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May, 21 2012

Imparting Profitable Skills Online

Who says no for making fast bucks in the comfort of their homes? Now, what are you thinking? Put your thinking cap on and get started with part-time home-based online tutoring business as it sets to take off in no time.

For highly qualified tutors, the opportunity lies in online tutoring businesses, as they can be run from home and can be taken up on part-time basis initially, and once one starts getting returns, one can switch over to full-time business. For raking in the money, online tutoring business turns out to be a blessing in disguise for tutors who have not been able to tread on their career path owing to unavoidable circumstances. According to industry estimates, the global private tutoring market is projected to surpass $152 billion by the year 2015, driven by the growing desire of parents to secure children's future through supplementary education.

Now, the highly developed technology allows home tutors to join the league of online tutoring companies that offer an opportunity to teachers who are keen on making bucks while sitting in their homes. By breaking the barriers of traditional methods of home tutoring, online tutoring has become the newest rage among not only students but working professionals also. The growing dependence on technology, availability of qualified teachers, internet accessibility, and round-the-clock rendezvous with the virtual world are a few of the factors that have actually fuelled the rise of online tuitions in India.

Market potential

Factors such as household income levels, government regulations, and students' learning objectives influence uptake of private tutoring services. “India has emerged as a key player in the outsourcing of online tutoring services. Online tuitions industry in India is well structured, professional and comprises tutors with core linguistic and academic capabilities, and superior performance and dedication levels as compared to other tutors worldwide. The availability of quality tutors offering services at affordable costs is one of the primary factors for India's significant presence in the e-tutoring market,” says Layak Singh, Founder and Director of iWantTutor.com.

Therefore, it is further anticipated that online tutoring sector is slated to create fruitful business opportunities for B.ED teachers. Though it was moving at a snail's pace at the initial stages, the sector is today expected to make it big in coming times, as many youngpreneurs are upbeat and keen on making fast bucks through this unique business opportunity. Currently, the online tutoring industry in India is dominated by select players such as Tutorvista.com, Edukart.com, iWantTutor.com, Teacherni.com, and MathGuru, to name a few. The online tutoring industry also acts as a pillar of support for the supplementary and vocational training industry in India.

Gone are the times when home tutoring was the only option for students and their parents to go for. As the digital revolution swiftly penetrates India, students in India can also get virtually trained whenever they want while sitting in their homes. Online tutoring in India is the newest rage among school and college going students, the candidates who aspire to appear in competitive examinations, and working professionals who wish to upgrade their educational qualifications.

Opportunity in online tutoring

It's basically a procedure wherein a live tutor teaches the student through a virtually connected environment, wherein a one-to-one coaching is offered by making use of whiteboards with the tutors. Through a live-tutoring session, both teacher and student are able to see and talk to each other just like a tutoring session is conducted in a class. It is reckoned as the most convenient methods wherein a student gets the advantage of taking lessons while sitting at home and without spending a single penny on fuel. For instance, Teacherni.com, a comprehensive education portal, allows tutors to teach by using Cisco-based virtual classroom and innovative presentation and approaches to learning. At Teacherni, students can connect with quality tutors under one roof and study from the comfort of their own homes at their convenience. While iWantTutor.com, a unit of Fullerene Solutions & Services, is a market leader in a wide spectrum of techno - business consulting and educational services. They provide world-class tutoring and high-quality education to students around the world through a proprietary application where a student and tutor can communicate.

While pursuing his Engineering from NSIT (DU), Ishan Gupta, CEO at EduKart.com, realised that the higher education system in India needs more private participation to improve the quality of education and this thought inspired him to start his own venture. It was his passion for bringing improvement in the existing education system that further led him to start EduKart.com. At EduKart.com, they believe in reaching out to a large number of audience with industry relevant education at affordable prices.

Online tutoring - hit or miss?

The big question that ticks one’s mind, is will it be a lucrative opportunity for tutors or entrepreneurs, who may be willing to work from home? Is it going to be sustainable in the long run? Adding fervently to it, Ishan Gupta of EduKart.com says: “I think online education business is extremely lucrative and scalable business opportunity for young entrepreneurs. With the onset of e-commerce in India, online education is becoming a rage among college students as well as working professionals. Online education in India will definitely gain pace steadily and will be the first choice of young entrepreneurs.”

On the other hand, Layak Singh of iWantTutor.com says: “Home-based online tutoring is the best way to assist the students, who are weak or need help in a particular topic. It is a very good business if you want to work part time and want to generate good revenues; but it also depends on the quality of tutors you have. In our case, as we belong to IIT, so all our tutors are from these top colleges and we also look into the projects to give them better guidance.”

Delivering quality service to the end consumers is also a major concern. Online tutors are selected on the basis of their qualification in the subject of their interest. In terms of judging the quality of education, it's the student who is going to decide. If he secures high marks, the news will spread rapidly either through word of mouth or social networking sites.

Dhaval Mehta of Teacherni.com says: “With increasing competition and burden of education, students need something that will make their life easier. For teachers too, it is a very lucrative business opportunity, as they can earn a good sum simply sitting at home and teaching for a few hours a day. Especially for teachers, who cannot travel due to personal reasons like health or young children, online tutoring provides the best mode of income. With an average Rs 225 an hour, teachers can easily earn approximately Rs1, 000 a day just by four hours of online tutoring.”

Recruitment process

Home-based online tutoring business is regarded as the best bet for tutors or eduprenuers, who wish to earn bucks in the comfort of their homes. For teachers, online tutoring acts as the perfect avenue to start from. To avoid hampering the brand's image, online tutoring companies follow the strict criteria of selecting the right tutor. In the case of Teacherni.com, tutors go through a rigorous recruitment process consisting of a written/oral technical test, online demo, and a personal interview after which a thorough background and reference check is conducted. They prefer tutors with a bachelor's degree in Education or an M.Phil. But tutors are required to have a minimum bachelor's degree in their subject and at least three years of relevant experience.

On the other hand, iWantTutor.com follows a three-step recruitment process to hire a tutor. Says Layak Singh: “First of all we ask for their CVs and past work, if any, our team shortlists them based on their expertise and past experience. Secondly, we assign the tutor a demo project to work in his own area of expertise. If the tutor's skills and expertise match our standards, we finally ask for a telephonic / personal /video conferencing interview. If the tutor fits best in all, we hire him as tutor /subject expert to work full time or part time.”

Hiccups in starting a business

At a start-up stage, businesses go through a series of challenging situations. Changing the parents' perception from home-based tutoring to online tutoring is quite a daunting task. Internationally, the concept of home-based online tutoring is already a success. To replicate the success in India, the organised players in home-based online tutoring industry have taken an initiative to provide the best quality services to students sitting across the globe. According to Dhaval Mehta: “The biggest challenge of operating an online tutorial business in a developing country like India is all about changing the mindset of parents and students regarding online tutoring. Parents have a misconception that they will have to purchase expensive gadgets or software for online tutoring; or that the child will have to type to communicate with students, while some worry about the effectiveness of online tutoring. Another major challenge is the lack of access to technology to receive online tutoring. In addition to a computer, a high speed internet connection is required restricting access to many students.”

However, Layak Singh of iWantTutor.com has a different opinion. He says: “The major challenges in online tutoring business are to find the pool of quality tutors or subject experts. Also, some people think it can be one as part time, but mostly it doesn't work completely. You need to have full time tutors to provide 24x7 services. Tutors also have to work in different time zones; so many tutors don't agree to work easily. Ensuring quality and delivery in time are also some more challenges in online tutoring business. Failing in timely delivery and quality of the work leads to the fall of the business soon.”

What all is needed for starting from home?

Be it women, entrepreneurs or working professionals, online tutoring turns out to be a profitable proposition, as it allows one to work conveniently from home. Pointing on the investment and other infrastructure requirements, Layak Singh adds: “For online tutoring business, entrepreneurs need to have a computer with internet connection, fully functional website, and skilled tutors. The total minimum investment will be around 60,000-100000 initially. This business can be run from home, the only resources required is the pool of subject experts with computer knowledge. Full time tutors and quality assurance team can also be hired for better services.”

Dhaval Mehta, on the other hand, feels differently. He says: “It has become expensive to start a business in India now, due to many constraints, including the brand mentality of Indian consumers. They want good service at affordable prices. To start an online tutoring business needs dedication and commitment from your group of tutors.” He adds: “You have to build a good team of tutors and provide flexibility to your students in terms of timings. You have to select the right technology and provide good digital content. One person alone can only market oneself to an extent. Alternatively, one can take videos of one’s teachings and put them on YouTube or share them on royalty basis with an online tutoring company.”

Outsourcing services from India

India's online tutoring industry is riding high on success as foreign students are too keen to outsource tutoring services from India, as the market has an enormous talent pool of qualified teachers in almost every field. Internationally, though the concept is extremely popular, the online tutoring industry stays far behind when it comes to delivering a service at a reasonable price. India's online tutoring services industry offers its services to foreign students as well at affordable rates. Dhaval Mehta feels: “Online tutoring is growing by leaps and bounds on an outsourcing basis in other countries. As tutoring is expensive in first world countries, including the US, the UK, Europe, and Australia, many students from these countries have resorted to getting quality tutors through online tutoring companies.”

Maintaining quality on a par

Either online or offline, every business strives for delivering quality services to the end-consumers. In a brick-and-mortar business, it may be easy to conduct audits, while in an online business, the situation is different. Talking about keeping an eye on the tutor's/entrepreneur's performance in online tutoring business, Layak Singh says: “We have our process to check the quality of tutors from time to time, and also when we assign the task to tutors, the tutor needs to send the proposal or demo of what he is going to teach or write. We send that demo or proposal to the student and check if the tutor meets the student's need. In the meantime, we also take some demo tests of the tutors and train them according to the global need to ensure their quality and performance.” In the case of teacherni.com, Dhaval Mehta says: Consulting contracts are made with each tutor, which are legally binding with confidentiality clauses. After sufficient demos, training sessions, and background checks, a tutor is selected to teach students.”

The way forward

Expressing his views on the scope of online tutoring business, Layak Singh, adds: “The home based online tutoring is quite wide and by 2015 the online tutoring business will surpass the $152 billion market. In India, this market will be of Rs 3500 crore in the next 3 years. Currently, the industry is at a nascent stage and is set to take off in a big way in the coming times, as students nowadays are highly internet as well as techno-savvy. For teachers/tutors, it certainly offers an opportunity to work from home. Hiring a tutor at home can turn out to be an expensive proposition for parents. Therefore, taking aid from online portals and offering an affordable solution for education is going to be an apt choice.

Online is inline

The global private tutoring market is projected to surpass $152 billion by the year 2015, driven by the growing desire of parents to secure children's future through supplementary education.

The home based online tutoring is quite wide and by 2015 the online tutoring business will surpass the USD $ 152 billion market. In India, this market will be of Rs 3500 crore in the next 3 years.

Home-based online tutoring business is regarded as the best bet for tutors or eduprenuers who wish to earn bucks in the comfort of their homes.

India’s online tutoring industry is riding high on success as foreign students are too keen to outsource tutoring services from India, as the market has an enormous talent pool of qualified teachers in almost every field. Internationally, though the concept is extremely popular, the online tutoring industry stays far behind when it comes to delivering a service at a reasonable price.

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