Born out of a traditional paper company, E-class is helping schools go digital

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Hardik Shah, Founder and Director of E-class Education System Ltd., is simplifying the process of learning by making basic education accessible to all.

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All work and no play, does make Jack a dull boy.

In an education system such as ours, which is based on rote-learning, the sheer importance given to numbers in a report card is too much of a burden for little shoulders.

In contrast, who doesn't like practical classes that involve engagement, sharing of ideas, and audio and visuals of what you are learning. Short involvement of senses in a classroom makes a bigger impact on a student's thought process.

Hardik Shah, 28, a management student from Mumbai, comes from a hardcore business family that has been manufacturing books from scratch for over 20 years. On realising the impact digital education can make in the years to come, he began to dream about the possibility of making offline education available to all.

But why promote a paperless medium when your family business is making paper?

According to Hardik, digital education in India and going paperless are two very different things.

“We are promoting digital education to understand the subjects and concepts in detail and in depth. The examinations, rough work and taking notes will still have to be done on paper. The Indian school segment is very different from the international one and dependency on paper will continue,” he says.

Apart from this, going digital is the strategy of the team at E-class to stay future-ready. With E-class, Hardik believes technology can transcend traditional boundaries and enable a ‘customised self-paced learning.’

All about E-class Education System Ltd.

Hardik Shah

It takes only a walk into a public school’s classroom to see the state of affairs. Digital divide among children in India is very real, and poses the threat of widening the gap between the unprivileged and the privileged in the years to come.

E-class believes that such a divide should not exist. “There are students who want to study, but are not able to due to lack of educational material and the problem of fewer teachers. Schools that want to help students learn digitally cannot afford high-end systems. To address these problems, E-class has decided to enter this space. Also, India’s online education industry is expected to grow almost eight times to hit $1.96 billion by 2021, and is growing at a good rate currently,” says Hardik.

E-class aims to spark curiosity in a student's mind through technological education combining colourful and pictorial content that leads to better understanding. Given that Internet is still a hassle in most places, E-class has developed its own multimedia offline player for television and memory cards for android phones to deliver their content.

Launched in 2010, E-class chose the state of Maharashtra as their target audience. Early challenges came in terms of spreading awareness. “Maharashtra has two crore students and 1.2 lakh schools. Bringing awareness to all is a major challenge,” says Hardik.

The foundation

Based in Mumbai, E-class Education System Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sundaram Multi Pap Ltd., a 33-year-old paper stationery manufacturing company started by Hardik Shah’s father, Amruth P Shah.

The company has tied up with the Maharashtra State Board and developed their syllabus in a digital format, which is completely as per the textbook covering all major subjects, from Class I to X, in English, Hindi, Marathi, Urdu and semi-English medium.

They also focus on bringing offline education to schools with minimal infrastructure. “Today, schools can become digital with a small investment. We can also help them teach their students in a better way.”

E-class lays emphasis on the fact that with smartphones being owned by most, this platform could be used by students to learn from the educational content of their standard.

Learning made fun

The attention paid to understanding what is being taught in a classroom is masked by the need to score better. “Education has become a learn-and-write activity, which is very wrong. Subjects and chapters are to be understood and experienced and not just remembered. Learning has to be made a fun activity, as only with this its importance will increase amongst students,” says Hardik.

Highlighting the stress caused by studies nowadays that state ‘better marks lead to easier admissions,’ E-class ensures a change by providing fun videos, and content which students will not only enjoy but will also take interest in.

Using fun videos, animation, imagery and sound, E-class is bringing science experiments, history events and geography maps to life on screens, their system of teaching triggers the interest levels of students.

Screenshots of the E-Class application.

Leading edge innovations

E-class focusses on offering assistance to students in many ways. This has been done via two primary innovations developed by educationists and the introduction of the ‘Bag-Less Campaign.’

With the E-box, a multimedia USB player, students can study at home by connecting the device to a television set. Without the use of internet, the TV turns into an information box displaying all the required study material.

An Android memory card launched in 2016 has reached over 60,000 tabs with educational content for Class I-X students in English, Marathi and semi-English helping students study off their smartphones without the need for an internet connection.

E-class is also a strong proponent of the Bag-Less Campaign, encouraging students to study on his/her mobile, television, laptop or tablet without the burden of carrying a bag full of books.

Widening corporate social responsibility and social development, E-class provides quality education with just a pen drive or an Ebox to villages that lack infrastructure and high-tech gadgets available in different regional languages. Their pen drives are also given as a part of companies' CSR activities.

An exceptional growth

“We have a team of about 40 people, involved in admin and marketing activities and have covered over 600 schools today and provided over 60,000 memory cards to students in the last two years alone,” says Hardik. Having offered their services to schools and companies, over three lakh students have benefited.

On an individual level, students using E-class digital class rooms have scored a 100 percent result in the SSC board exams in the state this year. With a fall in dropout rates and an overall increase in percentage, E-class has made a gradual impact.

The company has also created educational content of over 600 hours for the state of Maharashtra. Having implemented this successfully, E-class is soon expanding over other boards.

At the moment, the company aims at expanding a recently launched cloud-based education delivery platform, where their content will be provided online.