Amazon Academy announced for India as part of education push

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with Amazon India Chief Amit Agarwal during the Amazon’s annual Smbhav event at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, on January 16, 2020 in New Delhi, India.

Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images

Amazon is pushing deeper into education with a new learning platform that’s designed to help students in India get into prestigious engineering colleges.

The so-called Amazon Academy, announced Wednesday, will be available through a new Android app and a website. It’s designed to help students prepare for the Joint Entrance Examination, which is an assessment conducted for admission to certain engineering colleges in India.

Amazon said Amazon Academy will include curated learning material, live lectures and assessments in math, physics and chemistry. The platform will also feature live mock tests that are designed to mimic the JEE exam experience. 

“Amazon Academy aims to bring high quality, affordable education to all, starting with those preparing for engineering entrance examinations,” said Amol Gurwara, director of education at Amazon India, in a statement.

“Our mission is to help students achieve their outcomes while also empowering educators and content partners reach millions of students. Our primary focus has been on content quality, deep learning analytics and student experience. This launch will help engineering aspirants prepare better and achieve the winning edge in JEE.”

Amazon said the content is currently available for free and “will continue to be for the next few months,” suggesting that it will eventually start charging students.

Amazon has a number of other education platforms and initiatives including AWS Educate, which is designed to help people get to grips with Amazon’s cloud platform, Amazon Web Services. There’s also Amazon Ignite, which connects educational content creators to Amazon customers and helps them sell things like lesson plans and classroom games as digital downloads.

Fellow U.S. tech giants Google and Apple have their own education offerings. Google for Education, for example, provides customizable versions of several Google products, while Apple offers discounts to students and teachers on its hardware.

Amazon in India

Home too over 1.3 billion people, India is a huge market. Amazon has been scaling up its operations over the last few years in the country, which still has a relatively nascent e-commerce market compared to its neighbor China and countries in the West.

Reports suggest that Amazon now employs over 65,000 people in the country although Amazon declined to comment when CNBC tried to confirm the figure. Last May, Amazon said it needed to hire 50,000 more temporary workers in India order to meet demand from Covid.

The Seattle-headquartered tech giant opened a vast new office with space for over 15,000 workers in Hyderabad in December 2019 that is reportedly the company’s single-largest building in the world.

Amazon’s online careers portal shows that the company is looking for software development engineers and front-end engineers in India to work on Amazon Pay, which is an online payments processing service owned by Amazon.

“We are seeking Sr. Engineers to build a payment platform that will offer new payment mechanisms for our millions of customers and enable the ‘cash to digital” economy,’ one job ad reads.

It continues: “Amazon India Payments has a bold vision to become the most trusted, widely accepted payment solution on and off Amazon, for both online and offline transactions. To execute on this vision, Amazon India is systematically investing in local product innovation in areas of payment experience, payment processing, innovative payment instruments and merchant solutions.”

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