This 29-year-old's EdTech platform focuses aggressively on lower-income schools. This is why it works

EkaLavya caters to affordable schools exclusively and offers high-quality video content via which, the students can really learn while the schools remain shut. They have about 400 schools on board...
Online education | (Pic: Pixabay)
Online education | (Pic: Pixabay)

Narasimha Donthineni is known for a lot of things. He was the State Coordinator for Anna Hazare’s ‘India Against Corruption’ movement, contested for Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections at the age of 24 on a Loksatta Party ticket and most recently, he is known for his efforts to modernise public libraries. So when we heard that he has started EkaLavya, an e-learning app that aggressively focuses on government and lower-income schools alone, the 29-year-old had our attention yet again.   

The workings of EkaLavya are as simple as they come. The team started operations in January 2020 and worked on content aggressively, meaning they started converting state syllabi into easy videos that are high on quality and easy on comprehension. "Because there are so many EdTech platforms and there is a demand for it, we too wanted to use this opportunity for the benefit of students who are often neglected," says the youngster. They got on board about 29 enthusiasts who take up the syllabus and record videos under the strict supervision of five to six academic experts. "These freelancers are from the field and have relevant experience to back them," says the alumnus of IIM Rohtak. Then these videos are uploaded on their portal and schools are given individual access. They can either choose to use the resource material available or make their own.

They cater to over 50,000 students across the Telugu-speaking states

Wondering about questions that kids may have? EkaLavya has many questions for students and teachers can pick and choose which ones they want to pose. By offering all this and much more, they have on board 400 schools from both the Telugu-speaking states. "Initially, we made more generalised videos and it was the schools who requested us to make textbook-aligned videos. And now, as the next step, we are ready to make customised videos and get into Hindi and English videos as opposed to the Telugu ones which we have currently," explains the Devarakonda-born enrepreneur.

Narasimha with Swapna Yennamaneni, the co-founder | (Pic: EkaLavya)

The lack of quality teachers is a problem that has only been aggravated due to the pandemic, and hence, schools opt for their Rs 10,000 package which gives them access to all videos. The duration of these videos are also planned carefully — Classes I to V have about 20-30 minute videos while IX to X have 25-30 minute videos that might or might not have animation. The next step is expansion and currently, the team is gearing up for it big time.

Soon, they want to approach CBSE and ICSE schools as well

EdTech boom
- A SimilarWeb survey depicts how EdTech has seen a 26 per cent year-on-year spike in user visits between April 2019 and March 2020
- A report by Venture Intelligence states that the investment in India's education technology start-ups was $409 million in 2019 and $1.5 billion in 2020
- ‘The Great Un-Lockdown: Indian EdTech’ report stated that the country's online education platforms have raised over $4 billion in the years 2016-20

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