This edtech startup aims to provide holistic education by integrating liberal arts with science and technology
The debate over the efficacy between science and arts is never ending. Studying STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects has always taken priority over studying arts in India, and there is a subtle idea prevalent that people who study arts are not smart enough.
To break this assumption and promote non-STEM subjects across the country, especially among STEM learning students,was started by Shekhar Bhattacharjee in July this year.
The Bengaluru-based edtech startup takes a holistic approach towards education and is looking to provide courses on history, culture, communication, diversity, and so on to provide soft skills to technical engineering and management students.
Speaking with YourStory, Shekhar says, “Holistic education was one area that was not addressed before. By integrating liberal education with social sciences, I envision a world where tenacious job seekers could become confident job creators, global leaders, and passionate human beings.”
The founder also revealed that the company, which was initially expected to launch in March this year, got delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The startup is looking to officially launch its product this month (November), and has already partnered with institutions for starting the courses for the upcoming batches.
“Due to the coronavirus crisis, our operations started only in July 2020. While it delayed the product development process, this came as a blessing in disguise as during this period the government announced the National Education Policy, which perfectly aligns with DALHAM’s core thought of holistic learning and liberal education, especially with regard to higher education,” he adds.
Combining liberal studies and STEM
DALHAM Learning is an e-learning platform, which integrates liberal studies with management and engineering courses to help students learn about creativity and innovation together.
“India has always been fascinated with STEM education, and we wanted to tell students that there are equally big opportunities for students who pursue design, arts, liberal studies, history, architecture, media, etc. Our aim is to mould the technical minds of engineering and management students into an informed, socially responsible faculty, that turns an individual into a lifelong learner with the ability to think critically and make informed judgement,” Shekhar says.
The startup allows students to learn using its Android/IoS mobile application or website.
The startup will be operating in a B2B model where the institutes subscribe to the courses and its students and simply log into the platform and start learning.
According to the founder, the classes will be delivered through pre-recorded engaging cinematic and animated content with motion graphics, which is created in collaboration with subject matter experts.
“Our product takes a holistic approach towards education . We have a combination of veterans and leaders from the diverse field of social science education and young PhD scholars from noted universities. Faculties become an intrinsic part of DALHAM Learning’s curriculum and along with the content development team, they create the content modules for the courses. They are remunerated on an hourly basis,” Shekhar adds.
Illustration: YS Design
Business and more
Shekhar reveals the startup is currently working to officially launch the product this month and DALHAM Learning has already onboarded RV College of Engineering (Bengaluru), Chitkara University (Punjab), Jagran Lakecity University (Bhopal), TechnoIndia University (Kolkata) and MIT University (Shillong) as its clients. Upcoming batches in these universities will be able to access the startup’s e-learning platform for its liberal studies courses.
Explaining about the business model, the founder explains that the startup’s pricing model will operate on a per user based model where institutes will need to pay the course fee depending on the number of students enrolled for the course.
The startup has raised a seed round and is looking to raise $10 million Series A funding round before March 2021.
Shekhar explains that accelerated digitisation amid COVID-19 and the new education policy has given a huge boost towards modernising India’s education system.
“The rote learning will come to an end and schools will focus on holistic education, preparing students for the future,” he says.
He also believes that while the startup faces competition from notable players such as upGrad, Harappa Education, Udemy, and Coursera among others, DALHAM has an edge over its competitors because none of these companies focus on integrating liberal studies with science, commerce, and engineering courses.
Speaking about future plans, the founder says that DALHAM will also eventually look at a B2C model.
“Our long-term plan is to introduce some of the advanced and applied humanities subjects which compliments future managers and tech leaders. We will be also introducing our executive bite-size learning programme in phase-2, and will use these tools to bridge the skill gap in our engineering and management students,” he adds.