Bengaluru-based Ei is revamping assessment in MENA schools with tech-driven solutions

Ei’s assessment tool evaluates students’ conceptual understanding, promotes comprehension and gives specific diagnostic feedback, thus providing a benchmark for schools in terms of learning outcomes.

Bengaluru-based Ei is revamping assessment in MENA schools with tech-driven solutions

Thursday October 05, 2023,

6 min Read

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, where traditional teaching methods are increasingly being replaced by technology-led practices, Educational Initiatives (Ei) has been steadily revamping K-12 education assessment through pedagogical research and data-driven solutions.

Founded in 2001 by Srini Raghavan, Venkat Krishnan, Sudhir Ghodke, and Sridhar Rajagopalan, this Bengaluru-based edtech company offers schools an assessment tool that aims to transform the way education is perceived and delivered—by encouraging students to think deeply and understand concepts in a comprehensive manner.

Ei ventured into the Middle East in 2005 and has been expanding its presence in the market ever since. The company caters to Indian curriculum schools in the region through its flagship international benchmarking tool Ei ASSET. It has tailored its services to align with the specific educational frameworks and requirements of countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Middle East expansion

According to the startup founders, GCC countries, including the UAE, are focused on sustainable long-term growth to become world-class educational destinations. They have put in place inspection frameworks for continuous monitoring and evaluation of schools and prioritise international benchmarking programmes.

The UAE government has mandated that all schools across Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Northern Emirates following Indian, IB, UK, Canadian, Pakistani, and Philippines curricula must participate in international and external benchmarking assessments on an annual basis.

“UAE’s education sector is characterised by comprehensive inspection frameworks that assess and appraise schools—transparently available to the public, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding school selection,” says Pranav Kothari, CEO, Ei.

The Ei ASSET tool evaluates students’ conceptual understanding, promotes comprehension, and gives specific diagnostic feedback, thus providing a benchmark for schools in terms of learning outcomes.

Ei began its journey in the Middle East with a handful of students and has now reached over 1.25 lakh students across 115 schools and educational institutions such as Abu Dhabi Indian School, International Indian School, Dunes International School, GEMS Education, Indian School Muscat, Bhavans Group, and The Central School.

“The education industry in the Middle East is transforming with the adoption of technology-driven, personalised learning solutions and data-driven education. Educational Initiatives is working on improving assessments and embracing competency-based questions to drive these changes,” states Kothari, who joined the startup in 2012 as vice president of large-scale educational programmes and took over as CEO in 2021.

The MENA region, including the UAE, contributes around 20% of Ei’s revenue. The company has a revenue target of Rs 100 crore in MENA in the next 4-5 years and wishes to bolster its presence in dominant markets such as the UAE.

“We need to expand our curriculum to involve more non-Asian curriculum schools, develop some programmes to support Arabic public schools, and expand at a faster pace in markets outside the UAE,” adds Kothari.

Ei competes with players such as TIMSS, PIRLS and PISA, in MENA.

Personalised learning and assessment platforms

The idea of Ei came when the founders conducted an assessment at schools focused on understanding and critical thinking and realised the importance of conceptual thinking and deductive reasoning.

“We recognised the problem of rote learning, where students memorise facts and procedures. This approach is not suitable for the 21st century, where future problems are uncertain,” says Kothari.

This revelation led to the creation of Ei ASSET, which evaluates students' conceptual understanding, promotes comprehension by asking thought-provoking questions, and provides specific diagnostic feedback, across various subjects, including English, mathematics, science, social science, and Hindi, for students of grades 3 to 10.

“We aim to foster conceptual thinking, scientific inquiry, deductive reasoning, and comprehension in children. Our goal is to create a world where children learn with understanding, promoting a scientific, inquiry-oriented mindset and comprehension in reading passages.”

The other properties of the startup are Ei CARES, Ei Mindspark, and Ei Shiksha.

Ei Mindspark is a personalised adaptive learning solution that allows students to advance at their own pace, covering the core subjects of mathematics, English and science from classes 1 to 10.

It tailors its approach to match each student’s learning level and gradually presents them with academic concepts. Using the student’s responses, the system assesses their current comprehension level and generates the subsequent set of questions accordingly. This allows parents and teachers to monitor students’ learning trajectory.

Ei CARES (Comprehensive Assessment, Reports, and Evaluation for Schools) replaces traditional assessments and chapter-wise assessments with customisation, digital evaluation, and insightful analysis for schools, teachers, and parents.

“We offer a thorough analysis, identifying the factors influencing student outcomes, and propose remedial strategies for schools to enhance learning achievements,” elaborates Kothari.

Ei’s Management Mybook and Teacher MyBook dashboards provide detailed reports on students‘ class performance and learning, enabling schools to track areas for improvement and take appropriate action. They also allow schools to administer structured assessments of students’ understanding of specific topics and help schools track and improve learning outcomes.

Students are offered a detailed analysis of their performance, helping them to identify their strengths and weaknesses and remediate the same, thus improving learning outcomes, asserts the CEO of Ei.

Ei uses data analytics to identify learning gaps and generative AI, including Chat GPT 4, to improve students’ reading experience.

Ei Shiksha—a social impact initiative—provides funding to underprivileged schools through corporate CSR initiatives, international donors, and philanthropic organisations. This ensures equitable access to quality educational solutions without financial constraints, says Kothari.

Business model and growth

The company operates on a B2B business model with an average subscription fee ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per year per student.

Ei has partnered with more than 16,000 schools in India and MENA, across 174 cities, and has assessed over 15 million students with Ei ASSET. This has resulted in personalised learning for over 5 lakh students, assessments for over 15 million students, and support for over 15,000 teachers.

More than 2 million questions are shared on Ei’s platforms every day, with efforts impacting over 6.5 lakh students in FY23 alone, says Kothari, illustrating the scale of the impact.

In FY23, Ei clocked a total revenue of Rs 100 crore, growing from Rs 60 crore in FY22. It raised $25 million in funding from Gaja Capital in 2018.

Currently, the company has a team of 400 employees across various domains, including technology, sales, and marketing.

According to IBEF, the Indian edtech market is expected to reach $30 billion by 2031, from $700 million-$800 million in 2021. MENA’s edtech market is expected to grow from $2.5 billion in 2022 to $5.5 billion in 2028, at a CAGR of 14.2% from 2023 to 2028, as per ReportLinker.

The company plans to enter five international geographies in three to four years. It aims to achieve a revenue of Rs 130 crore in FY2024.

“We will continue improving assessments, with an aim to focus on computational thinking to equip students with the skills required for the future workforce,” Kothari signs off.

(The copy was updated to add the names of all founders.)

For any press related queries or to share your press releases, write to us at
[email protected].

Edited by Swetha Kannan