Thanks to all of you who have written to me in response to my post “Interested in Transforming Education?”
First, it is very gratifying to note the volume of emails I received. I will, time permitting, respond to all of them. For now, I think it would be proper to answer some frequently raised questions.
1. Is it related to rural development and/or RISC?
No. The education venture is about education, not directly about development, rural or urban. It is a purely business venture where the primary goal is to make a profit and give investors a return on their investment.
It is a for-profit enterprise. Private for-profit investment has to be part of the solution we desperately need for educating the millions who have the ability to pay but due to supply constraint are priced out of the market.
2. What kind of people are we looking for?
This is a start-up. All start-up conditions apply. Such as, you have to fully understand what the whole business idea is and you demonstrate that understanding by quickly catching on and even extend the idea or suggest meaningful modifications to it.
We have to build the team. At some point soon, we need the usual COO (someone with experience running an operation, not necessarily related to education), a CFO, and a CTO. But anyone who can convince me that he or she has to be part of the team, is on board.
Needless to say, every employee in the start-up phase will have a stake in the company.
3. So that is the big idea?
Provide an end-to-end managed service to educational institutions which will make education more effective, efficient, and relevant.
The service will be to provide all educational content (rich, multi-media, massively hyperlinked across domains) and tools (learning, teaching, testing, evaluation, teacher training, administration, reporting), and the technology platform to host the content locally and to access it.
4. Why would educational institutions use the service?
The service will use technology intensively. Like all appropriately used technology, it will reduce the costs for existing and new educational institutions.
Information and communications technology (ICT) characteristically demonstrates economies of scale. In other words, ICT solutions have high fixed costs and low marginal costs. That is, if the market for the ICT based solution is large, the average cost (and hence the price to the consumer) is very low. Think of the “Intel inside” processor in your PC or laptop.
It will be costly to develop the ICT-based solution which will be at the core of educational institutions but given that there are hundreds of thousands of schools in India, the average costs can be brought down low enough to make quality education a reality for tens of millions of Indians.
5. Isn’t everyone and his brother talking about ICT and education? In what way is your idea different?
In a number of ways. Firstly, it is not PC-based. It does not call for hundreds of PCs in schools, nor laptops for kids. It provides the technology platform on the school premises and everyone accesses the content on site.
Therefore, secondly, it does not involve accessing content remotely across a broadband connection to a server located out there in the cloud. This is not a distance-education plan.
Thirdly, it does not create content; it aggregates existing content and tools. Indeed all components of the system are taken off the shelf and assembled into a general purpose — and therefore flexible — solution which can be used across a broad spectrum of educational institutions.
6. Where will be the company be located?
The head quarters are likely to be in Pune, India, and all full-time people will be located there, at least initially. People who are located outside Pune (whether in India or abroad) but who wish to be associated part-time can also be accomodated. There are no rules. If you can add value, you are welcome to join.
Remember: the idea is to do a good job, have fun, and make money (exactly in that order.)
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If you are interested in learning more, please email me. I would appreciate it if you would include a brief biography with some specifics relevant to the context. (Some people have neglected to tell me who they are and why they are interested. While I appreciate their brevity — “Tell me more.” — it would be useful to know a bit more for having a meaningful conversation.)
29 thoughts on “Interested in Transforming Education? (Part 2)”
Atanu, I don’t know if you could use my services, but in case you are planning to use GNU/GPL software or Linux based stuff, I might help as a remote and occasional consultant from Austin, Texas. My idea is to be a part of the whole that makes a difference, and to contribute in my own way.
Cool. All the best. So all the funding fundas at Diwali helped 🙂
My name is Mr Hituvalli. A retired Engineer who has spent a considerable time in training Engineers and technicians in Industrial Management,Man management, Industrial productivity improvements etc, My wife is an M.A. an has more than 15 years experience in teaching, mostly social sciences and English upto 8 th standard.
We have grownup children living abroad.
Our passion is teaching, Can we join you ?
My E mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following up on our conversation in Australia. Since you have finshed now I would like to know about yr
plans in detail now :).
My name is Rakesh. I am currently working as a developer with a software company located in Chicago, USA and I would be more than happy to be a part of this team.
Interesting idea. I teach IT as a Key Skill in England. It is interesting to see this developing, I am not a techie,just a cog in the education wheel. Would like to know more about the bigger picture you are aiming to paint.
My name is Swapna and I am a Special Educator. As an Educator for students with special needs, I am expected to assess the abilities of the students and their areas of need, provide them with structured and modified instruction, monitor their progress and modify or enhance the scope of learning.
I had worked in India for 5 years with children with special needs at various levels and then came to the US to enhance my knowledge in the field of learning disabilities. It is a quite fascinating field and I enjoy my work. However, most often I felt the need to apply the same strategies and skills in the field of general education field to enhance the learning of the students in general. I have a strong desire to make a valuable contribution to the field of disabilities and to the field of education as a whole. My husband, Ramdhan Yadav, had introduced me to your blog which, I sometimes visit.
I really like the depth with which you try to address the current issues in our education system.
I am trying to contribute my bit by blogging in some information which could be useful for prospective and new educators. Getting involved in a project would be a wonderful opportunity for me to contribute to the field of education. I am very enthusiastic to know about your project and would love to be a part of it. I would be very glad if the project can utilize my skills in any form.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Do I count?…..Hugs from Mex.
I landed on this blog while taking a session for the students. Providential perhaps! The concept and the attitute towards it have made me write this response.Have about 22 years of experience in Projects/ Administration and last 10 years with a University. Am inclined to consider the proposal if the needs match.
I am Prasanna, not much experience with respect to age. Worked in the education field with some of the landscape changing professors and went to a decent school. I have the passion to make a difference did work on some interesting projects in the past. I would like to talk to you or send a mail with detailed profile. Please send me a mail and I will respond.
I too wanted to change the education scene here in india. Myself being an engineer, I thought of an Idea to bring all engineers under one umbrella thorugh my website that I lauched. Its http://www.techbirbal.com
I am interested in your idea, wud like to have a chat with you .
I am chandrashekar,25 and my claim to fame is” I am a frequent reader of your blog”.
Have interests in education, technology and currently working on a project assignment in the US. Would love to chip in whatever little way possible to this rather exciting effort.
got to know about your venture thru my brother who has also sent you mrs.rajalaxmi’s resume. i wasnt very keen initially to be part of anything related to education or school as i felt i m a non entity for such things. but after 2 children, motherhood has shown me a new face of teaching, learning and gaining…
i have this ambition to start a great school ( not necessarily heavily priced) which best suits students taht most schools do not want:-((. slow learners or students who want to know things thru exploration or other methods of learning than the usual rote ..
well the reason i have this entry on ur blog is to understand your venture better and see if i could be a partner in your thought process and possibly contribute something from hyderabad where i m stationed presently.
i know you have so many mails in the line to answer and reply. still would wait for your reply on this.
I read your blog regularly for insights. I am a gemstone analyst, writer, and consultant based in Thailand. My specialty is in gemological education and gem identifiction. I would very much love to get involved with your project one way or the other. It’s a new concept, and am curious to know more about it.
Have been waiting for this announcement ever since we met.
This problem is too big for one company to solve so would love to see 100s of startups going after this space.
Is there any plan to seed/empower 100s of startups to solve this huge/critical education problem?
Any open source or creative content twist there as well? Though I am biased there.
This idea sounds great!
I am an Engineer by education and a Business Analyst by profession and am working out of Chennai. I would love to take part full-time in the venture, but for timebeing, I am totally inclined to contribute part-time. Please keep me in the loop and please update me with any other information you may have.
I missed this action. Could you please send me the proposal ? Maybe I could contribute something for a cause that’s dear. My background is in teaching and research at postgraduate level.
Although I am late replying, I would like to know more about your idea and see I can fit in. I wanted to do this but didn’t know how. I have 2 yrs of software experience and NOT based out of Pune. I would like to know if I can make any contribution – but I am constrained till February. So let me know what all can I do – even remotely.
Honestly your tag lines caught my attention.Would be interested in knowing the details and contribute part time.I am running a real estate start up for the past two years in hyderabad,previously did my MS and worked in US for a year. Have always deeply felt that education system should be adaptive and ever evolving,moreover old age homes and primary education are issues i greatly relate too.
I am presently in US and visiting India shortly. Do send me your coordinates and I shall get connected with you when am in India.
I am a final yr comp sci and engg student.Planning on being an MBA hereafter.
I understand i may not be in a position to be a part of this fulltime in near future but i am definitely interested in knowing any way i could contribute and be useful.May i know the plan in more details?
waiting for a reply
I have been Heading Educational Consultants India Limited and now I am Executive Director Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology. I have more than 20 years experience in Institutional Development and has been involved in setting up of IIITs, IIM(K), IIM(I), IIM(Shilong) and is doing advocacy for Educational Development Bank on the lines of NABARD.
I shall be happy to particiapte with you for this project.
Read your blog. Couldn’t help being interested. Is there an opening in Bangalore? I have a master’s in education and currently doing my Ph.d in Edn. Have experience (abt five yrs each) as a researcher and a teacher/teacher trainer. Please reply.Would love to earn my living doing something that’s meaningful and fun. Thanks, Jyothi
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