How Did You Plan To Start Your Company Idream Education?
If I try to connect the dots, I feel both Puneet and I had a natural love for school education. Post our MBA, while we briefly worked in corporate, very soon we started our individual journeys in education. I started an organization wherein we created experiential teaching pedagogies to support students in school to build a deeper conceptual understanding of environmental science and Science. While Puneet began his journey with an Ed-tech product distribution venture, setting up Math Lab, English Lab, STEM Science Lab in schools along with personalized learning solutions for students.
Though we began our work with private schools, coincidentally both of us got an opportunity to implement our respective, solutions in government schools. For me personally, that was a huge turning point in life. When I first saw a government school, I came back with so many questions. I kept trying, but I genuinely could not find all the answers. At one point, it became so frustrating, where I really wanted to do something, so that even government school children can access the best of education, but I could not think of the right direction. These were also the times when Puneet and I got talking and exchanging notes. He also felt similar emotions, but the good thing was that he had very deep insights on what technology can do and how it can be reshaped to truly impact learning for the last mile learners.
We were very clear about two things:
1. Challenges for government schools are unique and hence no existing solution can perhaps solve these. We will have to develop research-driven customized solutions for them.
2. The solution must be easy to use and easily scalable else it will never have the transformational impact we envisioned.
One trend we observed was that the children even, in the most rural parts of India were increasingly becoming comfortable with touch-based devices. And after television, smartphones were the next thing that was penetrating the rural areas and that too so rapidly. The best part was that this audience was naturally and happily training themselves to use these devices.
We realized that this is an opportunity that must be explored. We should look at student-centric solutions that can build a proactive interest in students to learn in their local language and to create, no operational burden for the teachers. We were convinced, that if we can build solutions that align with the psychology of stakeholders and therefore can lead to a natural adoption, we will have something that can scale and improve the educational outcomes of government school students.
Because both Puneet and I shared a strong alignment with the above thought, we decided to come together and seed Idream Education.
What Is The Vision And Mission Of Your Company?
At Idream Education, our vision is to facilitate easy access to enjoyable and personalized digital learning to all learners in the language they understand best.
Our Mission is:
1. Build an ecosystem for students to engage with learning very easily in school and at home.
2. Provide access to multiple categories of digital content in local languages.
3. Enable students to bridge their historical learning gaps.
What Was Your First Step Towards CSR?
We focused ourselves on designing solutions for the social sector and found a connection with several corporates, who were exploring a high impact CSR project with a genuine impact on usage and learning outcomes. Corporates who were patient to realize the actual challenges which digital learning solutions face on the ground and who could relate to how we were trying to address those.
That’s how we began collaborating with CSR divisions of various corporates and started implementing digital learning solutions in the government schools.
How Are You Delivering CSR and Where?
We are currently working in 15 states across India having delivered digital learning solutions in various languages such as English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, and Marathi.
What Have You Done To Get Recognized As One Of The Top 25 Socially Impactful Organizations In India?
TABLAB is our flagship solution custom-designed for government schools as a tablet-based Smart ICT and a digital learning lab. It is an integrated solution consisting of tablets, storage and charging rack, curriculum-aligned content in local languages, and student wise reports available both offline and online on a cloud-based reporting dashboard.
TABLAB, has been designed to break open all barriers to regular usage – space, furniture, electricity, internet, and maintenance. With multiple categories of local language content available offline, it proactively engages students to happily, enjoy their learning and puts no additional burden on the teachers.
Because of such deep alignment with the psychology of all stakeholders, TABLAB saw a very natural adoption with the students and teachers in the government schools. Today TABLAB has scaled to schools in 15 states across India. And it continues to engage students and empower the teachers with the lowest of costs and genuine impact measured and validated by the data being auto collected from the schools.
Yes, Foundation in 2019 recognized TABLAB as one of the top 25 Social Impact Solutions in India.
Which Companies/NGOs Are You Collaborating With To-Do CSR Activities?
Department of Education, Govt. of Karnataka, Department of Education, UT of Ladakh, Northern Command (Indian Army), Deepalaya, Humana People to People India, Muskaan Dreams, Asian Paints, Wind World, Microsoft are some of the partners with whom we have worked and are currently working.
What Are Your Future CSR Plans And How Could You Have Done It Better?
While we will continue to collaborate with CSR to take offline digital learning to schools, the ongoing COVID-19 the situation has created a strong gap to provide a supplemental learning tool to students at home.
We recently launched Idream Learning App as a mobile-based learning solution. Students can download it from the play store and on as well on their smartphones. Through which they can access multiple categories of enjoyable educational and life skills content, for all subjects and classes from 1st to 12th. Content is available as per CBSE and all state boards. And students can choose to learn in English, Hindi and several other local languages.
We have already collaborated with some NGOs and Foundations to take the app to more students. Indian Army became the first institution to adopt the Idream Learning App for their schools and in all Army Goodwill schools, in Kashmir.
Another possibility we are exploring with CSR is to provide the same content offline to students on a tablet or an affordable second-hand smartphone. With the possibility of both offline and online learning, these devices can become a transformational way to engage students at home. And with data of all students coming on a central dashboard or the teacher’s app, the best of learning can be offered to the students.
Does Your Company See The Pandemic As An Opportunity Or As A Hurdle For Your CSR And Activities?
Well in the first look, it is indeed a hurdle. Schools are closed, students can’t go out of their homes, and learning is not the same way anymore. Of course, this is not natural. But what we must understand is that it is a once in a century kind of an event, and thus, it also requires a once in a century kind of response.
We must, therefore, look at this as an opportunity. The Corona lockdown has exposed a strong need for an in-home supplemental learning solution. There was always a need but no one really recognized it. Historical Learning Gaps continue to be a big challenge in our students and government schools alone they are not designed to handle this crisis. We need to have a solution which can engage with the students at an individual level and then guide them personally. A mobile app or an offline learning tablet can address this.
Hence, I feel that the lockdown must be used as an opportunity to design and implement the best-suited solutions which can complement the teacher’s efforts in the classroom or online as it is happening these days.
Secondly, we must also use this opportunity to bridge the urban-rural digital divide in our country. There are still many areas where people do not have access to a smartphone and an internet connection. While the rate of penetration is very quick, but I think owing to an urgent need now, we must see a strong push from the government, CSR, and NGOs to build the last mile connectivity.
Share A Quote About Your Initiative
Dedicated to taking the best of enjoyable educational and life skills digital content to all learners in the language that they understand best.
– Puneet Goyal (Founder) & Rohit Prakash (Co-Founder)
Stutee Sharma – Journalist, Diggaj Media
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not represent those of Diggaj Media. The pictures are provided by the author and is not authorised to be used by anyone else.