Educational Initiatives has been working with school students across India through their platform which provides individual attention to each student. In this interaction, Anand Dani, Chief Business Officer, Educational Initiatives, speaks to us about his platform.
DQ – Tell us about your educational venture
Anand Dani – We test the children and identify their strengths and weaknesses. We aggregate this information for the entire group. We also identify their learning gaps, which may be because of various factors. We identify their strength areas, as a result their learning curve is higher than in a traditional school setting. We calculate a school’s benchmark against the international average. We work from grade 3 to grade 10 and identify the learning gaps in each grade. We try to bridge those learning gaps through our software solution. We try to take the children away from rote learning and apply critical thinking.
DQ – Have you built this platform in-house or have you taken the help of some multinational company to develop this platform?
Anand Dani – All our products are developed in-house. Earlier we had evolved them for large screen, but now we are developing them also for smaller screens.
DQ – Nowadays during lockdown period, how are you co-ordinating with the children?
Anand Dani – Our products are meant for physical schools, but they are also available online through Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other platforms. The challenge in this is that a lot of students don’t have broadband at home, or they’re dependent upon the mobile network. In a school a teacher used to teach about 30 students. But they are teaching online about a hundred students. When a lecture is being delivered to a large number of students online, parents also tend to become judgmental of the students. The products are personalised to suit every teacher. The teacher can teach through a video platform or can send a recorded lecture. The most important part is for the teacher to assess whether the student has learnt or not.
DQ – Are you also using data analytics and AI and ML?
Anand Dani – Yes we are using these. It helps us to understand which students have applied themselves to learning and which students have been idle. This helps the teacher to set different types of corrective measures for different sets of students, who may have been idle, who may have learnt but are not able to apply the learning to new settings and who have learnt and are ready to go ahead. When a majority of students are not able to learn a topic, the teacher knows this and repeats the topic.
DQ – What has been the response of this product and how is it being received by the schools?
Anand Dani – This is an old product that has been around for 20 years. When lockdown happened, the schools realised that they needed to engage with the students more closely. So, we opened our platform for 24 hours on all days. Teachers have the advantage that they can finish the mathematics during lockdown and when the lockdown ends, they can devote their time to other subjects. The use of this product has increased during lockdown.
DQ – Are you also going to smaller towns and villages?
Anand Dani – We have worked with the government schools of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana. We have discovered by using our products the learning level of a student increases by four times in mathematics and 2 times in languages.
DQ – What is your marketing strategy? Do you directly reach your end clients or do you go through a long chain of intermediaries?
Anand Dani – This has been mostly a B2B venture. Only recently we have begun to do B2C, because all this while B2B has been a good success story for us. Today we have cash in our balance sheet. 20 years ago, there was no edutech available. But we began from there and worked our way upwards. If you look at our retail price today, we’d be the most competitive value-for-money product in the market.
DQ – Are there any challenges in this field?
Anand Dani – The major challenge I see is that in most edutech systems, it’s a uniform teaching without focusing on the individual differences in learning level. An intelligent learning tech should be able to identify the unique learning levels of each students and personalise the learning experience for each student.