Kamath and Dev were always great technology enthusiasts and wanted to employ their tech skills to make a social impact in India. Initial market research informed them that the education sector was the least impacted by technology at that time. Thus, the two entrepreneurs ventured out to change the scenario and started Next Education to help students with their fundamental education.
“With technology as our ally, we wanted to devise innovative methods of making education accessible and affordable to all. For instance, technology can help a school remotely located or a teacher with limited skills in delivering quality education to students at an affordable cost. That is the power of technology and we wanted to harness these benefits.”
Next Education is an end-to-end K-12 solution provider. With the changing times and higher capabilities backed by R&D and Technology, the company has chosen to diversify its business acumen as per the curriculum and scope of quality upgraded education. Next Education is a private equity company founded in 2007 with revenues amounting to more than 250 Cr. The company, which was started in 2007, has so far invested Rs 300 crore in research, content development and in rolling out its Pan-India operations – a truly commendable achievement in the Indian education sector.
Till now, Next Education has impacted the lives of 12,000,000+ children, 12000+ School, 2,40,000+ teachers.
Now and Then
Dev says that back then, most academicians were unaware of the teaching methods suited for digital learning. It took Dev and his business partner almost 1-2 years to train subject matter experts and make them proficient in designing a robust curriculum.
We always worked hard to ensure minimum error rates so that the day-to-day activities of a classroom were unaffected. Choosing reliable hardware and ensuring an effective support service for our products proved to be quite a challenging task back then.”
Those were some of the challenges that Dev faced when they first started off. Now, the kind of challenges have changed, but they still persist. For instance, the trend of buying EdTech products is yet to catch up. Then, the importance of experiential learning as a means of learning is yet to be established, Dev shares with us.
“Challenges are part of the journey and overcoming them in a way is success”, says the bold and brilliant Dev.
Always Had His Back
Dev’s family has always been very supportive. Dev’s father is also a businessman, so his family knew the challenges associated with running a business all along.
“Every aspect of our lives, from grocery shopping to paying bills, has been made easier with technology. Unfortunately, education is still not streamlined enough with the help of technology. We are still following traditional methods in education, which are not able to meet the needs of 21st-century learners and educators.”
One of Dev’s future projects is the creation of an all-encompassing online platform that takes care of all the academic and administrative needs of the K–12 community, e-learning modules, self-learning provisions, school management systems, learning management systems and so forth. This kind of integrated platform will help all the stakeholders coordinate the entire educational process for better learning outcomes.
“We have already developed a similar product called the NextLearningPlatform, and our aim is to strategise ways of promoting it since we believe in not only creating new products, but optimising their adoption amongst the learning community as well.”
Another important development in the field that interests Dev is the gamification of learning, which is a motivating factor for today’s learners. “Using game elements take away the boredom from learning and increase student engagement. Technology can help us develop this instructional approach successfully”, says the brainy educationist and entrepreneur.
This year, Next Education has three major business developments. The first is partnering with schools for providing complete K-12 education. This ensures quality education in schools which are run by individual investors and not a franchise model. The second is Next Education becoming an enabler to large companies which are taking up education as CSR by imparting their prowess in education and technology. And the third is joining hands with IIT-Bombay for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) -The primary focus of the courses is to make the teachers technology-ready and equip them with the latest technology in hand to implement it in the classroom.
Dev leaves us with a few simple yet powerful words of advice when asked what advice he’d like to share with people who are aiming to pursue their dreams…in two words…”Work hard.”