In order to connect parents with teachers and students while also safeguarding everyone’s privacy and to make quality education accessible, Eckovation came into existence, shares Ritesh Singh, CEO of Eckovation with Elets News Network (ENN)
Why prompted you to launch the initiative?
I am from a Tier III town – Chhapra in Bihar. Although I was an average student during school, the coaching I received in Kota helped me crack IIT-JEE entrance exam. When I came to IIT, I interacted with other students on a sustained basis. I was quite shocked at the quality of education that they had access to in their cities. Lack of quality education implies denial to equal opportunity and traps economically disadvantaged people in a vicious cycle.
I always wanted to make quality education accessible even in places where only minimal infrastructure exists. That’s how Eckovation came into being.
What was the most challenging part of setting up your company?
The most challenging part was identifying critical issues and fitting solutions that could directly impact quality of education. Before we finalised the concept of the product, Akshat (co-founder of Eckovation) and I travelled across the country and researched the market for almost a year. We first explored MOOCs, but they were cumbersome and required a lot of self-discipline on the users’ part. Next, we thought of providing data analytics through an ERP system that monitors a child’s performance and equips teachers and parents with sufficient data to improve a child’s performance by finding gaps, weaknesses and strengths. But looking at the size of a normal classroom, the actual implementation seemed extremely difficult and would have required greater efforts from the teachers instead of simplifying their lives.
We also did a pilot study with 30,000 students across four cities to understand the gaps. We observed that parents are not in the loop, when it comes to classroom teaching. The turnout of parents for PTMs is a mere 15-20 per cent. This needed to be fixed. So, we decided to build a product that brings together all actors of education – parents, students, teachers and school administration. Eckovation not only helps connect parents with teachers and students while safeguarding everyone’s privacy, but it also connects students to teachers who are willing to transfer knowledge beyond their classrooms.
Who do you see as your target audience? How are you reaching out to them?
Everyone who falls in the category of an educator or a learner at any point in their lives is our target audience. Our best outreach is through network effect. However, we also engage with our audience on social media and traditional media.
What are the major benefits for institutions/individuals adopting your solutions?
Eckovation has something to offer to everyone. Since communication is the heart of education, institutions are using it for school-level and classroom communications. We recently launched “I Teach India” campaign that urges individuals to create groups and teach subjects of their choice. Since users are the best judges of quality, the algorithm allows penetration of only high quality groups, thereby ensuring quality.
How much competition do you have to face, and what is the biggest hurdle you come across?
In terms of competition, there are quite a few international players, however, none in India so far. Also, our biggest challenge is limited smartphone penetration. But, we are quite hopeful looking at the rate at which it’s growing. This has inspired us to innovate and feature the SMS integration technology on the mobile and web platform.
Where do you see your company in 5 years time?
We want to help set the standard for quality education in the next five years and be present in everyone’s smartphone as app, if they want to learn anything. We aim to reach 1 billion users by 2020.