Sonali Gupta, is a final year computer science engineering student. The experience of schooling and then college life in India drove her to establish Gyan Lab, an experimental learning facility for school kids. With a team of 8 members, the startup is trying to revolutionize the education system in India.
We spoke with Sonali, COO & Director of Technology at Gyan Labs.
Inc42: What exactly is Gyan Lab?
Sonali: Gyan Lab is a hardware-based kinesthetic and experiential learning facility for school students of grades 3 – 9. We are India’s most comprehensive hands-on STEM learning pedagogy for school kids with a focused curriculum that aims at giving kids a stress-free, self-styled and self-paced learning environment based on funducationTM (learning while having fun). What we have actually focused on is developing a curriculum that makes kids more intuitive in nature bringing real things in their surroundings as activities such as Building Vacuum Cleaners, Understanding Cloud Formation, Understanding Taxes, Vedic Mathematics, etc.
The question we asked ourselves while building the whole concept and the programs is – ‘What does a kid need to know by the time he/she is 22 and ready to be independent in this world?’. All equipments, tools and components for the activities are ordered from various vendors in India, Japan, China, Taiwan and USA while the assembly of the kits using these components happens at our facility in Bangalore. However, the real add-on at Gyan Lab is our student assessment and performance metric known as Gyan Meter that gauges the interest field of a child based on how a child performs at Gyan Lab and help choose a proper education and career path in subsequent years.
Inc42: How you are leveraging technology at Gyan Lab?
Sonali: We are particularly targeting education technology. The entire ecosystem of our organization focuses on the designs and patterns of learning. We are getting our equipment from the best manufacturers in the world with most sophisticated production systems. A lot of effortgoes into understanding the development of a child’s thought process. Our main aim is to provide a companion for the child which advances with the child. .
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A very dear element at Gyan Lab is our assessment system Gyan Meter. It gauges their performance according to various dimensions of intellectual ability. The vision behind building this system was to let the child know about his strength and let him work on his weakness
We have also introduced robotics for students which exposes them to the intricacies of engineering, science and technology.
Inc42: Who are the target audience and how you are solving a problem?
Sonali: Our target audience is the students in the age group 7-15.
India’s human resources lack application skills leading to poor work quality which can be deeply blamed on the archaic education system emphasizing on creating assembly line work force.
We had to do something about this – about making learning fun and school to be something you actually look forward to than detesting. On a happiness meter, learning should stand equal to playing outdoors in the evening. So, we started Gyan Lab to make learning more fun, experiential and practical. Using hands-on learning and our student assessment system we can improve the productivity and quality of future HR.
Inc42: Can you share some data on school going kids, mainly the one’s in the age group you target?
Sonali: Indian market comprises of 146.9 million school going kids between grade 3 – 9. Out of these 9.9 million go to private unaided schools where monthly fees is more than INR 300. There are more than 43,000 schools which fall under this category. With time, Govt. schools might also look to adopt this innovative learning means and the market could have a potential of over US$ 3.15 billion in India alone in the next 8-10 years.
Inc42: Tell us about your clients?
Sonali:Our current clients are spread across south and west India in cities of Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mangalore, Manipal, Udupi and Kundapura. We also have a franchisee in Kota, Rajasthan. We are currently working with 3,000 students.
Our ongoing competition Kidovatorshas seen 25,000+ participants from 70+ cities, 15+ states and 400+ schools pan India.
Inc42: How you guys are cracking revenue, can you share any numbers?
Sonali: We have a couple of models for our program. One of them is the Year Long Program (YLP). It is a product based model where we set up a learning facility within the school itself. The students are given their own kits which comprise of 20-30 different activities in Applied Sciences, Life Skills, Electronics, Environmental Chemistry, Commerce, Applied Mathematics and Robotics. The facility can be a part of the class-room teaching or a separate activity, as is comfortable for the school. We give special attention to teacher training in YLP because we believe in empowerment of teachers along with the students. We provide Gyan Meter assessment free of cost to all the students.
We conduct Kidpreneurs Camp which helps kids acquire skills like marketing, money, time management, team building etc.
We also organize evening classes and workshops which cover Robotics, Life – Skills, Advanced Sciences etc.