Published: 29th July 2018
How EdTech company Quest Alliance is trying to change a 'digressive' education system
We speak to the Executive Director of Quest Alliance, Aakash Sethi, and try to understand what EdTech companies are focusing on next
Quality Education and Skills Training (Quest) Alliance has come a long way since it started in 2005. Using their blended-learning curriculum, they are developing 21st-century life, work and digital skills in students. They have been working closely with educators and teachers and enabling them to facilitate education through peer-learning and other such methods. While their My Quest programme works at ground-level to change mindsets and has reached over 50,000 students across the country to make them job-ready, Quest 2 Learn is centred around community-building and starting dialogues where people share more about their individual activities and work to mould the ecosystem differently.
We caught up with Executive Director Aakash Sethi and requested him to share the knowledge he's amassed over the years so that other aspiring EdTech companies can learn from the graph of Quest Alliance. Excerpts:
Currently, they have a team of around 115 people spread across seven states — Delhi-NCR, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. They plan on expanding to other states soon
What, according to you, is the state of education in India today?
Right now, the education system is being digressive, which is why learning suffers. Across levels, there is a system failure. Be it improving teacher motivation, monitoring mid-day meals or teaching methods, much has to be done to improve the future of children.
What makes Quest Alliance different from all the other EdTech companies?
At Quest Alliance, we focus on skills that are essential in the 21st century. We have worked on partnering with state governments in areas of primary education and industrial training. Secondly, we've developed a digital curriculum which allows students to not only rely on what the teacher says, but learn on their own as well. We have also put together a team of over 500 industry experts to provide inputs and reached out to almost 300 schools and skill development centres, which are now focusing on digital literacy and basic coding.
Every year, they reach out to over 100,000 students and 2,000 teachers through various programmes. Over the last ten years, they have impacted the lives of over a million young people
What are some lessons you have learnt along the way as an EdTech company?
The idea is to create a space for reflection and learning from what we are doing. Often we are distracted by how to chase numbers or targets and we do not ask ourselves the important question — How is this impacting lives? Hence, this space and trust is very important to ensure the company’s vision is intact.
What advice would you give upcoming EdTech start-ups?
An important takeaway from our operational process is that we usually design our products keeping in mind our specific needs and thoughts and how we would respond to them if we were users. Most of the time, the focus is on the manufacturing of the products, however, the success of these products actually depends on how well we can create a demand for them. Considerable investment is required to influence and mould the culture and ecosystem and even if the idea or concept is brilliant, we cannot take it for granted that the product will work. It requires long-term commitment and careful analysis, which can never happen overnight.
For more, click on questalliance.net/