In a recent conversation with Dev Ralhan, CEO & Co-founder, Next Education India Pvt. Ltd, which partnered with Capgemini as Edu-tech enabler.
Challenges in Running an Edutech Business
The Edutech business started with distance learning and now it has reached to the point where it is not confined to just the computer or internet connection.
Due to the boom of smartphones, teenagers and below-25 years-olds have access to smartphones more in 2018-19 than they did in 2016-17, including those living in tier-II and tier-III cities.
This gave rise to the edutech startups to start their business online, but how many of them have successfully firmed their base in India?
India is still a very fresh and soft ground for the edutech companies, yet brands like Byju’sbecame the unicorn in the edutech business placing India in the world map. It is the most valued edu-tech company across the globe.
In a recent conversation with DevRalhan, CEO & Co-founder, Next Education India Pvt. Ltd, which partnered with Capgemini as their Edutech enabler, he told us that the project started with Next Education providing equipment and infrastructure to six education NGO partners of Capgemini across nine cities. By offering the solutions of TeachNext and NextBooks, the company plans to bring about a positive change in government schools and support teachers in making their classrooms interactive, creative and more engaging.
Ralhan says, “Till now, only our digital classroom solutions and books were being used by Capgemini for their educational ventures. Now, a deal on other products, such as experiential learning kits, is also in the pipeline.”
What are the challenges that come in the way of an Edutech company? How did you overcome them?
Ralhan says, “When we started off a decade ago, most academicians were unaware of the teaching methods suited for digital learning. It took us almost 1-2 years to train subject matter experts and make them proficient in designing a robust curriculum.”
He adds, “We always worked hard to ensure minimum error rates so that the day-to-day activities of a classroom were unaffected. Choosing reliable hardware and ensuring an effective support service for our products proved to be quite a challenging task back then. But we have proudly lived up to our goals and gone that extra mile to cater to all the needs of our clientele. We have also honed our approach so that every nuance and detail is well addressed.”
Ralhan elaborates that “Initially, the sector was resistant to change. Chalk-and-talk in a classroom was good enough a decade ago and principals and school management didn’t really understand the need for interactive boards and other tools of digital education till they were introduced to them. We organised multiple workshops and seminars across the country, and still continue to do so, aiming to educate the key decision makers in the sector and bring forth a revolution in teaching-learning strategies.”
He adds, “We faced a lot of challenges with vendors as well. We paid vendors and they promised on-site support for hardware. However, many a time we were disappointed. Therefore, we built an additional layer with our hardware support team, so that daily teaching-learning activities didn’t get hampered.The high attrition rate of teachers is also an issue as the new teachers appointed were sometimes not well-versed in digital learning tools. Today, we try to meet the challenge with continuous year-round teacher training programmes.”