With coronavirus causing schools to shut down, edtech startups BYJU’S, Vedantu, Toppr step in to help
Where there is a problem, there is an opportunity for a startup, and the recent coronavirus outbreak is no different.
As the outbreak spreads, fearing that schools and colleges may be a fertile breeding ground for spreading the virus, several educational institutions across Bengaluru, New Delhi, Kerala, Hyderabad, etc., have been asked to shut down indefinitely until further announcements.
With this uncertainty on the horizon, edtech startups in India have decided to take it upon themselves to help students stay at home without compromising on their lessons.
To start, startups like, , , and are offering various online courses for free.
Last week, UNESCO announced that 13 countries have closed schools, affecting over 290 million children, while nine other countries have implemented localised closures.
“While temporary school closures as a result of health and other crises are not new, unfortunately, the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
Tapping the right opportunity
With 250 million school-going students in India, it is of paramount importance that their health is protected while also ensuring that their education is not interrupted. UNESCO also suggested that learning platforms can help students access quality education remotely during times like these.
March-April is the exam season across India and schools shutting down during these crucial months can highly impact students’ academic growth.
Taking this into the consideration, edtech unicorn BYJU’S announced that it will be providing free access to its complete app to school students from Classes 1 to 12 till the end of April.
The startup believes that given the rigour of the exam season, access to the learning programme will help students continue with their preparation.
While students from Class 1 to Class 3 can access Math and English lessons, students from Class 4 to Class 12 can learn Math and Science concepts on the BYJU’S app. Students with the pre-installed app will need to update it to access the complete content for free.
Mumbai-based Toppr is also making its services free for all students from Classes 5 to 12.
Zishaan Hayath, CEO and Co-Founder of Toppr, says,
"Besides this, our video classes have always been available as a free learning resource. We hope we overcome this situation soon. Meanwhile, students can log on to our website to catch up on their studies from the comfort and safety of their homes."
The startup offers questions, solutions, concepts, practice tests and videos to students. It also prepares them for competitive entrance exams such as IIT JEE mains and advanced, BITSAT, and NEE.
Collaborating with schools
Startups like Vedantu have decided to involve schools and parents as well.
Live and personalised learning platform Vedantu is joining hands with schools in Bengaluru, New Delhi, Kerala, and Hyderabad to provide uninterrupted classes to the students.
Co-founder of Vedantu Vamsi Krishna said, “We will ensure academic requirements, continuity and learning does not halt while schools and colleges are closed. We are offering entire learning live and online, which can easily be done from home and does not involve individual contact. We will ensure the teachers train, adopt and get confident with the online technology platform”
The Bengaluru-based edtech startup offers a learning solution for Classes 6 to 12 and competitive exams such as JEE and NEET. Under its new offering, schools can use their own teachers to deliver classes using Vedantu’s personalised platform.
Schools can either access the startup’s pre-existing content or use their own. Vedantu is also allowing its master teachers to volunteer to teach students. Schools can even opt for end-to-end online tutorials through its content.
A little goes a long way
In India, the Delhi government has closed all primary schools till March 31 as a precautionary measure. And to help students, Mumbai-based Lido Learning extended the free trial period for its online courses from a week to 14 days.
Founded last year, the edtech startup caters to students across Class 5 to 9, offering live online classes and personalised content for Math and Science. It also offers course content in Hinglish.
Founder and CEO Sahil Sheth says, “The recent measures taken by the Delhi government to shut down schools has put a stop to children and parents’ lives as well. However, a child’s education need not be jeopardized in the process.”
He believes that online tutoring platforms and online tutors can help students study from the comfort and safety of their homes.
“It’s a no-brainer solution that it not only helps students learn effectively but also helps take pressure off parents to homeschool their children in the process,” adds Sahil.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)