Published: 10th April 2019
Chennai-based SchoolConnects is making it easier for parents to find reliable information about school admissions
SchoolConnects founder Umesh Jain tells us about his online platform that is a social networking platform, helps parents to find information about the admission criteria and timelines of top schools
When I was asked to move to a different city for a job, I was beyond overwhelmed. Just the thought of a truckload of decisions that I have to make in a completely unknown city became a living nightmare all of a sudden. Looking for accommodation was just one of the hardest experiences I've had to face after moving. If single-handedly I had to face this amount of pressure by just moving cities then one can only imagine what it feels like to move countries, especially when you have your family along with you. Similarly, when Umesh Jain was asked to move to India, he had his share of struggles and one such was to find an appropriate school for his four-year-old son. "Since there was a huge culture difference here in India from that of America, I needed to find the right school for my son that would suit his particular needs. After a lot of research and connecting with multiple people, I was finally able to find a school that hit all the right chords in my list of expectations, however it was not an easy run," he says.
Subscribe and share: Over 3000 people subscribed to this app in the year 2015-16
Because he had been through so much, he felt it was kind of his duty to make it easier for other parents. And that's when the idea of SchoolConnects took birth. To put it simply, what MakeMyTrip is for travellers, SchoolConnects is for anyone who wants to know about schools. This multipurpose online platform helps parents seeking school admissions in India, especially the ones who are 'first-time school parents' in making an informed decision while selecting the education boards (CBSE, ICSE or State boards), schools and also understanding the admission procedures that each of the schools follow. Started in 2015, the platform provides thorough know-how regarding the admission procedures, eligibility and the timeline for each of the schools. A dedicated team has been set up by Umesh to update the website at specific intervals of time.
While recalling how he initially set it up, Umesh says, "It was not an easy task, as the vision for the start-up was clear in my head but was not something the team understood immediately. Our initial struggle was gathering all the information and managing the technical aspects of setting up the app so as to help parents find the right school that would meet their particular requirement. But in a period of six months, we were up and running back in 2016. What served to be an information portal for two whole years, now is a social networking community that connects parents to schools, tuition centres, weekend classes, workshops, buying study material and worksheets and also provides career counselling for students."
Setting up an online platform — both an app and a website — that almost has all the information you need about schools can never be a cakewalk. The efforts put in by Umesh and his team will be clear when you download the app. And I was immensely surprised by the number of sub-categories related to education that appeared on my screen with ample information that was readily available. "There is a page exclusively set up just for a list of schools in the app. The schools are listed in alphabetical order and one can click on the options available that will lead you to a page, which explains the facilities available at the school, the curriculum they follow and all the other necessary information that you require about them. The app also has a page consisting of a forum for parents to provide their honest reviews about the schools," Umesh explains.
Umesh recalls how in just six months, the information on their online platform was being consumed by over one lakh parents. More than 3,000 subscribed for 2015-16 admission updates and it has only been on a rise since then. It has gone up by more than 12,000 parents for the 2016-17 admissions information including 250 premium users from Chennai alone. SchoolConnects currently has branches in Bengaluru and Delhi and has also added brand new options like subscribing alerts for a higher number of schools, the formation of WhatsApp groups and more.
Speaking about the other features that the platform offers, Umesh adds, "SchoolConnects also has activities like Culinary, horseriding, art, dance, music and more listed for parents when they sign into the app that would be of interest to their child. Based on which their homepage, once logged in would receive notifications on the extracurricular activities they have shortlisted for their child. They will be notified of workshops, weekend classes and more."