The pandemic has adversely affected the education of students all over the country. Sudents who are at a critical juncture of their educational journey are finding it difficult to manage their studies due to the lockdown. Students belonging to less privileged families who couldn't afford expensive EduTech products feel they're lagging in their career trajectories.
With the incoming of expensive EdTech solutions, the digital divide among students in rural and urban areas has widened among students. While technology has indeed helped teachers to take classes online, individual attention to students remains a problem in the online model. Besides this, the patchy broadband speeds and the very access to mobile and/or internet at home have been a problem for many students who are not able to take live classes seamlessly.
For ensuring that no one stays behind in getting access to resources, Imbesat Ahmed has devised FILO mobile app which can provide instant doubt clearance on a video call from experts to students. The application enables senior secondary students to have their questions answered by the experts of related subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics & Biology) in real-time, ideally in less than 60 seconds over video call for free.
An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, Imbesat Ahmad has been teaching higher secondary kids in conflict-ridden Kashmir and has helped more than 1000 students enter some of the most coveted institutions in India as well as abroad. The name, Filo that means friend, connects students to experts on video call just like a friend in need over WhatsApp.
Speaking with The Logical Indian about the app, Imbesat Ahmad says," Previously, when I taught students in Kashmir, I observed how they became anxious when they were unable to find small guidance with the lack of proper communication channel. Once the lockdown was announced, I could sense the immense pressure that students must be facing with the lack of resources. Keeping this in mind, I started working on the app around March. I first gave a deep thought in students' perspective looking at their needs, data safety, easiness to use. Then I started the design part and then from April, my team started coding it."
The app has been witnessing a staggering response, with enrolments from over 4000 students across India and over 350 experts have contacted them in only the last two weeks since its launch. In just over two weeks 30,000 minutes of sessions have been conducted by them. The experts at Filo comprise a team of undergraduates from the country's best institutes like the IITs, NITs, medical colleges, top Science colleges and working professionals as well. A significant feature of the app is that any student can revise notes, learn something new, get some advice or clear doubts talking to experts even at odd hours.
"Students look up to the tutors they find on our platform because they have already aced some of the most competitive national-level entrance examinations. They are also comfortable in sharing their questions and doubts without the stigma of any embarrassment in front of their classmates. Under the mentorship of these tutors, students can prepare for their subsequent classes beforehand and get answers to topics that they miss out on in their regular classes. The doubt-solving sessions have been helpful in both preventing a buildup of queries, as well as enhancing the learning speed of the students." shares Imbesat Ahmad, founder of Filo, while talking with The Logical Indian
The app was also noticed by the Ministry of Education and it has been integrated with the National Digital Library of India. The content developed by specialists will be archived in the library. With this app, it is expected that more students will be able to get their doubts cleared and even with the disruption of their usual schooling or coaching sessions, they will be able to carry on with their studies.
Talking about online education amid the pandemic, Imbesat Ahmad said," Most of the existing products online target students from metro cities and the products are priced accordingly. Students from tier- 2 towns and downwards had literally no resource person to guide and mentor whereas a very small fraction of society got access to quality content over high-speed internet. The accessibility of such quality content is crucial for students hailing from non- metro cities as well. Most students need proper guidance, as well as they, want to plan which course to opt for after passing their boards."
Each query resolved over the app for any student could counsel him in the right direction in his career ahead. The app is not only restricted to solving subject-related problems, but also aids in providing academic counselling to JEE/NEET aspirants. It also answers important questions which they may have concerning admissions, faculty, fee structure, and more. The Logical Indian appreciates the efforts of Imbesat Ahmad for working on the problem of accessibility of online education in such challenging times.