Fri, Nov 16, 2018

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Interviews

On-line Tutoring did not find much traction in small cities and had an adverse impact on unit econom 31/10/2017

Interviewed By Dr. Dilip N. Pandit 

I achieved great success in my career in technology. But I felt that the current education system is not perfect. So I joined top educational institutes of the country to learn about education field. Now I am using my knowledge in DronStudy to revolutionize education by use of technology.

We often hear the phrase, “Chase your dreams” and to be fair, many startup founders live this philosophy and can go to any lengths to make it happen. It was rather refreshing to meet one such individual, the Founder of DronStudy, one who has gone to great lengths himself in making a difference.  Sharing the journey of DronStudy in India – important landmarks etc. And his story weaved alongside.

A brilliant engineer, Neetin passed out from IIT Madras and joined Texas Instruments in Bangalore in the year 2006. Notwithstanding a well-paying and secured job,and yet, something kept gnawing at his heart constantly. He hails from an entrepreneurial family so it was only a matter of time that the bug bit him too. There wasn’t anything wrong with the job per se, a satisfying one at that, but deep within he knew that he wasn’t impacting society in any way. There are numerous ways one can be impactful so the next question was about zeroing in on a particular field.

This was the year 2009 and the startup mania had still not caught on even in Bangalore. After much thought it was decided that chosen field would be the education sector, an area which was grossly under-served. As he discussed the plans with some chosen people, it was advised that before plunging into it headlong it would be wiser to secure his moorings as an insider. At that time he had only a limited view of the education sector in India, as one would expect of “outsiders.”

He quit the job and decided to move to Kota and join Bansal Classes as a Physics teacher. Life was anything but easy. In the next 4 – 5 years, he would spend working in different institutes as a senior faculty and gain a first-hand experience about how the student’s mind functions - the ways in which they learn. He said that it was an eye-opener for him to teach Calculus to students in 20 days, a subject which was developed by Issac Newton over a period of 2 years.

He kept pondering on a certain idea, that of making the weaker students learn a subject (any) to create a sustainable model which couldthen be scaled up. DronStudy was conceptualized in 2013 based on the philosophy of blending education and technology to deliver quality education to the masses.

Neetin had a rather interesting observation to share. In India, especially in the lower- middle income groups, certain desperation persists when it comes to children’s education. More so, when the options are few. Families have been known to sell off properties in trying to fund for education. Though education is in great demand, there is a dearth in the quality of teachers. Harsh as it may sound, but an overriding general perception is that it is only the “unsuccessful” lot which chooses teaching as a profession. Or, has it thrust upon them. 

The good – great teachers are few and far between, and moreover, not easily affordable or accessible by the masses. So, DronStudy struck upon the problem statement that required to be addressed. They tried various models and a few of them didn’t do well either. For instance, On-line Tutoring did not find much traction in small cities and had an adverse impact on unit economics.

After much experimentation, the present model was arrived at. They started to collaborate with teachers across the country and have an in-house team create video lectures which finally reached the enrolled students at an affordable cost. For teachers, it was a win-win situation as they were able to increase their outreach manifold. But it wasn’t as straightforward as it may seem to be. This is because, a certain methodology may be most effective in an offline mode of delivery but may not get the desired results online, and will have to be re-designed accordingly.