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How Indian education technology startups are going global

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Photo Source: Live Mint

By- Prashant K. Nanda

Three years into his business, Prateek Bhargava, founder of education technology startup Mindler, has ventured into five countries, including Russia and Singapore, and is evaluating few more markets abroad.

According to the firm that helps students in career assessment and counselling and planning, technology adoption in education delivery and assessment is growing as a sector, and it is better to venture out for a bigger market pie. “It’s no more about saturate in India before going global…if your product is good then why not,” said Bhargava.

Bhargava’s firm is not the only one.

Several Indian education technology firms have already either ventured abroad or are on the verge of entering suitable markets. Education technology firm Aspiring Minds have ventured into countries such as the US and China. Xseed Education has presence in countries, including The Philippines, Singapore and Middle-east Asia. Mobile application-based firm Byju’s (Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd) has already announced its intention to go global sometime this year.

While the trend augurs well for the sector and will ultimately benefit India’s huge education space, there are largely four primary reasons behind companies’ plans to go global — easy acceptance of their technology in teaching, learning and assessment, diversification, international recognition of what they are doing, improving their business proposition back home, and possible access to capital.

“If you have a globally completive product and a company with ambition, then it is wiser to go overseas,” according to Varun Aggarwal, co-founder of Aspiring Minds that specialises in education and talent assessment for both institutions and corporate houses. “We believe what we were doing in India can be replicated anywhere in the world. We are now in China, the US, The Philippines and parts of Africa. When you talk about global — for an Indian company like us it means two key market, China and the US. Other markets are small in comparison to India, China and the American market.”

At present, Aspiring Minds’ international business was contributing between 25% and 30% of the total revenue and had the potential to grow faster than the domestic market, Aggarwal said. In fact, one of his co-founders shifted to the US to expand markets there.

According to Aggarwal, companies such as them were venturing out because they believe they have a quality product, and clients want to have a global contract than a country specific contract, wider visibility and access to capital in key markets such as the US.

Education technology space was layered, with some focusing on the business to business market and some dealing with consumers directly, said Ashish Rajpal, founder of Xseed Education. Diversification was one of the key reasons for venturing into other markets, he added.

Bhargava of Mindler agreed. “In some of the international markets there is less competition, so you have an advantage. Besides, once you have done well abroad, your acceptance level back home goes up. Investors also look at startups more favourably if the product is diversified and well tested in different markets than just one.

posted Sep 25, 2018 by Gowri Vimalan

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By- Grin

How do you use technology to take schools lessons in multiple languages across Indian villages? Bhagya Rangachar’s CLT based in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, sometimes called India’s Silicon Valley for the concentration of tech firms in that city, shows the answer.

Bhagya Rangachar is founder of Bangalore-based education technology not-for-profit Children’s Lovecastles Trust, better known as CLT.

Rangachar was a software professional in the United States, who, on a trip back home to India was struck by the lack of opportunities available for children in her neighbourhood in rural Bangalore in south India. She took it upon herself to make a difference.

CLT India has partnered with MIT Media Lab and Museum of Science, Bostonto set up India’s only Intel Computer Clubhouse to provide opportunities to children in low income settings with access to the latest software and technologies.

CLT designs low-cost digital STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) content for school curriculum to enhance the classroom environment and improve learning outcomes. Currently, this education content is designed for Science, Math and English for Grades V to X and is used for teacher mediation through media like televisions, projectors, tablets and even phones. The content is currently available in English, Hindi and Kannada languages. The content is being developed in Marathi. The e-Patashale content is delivered through partnerships with other organizations in over 5,000 government classrooms in the villages of the state of Karnataka (whose capital is Bangalore), reaching out to 500,000 children. Students also learn how to make graphics and videos on their computers using Photoshop, Premier Pro and Corel Draw.

Since its inception in 2006, the organization has developed more than 14,000 interactive videos for grades 6–10 in STEM. Everyday teachers use these videos to prepare and conduct classes through different media — DVDs, mobile phones, and Android Mini PCs across 9,000 classrooms in government schools of rural Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

‘Ours is a plug and play model. We bring in focus on both pedagogy and technology. We have educationists and technologists on board. This enables us to bring the best content on devices that work in non-internet areas,’ says Rangachar who organisation now reaches around one million students in rural India and has raised funding of around Rs. 21 crores ($3.3 million).

It has set up more than 1,000 access points across India, which transmits information on what children are learning, where facilitators are stopping videos, what concepts children are revising. This data has multiple uses: further design of content, analysis of learning outcomes and so on.

But the journey is not over. CLT not only wants to expand access across India but also develop modules on other important issues such as financial planning and personal health. It is also setting up a private arm to share its content with affordable private schools.

Set up in 1997, the trust won Digital India Award given by India’s biggest news media conglomerate, the Times Group, in 2017.

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Photo Source: Franchise India

By- Shekhar A Bhattacharjee

India is a country on the rise, and the trajectory has been set for it to get a seat among the major powers of the world. In every sector, the country has time and again shown to be a reliable player. Whether we look at the automobile industry or e-commerce, industries have witnessed tremendous advancements in the recent past. In this new age of innovation, India needs to strengthen its foundations to continue the success it is currently enjoying. One of the core foundations that India needs to improve is its education sector. It has a population of 1.21 billion with 315 million students. When we take a closer look at the disparity between the number of eligible students and the ones who are currently perusing higher education, the figures are discouraging. Higher education institutions seem to have failed to inspire students to pursue further studies. The education system has fallen short of finding effective avenues to draw a picture of how beneficial higher education could be to climb the ladder in the Indian society.

The Indian education system is moving in the right direction but it needs a push. The education fraternity needs to collaborate with thought leaders and industry experts to form new strategies that can uplift the education system from its traditional roots to a new era of excellence. There are many ways to accomplish this task, but it needs to be a community effort, with all stakeholders participating to conceptualise a blueprint that redefines education in India. There are a few ways to achieve this objective, but few crucial steps need to be the bedrock of this new system.

Highlighting the importance of Non-STEM education

The Indian educational landscape is evolving rapidly and has been for a long time. This is very clear in many areas but it is never more significant than the rise in prominence of non-STEM education. It is an open secret that the Indian public has long favoured STEM subjects as the only legitimate course to a successful career path, but this has changed in the past decade. More and more students are opting for non-STEM subjects, choosing to complete their masters in design, arts, liberal arts, liberal education, humanities, social sciences, architecture, media and communication, and economics among others. It paints a bright future for an Indian education system that is not fixated on a future that only caters to STEM education. A latest research has shown that non-STEM courses have a high placement percentage in hotel management, applied arts and crafts. Indian education system will finally focus on creating skilled individuals who can lead the tide of change in all spheres of life. 

Implementing technology to suit the pedagogy

One of the main aspects of utilising technology in education is to understand how it fits within a structure of the entire education model. When new technology is used in the primitive classroom model, it may spell disaster for the whole education system. If an institute has all the latest equipment and gadgets, but the technology does not contribute to enriching learning experience, it’s not a worthwhile investment. Implementing technology in pedagogy can only be possible if the new educational model is re-structured around an interactive and dynamic environment that technology can provide. Teaching style plays a crucial role in making technology relevant in the classroom. Education technology that has been implemented needs to apply to what the learners require and within their preferred styles.

Student feedback is a vital method for a better learning experience

Educators around the world have assumed that they have all the answers when it comes to education policies and knowledge application techniques. Slowly they have realised the flaw in the system. During the process of implementing, few key players are left out of the equation, mainly students and their parents. As more and more institutions realise the need to keep pace with the rapidly changing education domain, they need new ideas and better data on the shortcomings of the current policies. Student and parent feedback have proved to be crucial aspects that have shown promising results. Most educators are trying to find the source for immediate feedback in areas of improvement, and they are working towards creating a roadmap to make real-time changes. Acquiring feedback from students has a long list of advantages for education institutions. Few institutions have taken the first step of implementing robust technology to get student feedback in real time and make the necessary changes, hence keeping them ahead of the curve. 

A promising future on the horizon for the youth of the nation

At this juncture, we have the unique opportunity to make a difference and inspire a new generation of young minds.  We need to move away from rewarding rote learning and replace it with a new system that encourages high expectations for success while celebrates individual differences and learning styles. With the emergence of new-age schools, it has become a real possibility in India. The country has begun to explore the benefits of new pedagogical approaches, assisted by digital technologies. It is a process that has yielded many results and transformed today's learning environments. Schools that do not follow the traditional curriculum have been more effective in meeting community expectations and managing educational resources more efficiently.

+2 votes

The number of Indian achievers in the Forbe '30 Under 30' list are disproportionately large, This year, for example, 45 of the 600 people listed are of Indian Origin. PIOs account for about 7.5% of the achievers, while PIO poplulation of the US is only 1.2% of the total.

But, interestingly, over the years an increasing number of Indian listees have founded startups. Ajay Yadav, for example, has founded Roomi, a tech startup that offers an app designed to address the perennial problem of finding a likeminded roommate to share an apartment with - helping you to locate suitable candidates, assess them via chat, search for apartments together, and finally rent the apartment.But, interestingly, over the years an increasing number of Indian listees have founded startups. Ajay Yadav, for example, has founded Roomi, a tech startup that offers an app designed to address the perennial problem of finding a likeminded roommate to share an apartment with - helping you to locate suitable candidates, assess them via chat, search for apartments together, and finally rent the apartment. Read more

+1 vote

 ​                                                                  Image credit: Mint

India spent 1.75% of the GDP (Centre and states combined) on EE, while private expenditure, admittedly an underestimation, was 0.71% of the GDP. Richer states spent less on EE as a % of their GDP, compared to the poorer states. There is significant variation across states in public expenditure per government school student and private expenditure per private school student.​                                             Ambrish Dongre | Avani Kapur | Vibhu Tewary​                                                                                         Accountability Initiative, Centre for Policy Research

On an average, higher the per capita income, higher is the public and private expenditure per government school student and per private school student, respectively. Differences in public expenditure on teacher salaries per government school student are also an important reason why public expenditure per government school student differs so dramatically across the states.

 Preliminary analysis shows that higher per student public expenditure (and per student private expenditure) is associated with higher proportion of students being able to read or do math of a particular level. But we argue that this fact should not be taken to mean that more expenditure is needed to improve learning levels because government expenditure on EE is highly inefficient. It produces low levels of outcomes at high expenditure. Changing this requires reorganizing the financial architecture by prioritizing learning outcomes and demanding accountability toward learning outcomes from all officials, above everything else.

Read more at :

+1 vote

Source: DH

The world and its sister know that education, especially from the age of six to 16, is crucial for every individual, for the society and for the nation. In the last two decades, the education system has undergone a sea change in many parts of the world. The pen and paper of the present generation is technology — every classroom, every teacher, and every student needs it. The old order may gasp at technological innovations, but we would do well to remember, that, for the young and the younger, these are blasé. It is their norm. So what is new in the education line across the world?

Be the change you want to see
Innovation is a word that gets tossed around quite a bit to describe a different approach in pedagogy practice, evaluation technique or policy change. As Albert Einstein pointed out correctly, “The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Given that growth and change are inevitable, learning and innovation have to go hand in hand. Countries across the world have put together curriculum and practice, best suited to their requirements.

A comparative study, titled ‘Innovative Practices in Teaching and Learning’, of different regions of the world has brought to light that the key areas of change have been in curriculum content, innovative pedagogic techniques, assessment and evaluation practices, and they drive to encourage schooling and implement change (especially in Third World countries). 

Why innovation?
The wisdom of the traditional and standard system of teaching and learning, while being sound in principle, lacked dynamism and flexibility, which was needed to cope with the ‘www’ culture. This change had to be effected where it mattered most — in schools and colleges. The arrogance of success is in thinking that what you did yesterday holds good for tomorrow. It does not. Therefore, the revamping of existing patterns and the reinventing of implementing change!

Early intervention
Early childhood education in Finland emphasises respect for each child’s individuality and allows each child to develop as a unique person. Finnish early educators have come up with a unique way to foster a culture of reading, wherein parents of newborn babies are given three books — one for each parent, and a baby book for the child — as part of the maternity package. Formal schooling begins at the age of six. Outdoor activities are stressed, even in the coldest weather; and homework is kept to the minimum to leave room for extracurricular activities.

Finland authorities insist on 10 years of compulsory schooling for every child, from every economic bracket. Parents are paid to participate in this drive and can run homeschooling programmes for their own and other children. The emphasis is on education, not the institution. 

Innovation in curriculum
In Finland, the entire education system is monitored by Municipal officials. Schools up to the university level are funded and administered by the local government. 

The transversal competences in the schools’ core were in the thinking and learning process, cultural competence and self-expression, self-care and basic life skill competence, information and communication technology competence and smart world entrepreneurial skills to help build a sustainable society.

The education thrust in Singapore is research intensive, and their innovation and enterprise programme based on the slogan ‘Thinking Schools, Learning Nation’ has taken off beautifully with phenomenal attitude change right from the primary level through secondary and university levels. The new approach allows for intellectual curiosity and a willingness to think originally and nurture individual ability and strengths. This learning atmosphere encompasses students, teachers, parents, workforce, companies, community organisations and the government. The whole nation learns and moves forward.

Rethinking pedagogy
Schools in England and elsewhere in English colonies felt the need to address not just curriculum content but the teaching methodology as well. Curriculum planners had a free hand to be creative in their approach to a subject. Thus, thematic design of lessons has found favour with teachers, as against the normal practice. The themes are drawn from the subject and they include topics like the impact of rivers on the environment and socio-economic growth. This basically gives them better perspective and helps them explore, assimilate, understand and create.

Certain subjects like English and Mathematics need discrete study of the subject; however, the students have enough opportunities to apply their literacy and numeracy skills during thematic learning sessions, involving simulation and role play.

New ways of assessing
New Zealand found that what worked for their high schoolers was an open posting of achievement data to egg them on. Almost like a performance chart or a scoreboard in sports. As a result, the climb and dips are up for peer assessment too and motivate the student to perform well consistently. Even the teachers come in for external evaluation by education inspectors, experts and senior faculty at regular intervals.

Projects and assignments have replaced unit tests. The system of grades and points has replaced the traditional percentage system. Closer home, our own Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has adopted this new method to ease conversion situations during admissions to universities.

In Finland, the assessment is an ongoing process, during the entire period of learning. Also to be noted is that the assessment is based on individual student’s skill and growth or progress. Evaluation of lesson plans and periodic appraisals keep the teacher’s creative juices flowing. The teaching staff strive to perfect their role of facilitators to motivate the student and allow for self-regulated learning and total involvement.

Drive to encourage schooling
Large pockets of our world are economically underdeveloped and the existing education system faces completely different challenges. The curriculum and teaching are not their primary concern. It is healthcare. In many parts of the African continent, the Education Department works with health officers and non-profit organisations to supply medicines to students in the school for deworming or to fight the malaria parasite, by providing insecticide-treated low-cost bed nets. The multi-pronged health drives to implement and promote education have been very successful, with attendance in schools going up by more than 55%.

A full circle
Our very own glorious Takshashila and Nalanda traditions and the ancient gurukula systems have been praised for all the right reasons. They have regained world recognition and high praise in recent times from scholars in foreign countries, who are clamouring to study Sanskrit — one of the oldest languages in use — to better understand the genesis of oriental philosophy, history, languages, sciences and culture, and discover some of the earliest thoughts and discoveries. In truth, India can give a few lessons to the world in developing genius and nurturing body, mind and soul, the essence of holistic education