India’s education system needs to be improved and while we are supposedly good at Mathematics, we need to really ramp up the education system to bring more lateral thinking in the process.
The reality is that students are afraid / bored of Math. Thus they do not enjoy studying it. If they do not have internal pull to learn Maths, then the job of teaching (for teachers and parents) becomes that much more difficult and that much more in-effective.
SchoolCountry is an education startup that has launched two products – MATHLAB and BrainX, targeted towards students of KG to class V. These are patented physical games, worksheets, computer games and simulation software. The course aims to bring a balance between class curriculum and fun, prepared with assistance from schools, parents and psycho-analysts.
How does it work
Once you subscribe, you will receive first printed set of BrainX program at your home. Along with maths games, activities and exercises, you will also receive answers and smart hints to guide your child. Worksheets are designed to be completed in 10-20 minutes. Each worksheet addresses 1-3 specific skills. Students will often need colors, pencils, dice and coins to play the games or complete the worksheets. After 25 days, student will be invited for an optional online maths skill assessment test. SchoolCountry will test his/her learning process and assess areas of strengths and weakness (will be shared with parents too).
The team has done a great job of animation/graphics – keeping the focus on learning, as opposed to several iPad specific apps that focus more on game element/in-app purchase (and less on learning).
The company is started by Gunjan Agrawal (completed his MS in Statistic from University of North Carolina and BTech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Bombay), Kunal Gandhi (Worked for 4 years with McKinsey & Co., is from IIT Mumbai/IIM A) and Rakesh Nanda (he has a master’s degree in design from IDC, IIT Bombay.).
Here is a short QnA with Kunal Gandhi, cofounder of SchoolCountry:
Pi: What’s your primary audience (schools or parents)? What has been the traction so far?
KG: We do both School and Parents (Retail) versions of our products. We have started off with Retail version sending our Maths training program to parents in 8 different cities across India. We are expanding that by identifying new sales channels. The push on the school front has just started and we are discovering how difficult it is to sell to schools. But we hope to convert a few (single digits) good schools by end of March.
The retail pickup has been good. Most impressive (and a bit surprising) has been the rate of re-subscription amongst parents. That tells us that they found the product useful. So that helped assuage some fears that we had. We need to discover new ways of reaching the parents. Internet definitely has a very limited reach and its use as a sales medium for such a product is limited.
Pi: There are quite a few apps etc being developed that bring the much needed freshness to this entire industry. What’s your take on that?
KG: Yeah. We have seen some pretty cool ipad apps too. Though, I don’t like most of the things that gets pushed as “learning with fun”. Just making a basic (often clumsy) animation should not mean it has become fun. Further, adequate research has not been done on the learning aspect and there are some huge gaps. For example (not enough alignment to the course, lack of child friendly design, lack of proper feedback, often incorrect answers etc). This ultimately ends up having negative effect. They mostly falter on the “learning” part and then their are others who falter on the fun part. But a few have been impressive and we hope to see more people here who provide quality content.
If you are a parent, do check out SchoolCountry – as a free member, you can download some of the course samples.