Ready, early last year, but has been testing the platform since mid-2019. The Academy was designed to prepare students for the country’s prestigious engineering schools.

The service provided curated study materials, live lectures, mock tests and comprehensive assessments to help students learn and practice Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and prepare for the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE), an engineering entrance examination in India for admission to several technical colleges in the country.

The company’s extensive offerings have led some to believe that Amazon could make a major breakthrough in the education market and pose a threat to startups like Byju’s, Unacademy, and Vedantu.

The home page of the Amazon Academy website. (Image credit: Amazon)

More than 260 million children go to school in India and a large part of the population sees education as the key to economic progress and a better life. Facebook also invested in Unacademy, a Bangalore-based startup that offers online courses. Google, which invested in Indian edtech startup Cuemath, has also partnered with CBSE to train more than 1 million teachers in India and offer a range of free tools such as G Suite for Education, Google Classroom and YouTube to the digitization of support for the national learning experience.

“At Amazon, we think big, experiment and invest in new ideas to make customers happy. We also continually evaluate the progress and potential of our products and services to deliver customer value and make regular adjustments based on these assessments,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch.

“After an evaluation, we have made the decision to discontinue Amazon Academy. We are launching this program to serve existing customers.”

The company didn’t share why it was liquidating Academy, but ET Prime (paid), which first reported on the development, said the move was part of its ongoing effort to cut costs.

Amazon plans to cut about 10,000 jobs, according to media reports, and earlier this month it began cutting jobs at some companies, including equipment and services. Amazon has also shut down teams running AWS tutorials and other online courses, Business Insider reported.

In a memo Amazon has since released, CEO Andy Jassy said there will be more layoffs in the coming year.

Source: La Neta Neta