Huge potential for online schooling

EducationWorld February 2022 | Magazine Spotlight Feature

Santosh Kumar, Co-founder & CEO and Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal, Co-founder & Director share the aims and objectives of 21K School, India’s #1 online school.

Santosh Kumar, Co-founder & CEO and Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal, Co-founder & Director, 21k School

What is the future of online learning and what opportunities do you see in the Indian market for 21K School to evolve?

The concept of online school is relatively new. India is a very large market especially in the K-12 space — the second largest worldwide. We are aware that online schools cannot fully replace physical schools but there is growing need for schools that offer personalised, flexible learning. Especially for students in small town India with limited access to quality teachers. We have discerned a large number of students whose parents need to frequently move cities because of job requirements. Such students can easily sign up for online schooling. Apart from being a safe environment from the perspective of corporal punishment and bullying experiences of physical schools, we believe online schooling is a more convenient option for students with physical disabilities as well. Moreover, we understand a large number of parents residing in metro cities are concerned about high cost of education. With online schooling, that cost comes down drastically. For e.g., our average fees for the Indian curriculum is Rs. 40,000 only which is half the cost of uniforms and transport alone. So, it’s a huge advantage in terms of quality of education, accessibility, transparency, convenience and the flexibility it brings in. We believe online schooling is here to stay in India and worldwide.

What curriculum do you follow in 21K School?

We follow a curriculum aligned with the national curriculum framework that all schools in India are mandated to follow. Moreover, we are also a centre for Pearson Edexcel curriculum. We offer the British curriculum under the Edexcel programme, and the American High School Diploma accredited by Cognia, USA. through our partner Stride Learning,

What is the unique feature of your school?

Ours is a technologically-driven new age school. Children easily log into class from home without undergoing the stress of an average five-hour daily commute to and from school. Online school allows children free time to pursue their passion be it coding, sport, art, dance or music. In effect, online schooling has dismantled the factory model of school education. Secondly, online schooling is defined by transparency and a data-driven approach. New age technologies usage enables teachers to better assess students’ learning outcomes in real time. Students’ performance is tracked on a regular basis to ensure every child in 21K School crosses the minimum learning levels and can continue to learn and grow. We use AI for providing differentiated learning paths for each student based on the child’s academic progress. Learning nuggets are generated to ensure that the child is challenged and constantly growing in his understanding of each concept ensuring flexibility and personalisation of lesson plans. We also have an extensive digital library with 800 plus titles and a VR lab for interactive learning practicals for science classes. Last but not the least, our live classes recordings are available through the year.

What about the classes in 21K School? Is it self-paced learning or group sessions or a combination of both?

Our classes compare to those offered by any neighbourhood school. We have live classes, we conduct PTMs, morning assemblies, we celebrate festivals, and even have a house system to encourage students to participate in inter-house competitions, and conduct regular assessments and term-end exams. Only the mode of education delivery in this physical school replica is online by using laptops and engaging technology. Contrary to common perception, it is much easier to connect to classes in an online school. You can walk into the classroom with just one click and communicate with teachers and hold PTMs on demand, you can access your child’s performance on a regular basis and since we also keep recordings of classroom sessions, there’s 100 percent assurance of the quality of teaching.

What is the future roadmap of your company for the next five years? Please also share any short-term plans you may have.

Currently, we have 3,500 students, we are looking to grow to 30,000 students by 2022-23. I believe there’s huge potential for online schooling and we want to address the growing needs of parents for personalised and flexible learning models in India and abroad. There are an estimated 1.8 million NRIs/PIOs living outside India. The cost of education abroad is very expensive especially in cities like Dubai. If we can offer an Indian curriculum online at affordable fee structures to children of such parents, we will be doing them a great service. It is our constant endeavour to offer a varied choice in curriculum and teachers have always been fundamental to our school. So we bring in the best teachers from around the world along with the best-in-class learning technology.

Also Read: 21K school gets 3000 admissions in 12 months

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