Innovative entrepreneurs are redefining the way students view academics and schooling. Two education startups intend to change the old-school style of teaching by using technology to bring schooling to students anytime, anywhere. While one startup helps students with academics, the other helps them develop skill sets required for career-making.
While the school dropout rate in India has continued to be a headache for policymakers, the concept to make standard school education available round-the-clock to every student anywhere has crossed the minds of many, but has been actualised now by an IIT-ian.
Vikas Kakwani, a 1993 passout of IIT Roorkee and 1995 IIM passout, has launched AAS Vidyalaya (Anytime, Anywhere School) for students who do not have the privilege to go to a regular school.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Kakwani said, “Students drop out for genuine reasons. Poor financial condition forces a farmer’s son to help his father on the field instead of attending a daily school. However, this boy can still manage to work and study if he has the flexibility to choose the timings and pace of his class. That is what a child who wants to go to school can get from downloading AAS on their smartphone.”
According to Census data, 8.4 crore Indian children don’t attend school. Poverty, lack of availability and accessibility are the major reasons why children drop out of schools. On the other hand, India currently has a smartphone use base of over 300 million which is expected to cross 650 million by 2019.
AAS currently provides NCERT and NIOS syllabus for classes 6, 7 and 8 and also allows students to take tests and interact with teachers. “We plan to include higher classes too and get accredited with CBSE. Since we launched AAS in September 2017, we have managed to get 1,000 active users. We also intend to start AAS schools where with the help of a projector, chromecast and an Andriod phone, anybody who wants to start a school can do so even in a small room.”While academics form the core of education, in today’s competitive world, it is important for a child to find a career which they can feel passionate for. Cashing on this need of the modern world is another startup, The Bringle Academy, that uses psychometric tests to help students explore their interests and then accordingly develop a skill-set that can give them an early mover advantage. The Bringle Academy claims to have developed the first SkillTech platform that defines skill sets as hard skills, soft skills and life skills. Using their patented methodogy, the academy helps students understand their skills and their scope in the current dynamic world.
Anshav Jain, founder of Bringle Academy, said, “The current EdTech environment is focused only on hard skills which we define as acquired knowledge that constitute only 10% of the range of skills that a person requires. The rest 90%, which constitutes of soft and life skills, is not being monitored which is leading to the debate across nations for the SkillSets required to perform efficiently and effectively. Through our Skills Development Center for after school hours programme, we help them develop their interests.” The standard package of Bringle Academy starts at Rs 6,000-8,000 which is said to be lower than the money a family spends at day care.