Amazon to shut down its online learning platform in India • TechCrunch

Amazon will shut down Amazon Academy, an online learning platform launched in India for high school students last year, the company announced on Thursday.

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

Amazon officially launched the Academy, previously called JEE Ready, early last year, but had been testing the platform since mid-2019. The Academy sought to help students prepare for admission to the nation’s renowned engineering schools.

The service offered curated learning materials, live lectures, mock tests and comprehensive assessments to help students learn and practice math, physics and chemistry and prepare for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), an engineering entrance assessment with the government support conducted in India for admission in the various engineering colleges in the country.

The comprehensive offering from the company had prompted some to believe that Amazon might make a major inroad into the education market and could pose a threat to the likes of Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu.

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

More than 260 million children attend school in India, and much of the population sees education as the key to economic progress and a better life. Facebook has also invested in Unacademy, a Bangalore-based startup that offers online learning courses. Google, which has invested in Indian tech 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 for to help digitize the educational experience in the country.

“At Amazon, we think big, experiment and invest in new ideas to delight customers. We also constantly evaluate the progress and potential of our products and services to deliver value to customers and regularly make adjustments based on those evaluations,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch.

“After evaluation, we have made the decision to discontinue Amazon Academy. We are phasing out this program to take care of current customers.”

The company did not share why it was closing Academy, but ET Prime (paywalled), which first reported the development, said the move was part of ongoing cost-cutting measures.

Amazon plans to cut about 10,000 jobs, according to media reports, and began eliminating roles in some divisions, including devices and services, earlier this month. Amazon also shut down groups doing AWS courses and other online courses, Business Insider reported.

In a memo, which Amazon has since released, CEO Andy Jassy said there will be more layoffs next year.

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