Education is not just a way to explore and expand one’s inner horizons but it is also a way to transform lives. It is that glorious star which can flush light into every dark corner. It is a ray of optimism in the face of sheer hopelessness. Education can change the world and for good! The valuable asset that we receive in the form of learning prompts up to acknowledge the efforts of educators in our life.
Someone said, “Thank a teacher if you are able to read this!” While it is undeniably true that teachers and gurus play an important role, it is time we also acknowledge the frontrunners who are practically solving the education crisis in India by devising smart strategic pedagogies to align educators and learners powered and levelled up by the latest technologies.
This teacher’s day, let us take a step ahead and express heartfelt gratitude to the influencers who empowered the education ecosystem with bright ideas coupled with entrepreneurial and leadership skills. We list down three such remarkable leaders who disrupted the education landscape in unimaginable ways and broke boundaries to make learning accessible to all.
Abhishek Chakraborty comes from a socially driven family from a mining town Dhanbad. His stint with entrepreneurship began at 16 when he started a livelihood initiative for the rickshaw pullers. Abhishek was always passionate about enabling excellent education for everyone. His passion led him to endeavour that was going to change millions of lives through education. Leaving his corporate aspiration behind, he incepted Build A Class in 2010, a social enterprise focused on building affordable schools for the lower-income families. Good with numbers, Abhishek scaled his venture from 1000 students to 3.5 million students on the principles of “Economies of Scale” and adopted Hybrid Channel Business Approach. The idea of the product is different as it affects the masses making quality education affordable, accessible, acceptable and adaptable. In conversation with The Logical Indian, Abhishek says, “These 4 A’s are crucial for the spread of quality education to the masses in spite of several infrastructural and human resource challenges.”
Abhishek is disrupting the Education Technology with “Hurrey”, a patented content delivery technology which ensures every person on this planet has access to curated content based on their learning journey.
In the last decade Build A Class & Hurrey has built more than 18000 classrooms reaching to more than 3.5million students.
Abhishek’s intention through this hybrid technology model is to provide last-mile access to education and content. The idea behind his technology aims to bring uniformity in the field of content delivery and teaching. What sets his idea of establishing a hybrid education system apart is to make quality classes ‘inclusive’. It is to make education limitless, unrestricted and unhindered.
Currently Hurrey operates out of India, Africa and South-East Asia expanding further to the war zones to provide students with a no-miss opportunity to learning.
A girl of eighteen wanted to change the state of education in India for under-resourced children. When Shaheen Mistri was twenty years old in the year 1989, she founded Akansha Centre, a non-profit where she enrolled fifteen children. She began by employing her friends and volunteers to teach at the centre. With time, eventually, the non-profit centre evolved into Akansha Foundation. Determined and persistent, she continued to tutor the students from low-income families. Today, the Akansha Foundation stands tall with over 6500 children being educated at the centre primarily located across schools in Mumbai and Pune.
Shaheen, they say, is a woman of outstanding vision. She wanted to create an excellent network of leaders who would commit to the goal of bringing educational equality in India. She pursued this difficult ambition and that is how the classic ‘Teach For India’ came about in the year 2009. In conversation with The Logical Indian she said, “For the past decade, we’ve worked towards the daunting vision of education for all children in India. We’ve created a movement of leaders for education and each one of them gives me, and all of us the hope that the education system can change”. No wonder she inspires thousands of outstanding young professionals that teaching those for whom education may be a privilege is a very tangible way to give back to the country. Fellows of Teach For India more often than not leave behind a high paying job in order to lead, to teach and to take collective action.
The national predicament of Indian students is to qualify various competitive exams like IIT-JEE, IIM, NEET, UPSC etc. However, urban middle-class students who otherwise have great aspirations and dreams are mostly not able to afford the high prices of coaching centres. When Gaurav Munjal started a Youtube Channel in the year 2010 from his college dorm room, it spread like wildfire. Five years later, in the year 2015, IAS qualified Roman Saini and another educator Hemesh Singh who previously ran ‘Flatchat with Gaurav’ joined Gaurav and decided to make a formal coaching platform.
With millions of hits, Unacademy became a favourite online learning platform for students aspiring to crack various competitive exams. Today, Unacademy has on-boarded and channelised over 10,000 teachers and gets more than 165 million video views a month.
The success of Unacademy goes on to prove that sometimes in life when you go against the tide to make significant value addition in the lives of others, you might end up raising $88.6 million. In February of 2019, Unacademy launched its paid product ‘Unacademy Plus’ where students can live stream online classes. In an interview with CNBC18News, Gaurav Munjal said, “ For three and a half years we were focussing on building a platform for educators and learners where educators would create content that was freely accessible to the learners.” He continues, “ We felt that we need to monetise. We need to develop a revenue model to retain our educators and that’s where we launched Unacademy Plus in February this year.”
The Logical Indian marvels at the minds of these brilliant young entrepreneurs who have successfully been able to transform lives in unimaginable ways. It is true that what makes an idea profound is simply the way it is executed. These endeavours have led to a significant paradigm shift in the way we approach, address and solve the education crisis in India. We believe everyone deserves to know that mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, everyone deserves to know the BODMAS rule and everyone deserves to know who Shakespeare was!