Indiannica is today a pioneer in creating products that foster exploratory learning, guiding learners to attain the right attitude to seeking knowledge, says Sumit Gupta, Managing Director, Indiannica Learning Pvt Ltd, in an interview with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN).
What is mission of Indiannica Learning?
Our mission at Indiannica Learning is enriching experience of the learners. Today’s learning is rote- learning developed initially with a focus on not on learning but on getting good marks irrespective of student understanding the concept or not. So, this is what we are working on to develop the solutions that make learning interesting and interactive.
What innovations are you introducing to make the content more enriching for learners?
We are trying to develop the kind of solutions which rather than pushing the students towards learning, fascinates them towards it. As we all know that the best learning is what we gain after experiencing something rather than reading or studying. So, we are developing games, animations, videos and graphics using technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to make the learning more interesting.
Indiannica is working on curriculum and digital interface, what are the focus areas in curriculum as well as in digital interface?
In curriculum space, there are text book publishers which B2B (Business to Business) and most of these publishers are using digital component as a gimmick and others are edtech players which are B2C (Business to Customer). Due to paucity of time, we need learning solutions which comprised text book, digital solutions which may be online or in form of an application. This is exactly what Indiannica Learning is doing. We are serving K-12 segment and developing the digital solutions inclined with the curriculum.
What are your expansion plans in India and globally?
We have very ambitious plans of expansion. Presently, we cover only 45 per cent of the total market and we are planning for gradual increase in the market coverage in the upcoming years.
The second is portfolio increase. We are investing heavily into that for developing physical products i.e. digital and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) along with the curriculum products. This is what we believe will give us the required growth. We are very cautious about price hike and last year there was no increase in our prices. Personally, I would like this company to be three times of its assets in next three to four years.
As per our vision, India and beyond, we want to be the most trusted learning solution company in India and beyond. In early ages, India used to be the knowledge provider to the world and we want to continue that legacy through our various tested products. We have our business in Srilanka and we are planning for expansion in the SAARC countries as well.
We believe “What India thinks today, the world will think tomorrow”. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of “Make in India”, we partnered with Britannica and named the organisation as Indiannica. Today, the world is looking at us and our Government is also focusing a lot on health and education. We are in the education arena and here we can do a lot to serve our customers.
We are trying to develop the kind of solutions which are rather than pushing the students towards learning is pulling or attracting them towards it. As we all know that the best learning is what we gain after experiencing something rather than reading or studying.
What are your plans for working with the Government?
As a business, we are focusing only on private sector. We have kept our market very limited to ICSE, CBSE and few State board schools. As we see that NCERT is being pushed a lot, though it is not able to supply the books and NCERT books are no match to our books in terms of quality, we are looking for engagement with the Government in textbook side. We are already supplying books to Army schools along with few State board schools.
What challenges are you facing?
In a majority of schools infrastructure is unavailable. It is important to understand that teachers are not burden. The average class size nowadays is of 40 students and if a teacher is teaching three sections of three classes, he/she is dealing with 300 to 400 students. In addition to that they have to prepare tests, check test copies and perform other duties as well. So, reducing the burden on teachers is important which is possible digitally. Providing assessment solutions, test generators will reduce their burden. It will be only possible with technology and good infrastucture.
The second one is the mindset, as whenever we visit a school, they say that we don’t want to expose our children to the Internet. We can restrict a child accessing the Internet at school but at home every child has a laptop, tablet or i-pad etc, which is connected to internet 24×7.
The third challenge is Government initiatives like making use of NCERT books in every school. The parents are getting their children enrolled in the private schools for quality education and, in my view, such initiatives are not good. Another one is the implementation of new tax regime i.e. GST. Though the textbooks are tax-free, unless the supply chain management is made tax free the cost will keep rising and we have to increase our prices and ultimately the customers have to suffer.
Is it needed that company like yours, government officials and the school decision-makers should sit together to overcome these challenges?
Definitely, it is very much needed though it is happening in smaller ways. I am in the publishing committee of the FICCI and most of the private sector publishers in meetings discuss various challenges. FICCI takes those challenges to the government bodies. I think, such meetings should happen more frequently and not only FICCI but other bodies should also come forward. I think, the Government is more open to such things nowadays and it will definitely help if go forward and come together to discuss the challenges. We are part of Navneet group which caters to the Government’s Corporate Social Responsibility activities and related various State board schools.
What is the vision of your organisation for the days ahead?
We want to be the most trusted learning solution brand in India and beyond. At the same time, we just don’t want to focus on selling or becoming the largest, we want to grow the trust for our brand among students, teachers and parents, which will help us to grow three times with a span of three to four years.