To be educated is a basic right entitled for every human being. But sadly, even today, it is a privilege for many. In an age where schools are going digital, children are saying good bye to notebooks and are busy typing away on their i pods, there is a section of our society that has no access to education. Just like ‘studying’ is different from ‘learning’, ‘education’ is different from ‘good education’. The rural set up in our country is very poor in terms of the quality of education that is provided. Taking this poor condition into their hand, ViREd is a startup that aims to bridge the gap between rural and urban education sectors.
In an exclusive interview with Stylewhack, Co-founder Dickson talks about what inspired him to take up this venture, the current set up and future goals.
The concept behind ViREd
Dickson who is a student of Social Entrepreneurship at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, had previously worked with a few social service organizations in Karnataka.Being passionate about education and the possibilities that education could bring he began to reflect. He pondered about how he could work in the education sector especially with the public government schools where more of the marginalized sections of society tend to engage in.
Dickson decided to initiate ViREd in the region of North Karnataka i.e. Gulbarga and Yadgir as this particular region has particularly struggled in terms of high dropout rate, low pass percentage in the 10th and lesser number of students pursuing their higher education.
Dickson said, “We found organizations that brought content in terms of e-learning to schools but we saw the gap in terms of implementation and integration within the school in order to create an ecosystem of learning and personality development for success in life. Our USP is that we look to be contextual in our approach of education.” With this idea at hand, ViREd is now aiming to create a holistic education sector.
While most start ups are going commercial, ViREd tapped the sector that was truly in need- the rural sector
“As an organization we pushed into the rural setup because of the huge
divide we see in terms of opportunity that rural India gets. We do not wish
to compare ourselves to commercial startups. But we believe that the end of
any activity should not be in terms of personal benefits but in terms of
the greater common good”
ViREd was founded on the belief that development should be one that enables
society to progress in a sustainable manner. Development should further keep in mind various sections of society. Taking care of those marginalized sectors is essential to national well-being and the development of India as a nation.
Ground research that is enabling a better education system
They have already conducted an initial pilot test with the Government Practicing School in Gulbarga. Dickson adds, ” We have now connected with various organizations that provide
content such as Design for Change, Apnishala, Meghshala who have allowed us use their content for our second test pilot that we are organizing for students who have failed in their 10th standard exam and help them towards the supplementary exam using our model of using innovative content, enforcing their confidence levels and various life skills and pedagogy that is child centric.”
While most schools run by competitive education methodology are pushing students to pass, ViREd only wishes to ‘educate’ the lesser privileged children.
So, how do they look into the investment aspect?
As is the case with any start up, initial funding and other investments are a worry to most entrepreneurs. Upon being asked the same, Dickson explained that, “We aim to attract investors through grant funding initially. We aim to partner with the government in funding various schools to adopt what we provide. Further we will look for CSR funds to enable schools to set up their infrastructure. We wish to build various stake holders in the
investor pool that we create and create a model of our enterprise, the government and private investors who see value in how we see value in what we are trying to do.”
Their future plans mainly revolve around developing their own content and model of education. Not just any model, but one that will be contextual, technologically intensive and integrated. They will then work towards making their model suitable for the government to use as a fully functional policy.
How can you help be a part of this exceptional idea?
In spite of being content oriented at the moment, Dickson and his team are on the lookout for resources in many other fields as well. He elaborated, ” We are looking for content providers who are willing to share their content, we are looking to be implementation partners for them on the ground. We are looking to hire quality staff in terms of software developers in creation of our evaluation software and maintaining the data base of
students in the schools we operate so as to provide monthly feedback on their performance. We are looking also for content developers where we develop our own methodology which we find most effective in the context that these children study in.”
Nelson Mandela quoted, “Education is the most powerful weapon that can change the world.” ViREd, through its unique and holistic strategy is set to empower thousands of children through the weapon of education. Stylewhack wishes them for all their endeavors.