Vanguards of classroom teaching decry online education vociferously citing lopsided arguments of quality and inconsistency of training methodologies. This inherent reluctance to the adoption of online education has limited the proliferation and penetration of quality education and training, further limiting the access only to a privileged few. There was a dire need of having students educated through affordable hyper-personalised training programs in every corner of the country.
This problem statement was identified earlier on by Rohit Jain who in his earlier role had co-founded Mexus Education that went on to become a leading K12 education company in India.
However, it was not until the Autumn of 2014, that Rohit Jain and Anirudh Swarnkar, who knew each other from their Mexus Education days, came together to solve the problem plaguing the education sector in India and launched ufaber.
They early on realised that tech alone was not the answer to the problem, but an element of human intervention in the learning process would ensure higher result accuracy and learning consistency coupled with the design thinking approach to the learning process itself. The ideological foundation of ufaber was laid. Today ufaber provides hyper-personalised affordable education across career transformational domains like IELTS, PTE, UPSC, GATE and English Communication along with skill development programs for students from the age group of 9 and above. In little over 4 years, ufaber has enrolled 10 Lakhs+ registered learners, 30,000+ paid customers, 1200+ Trainers, a validation to their approach to education.
Anirudh Swarnkar’s love for edu-tech is evident through various stints ranging from an educational consultant to a co-founder at uFaber. A seasoned professional in the Edu-tech market, Anirudh has had a career spanning over a decade across the key departments of the education and technology sector. A mechanical engineer from IIT-Bombay, Anirudh is highly interested in storytelling, gaming, and touch-technologies.
Rohit Jain has had an extremely successful career in the major departments of the education and technology sector. His exposure to various roles made him dominate the areas of e-commerce, franchise sales, marketing, product development, and team building. He had a short stint at IBM too. A graduate from IIT-Bombay, Jain is considered a pro when it comes to product development and sales strategies and also advises various startups on the same.
In a tete-e-tete with Baishali Mukherjee of stoodnt.com, Jain and Swarnkar, deliberated on the importance of skill development.
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What was the idea behind launching ufaber?
The inception of ufaber came, when we happened to come across a tuition class which had a strength of 80 students and a teacher was teaching at the other end of the classroom, we wondered whether in a class of 80 are all the students able to comprehend what is being taught? since everybody has a different learning pace, are all the students of the class are on the same page? Is the teacher able to give adequate attention and regularly assess the progress of a student where they are preparing themselves for a crucial examination? Certainly not. These questions gave birth to a concept which can make education personalized, affordable and can track the progress of a student for an effective learning. Also, on doing further study, it was found that students residing in rural parts of India aspiring to qualify UPSC or GATE examinations, barely have any good access to tuition or learning centres. There was a dire need of having students educated through affordable hyper-personalized training programs in every corner of the country. Looking at this lacuna, the concept of ufaber offering affordable hyper-personalized learning was conceived and hence was its inception.
What does ufaber do differently?
An approach that balances both aspects of being student-oriented while also giving hyper-personalised training is what sets ufaber apart from all its competitors. A thorough analysis of every student’s competency enables ufaber to design his or her hyper-personalized study plans.
In ufaber, Learning is delivered through live interactive video sessions, which gives a highly result-oriented output. The trainers ensure dedicated support and personal mentorship while strictly adhering to the study plans. Periodic assessments and evaluation sessions are organized to know the grasping power and understanding of the student. Moreover, ufaber provides students with a repository of knowledge through a well-equipped library of video content available on-demand.
Apart from the challenge of making online education familiar to the Indian masses, we were facing one more hurdle of getting good quality trainers. We were exhausted with all of our job databases but we were hardly able to find even 10% of the qualities that we expected out of the trainers. At, the same time we discerned a eureka moment when we decided to develop our trainers and came up with the eMaester-‘Train the teacher’ program, this programs continues to be exclusive to ufaber. The eMaester program was conceptualized to tap and utilize the hidden and under-represented talents of passionate educators across the world. ufaber teaches them the systems and content to enable them to help thousands of students achieve their goals. They also offer guaranteed employment post completion of training from the comfort of one’s own home. The program adequately skills the trainers at two levels, one, upping the knowledge quotient, second, the soft skills required to manage students. The ufaber team constantly monitors the quality of the online sessions between the student and the certified trainer. This 1-month course is offered by ufaber at an affordable fee of INR 35,000 with a promised ROI of one year.
What does it take to be an edu-tech in India today?
Despite the conventional educational system being so dominant in our country, classroom learning in India has gone through a paradigm shift from blackboard to interactive learning. Many subjects and concepts can be comprehended well if the class is more interactive and has animated video sessions since that remains etched more in a student’s mind, also in online learning a student can go back and review the concepts again if forgotten or to clarify more, this cannot happen in offline classes. With, internet data getting pocket-friendly and a deeper smartphone and tab penetration, India is the world’s third-largest market for online education. With students spending adequate time and money in commuting to the learning centres and studying, online education becomes a convenient tool to get the same amount of training without wasting much time and money.
Where do you see ufaber in the next two years?
Our next step is to achieve a goal of 10000+ trainers on the platform in the next 2 years, while each of the trainer we will have 1000 hours of one-on-one training. ufaber aims to have 6 Lakh students in one year.
What are the possible impacts of this initiative?
Today ufaber provides hyper-personalised affordable education across career transformational domains like IELTS, PTE, UPSC, GATE and English Communication along with skill development programs for students from the age group of 9 and above. In a little over 4 years, ufaber has enrolled 10 Lakhs+ registered learners, 30,000+ paid customers, a validation of their approach to education. And the eMaester ‘Train the Trainer’ program has ensured favourable circumstances to the educated unemployed workforce with an opportunity for economic gain within the comfort of their home, who before were constrained from seeking active jobs due to personal or family constraints. Interestingly, eMaester has opened a treasure trove of opportunities to the fairer gender from Tier-II cities who today constitute the majority of the trainers ufaber has. This program encourages women coming from critical circumstances to become a certified trainer and come on board with ufaber to educate students depending on their teaching capabilities, bandwidth to work during the day and interests, ensuring financial independence. We currently have trained 1200+ trainers who are now successfully fulfilling their passion for teaching and continuing.
How are students benefitted through ufaber?
According to a survey done by ASSOCHAM, it was found that in India on average private tuitions charge anything between Rs 1,000 and Rs 4,000 per hour per student on a one-to-one basis, while a group tuition costs Rs 1,000 to Rs 6,000 per month. This seems to be difficult for an aspirant who is not from an affluent family or belongs to rural regions where access to a good tutor is sparse Roughly, a tuition class lasts for 60-120 minutes whereas on average a human brain can hold information for a time duration 20 minutes only. With ufaber learning has been made affordable, hyper personalised and effective using technology, since students are aspiring for life-changing exams like UPSC, GATE or IELTS, which are result oriented and require focussed efforts. A student can study at his/her convenience. In a little over 4 years, ufaber has enrolled 10 Lakhs+ registered learners, 30,000+ paid customers, a validation of their approach to education.
Is online education the only future?
According to Inc42 Data Labs India has around 3500 edtechstartups, making it the third-largest online education market in India. Online learning tools provide educators and students with access to resources they couldn’t have had otherwise, no matter their status or location. An engineering student in India can learn the best of robotics from a top professor of Massachusetts and can do so in their own time while balancing a full-time job and a family at home. This enables people to take better advantage of the resources available online. Some may also suffer from physical or mental disabilities that make learning in a classroom impossible. For these students, online courses, specializations, and degree programs can offer an incredible opportunity to continue their education and build careers for themselves.