Author's Corner

Evil Ed-tech? Look around you, businesses are more or less the same.

I came across this hot debate on “Ed-tech” startup sales and advertising strategy which can make any parent feel that they are not doing enough for their kids “intentionally” and they should hop on the there platform to give the “best” and “modern” education that there kid deserve to unlock his hidden potential.

Any parent would fall for that sort of pitch because if he does not he would be doing a sin “intentionally” by not giving a chance to his kid.   

Kids

Magic is in your head not in the tools you use” ~ Lokesh 

There are self motivated and bright students who do well if given a chance but, my concern is for an average student who is not self motivated and not so bright. 

Nobody is a labelled average, but there are bright students who are proactive and are good at understanding a topic without much efforts, remember things good and dont need multiple attempts to crack a exam, but every student can learn anything provided if he has the sheer will to excel, and this so called ‘sheer will’ comes from within.

It’s not like someday somebody will pop and teach you about something and you become a master of it…It doesn’t happen that way. It takes time and resilience and more importantly an individual’s interest and dedication to learn and master anything. 

It’s like in the movie ‘Inception’ – Nobody can plant anything into anybody’s mind because one day when one introspect he will be bombarded with the truth about the implanted idea which does not match with his personality.

Gambling on the possibilities.

Coming back to luring Parents,  I will say ‘ed-tech’ have done their market research well and know their target customer, which is Parents in this case. 

Like any businesses, they are advertising the top 1% achievers as a reference point of there platform to bait the rest of the 99% (This is a fact of advertising, it is being practised in every advertisement you see, be it fairness cream, Perfumes, Soaps, Cold drinks etc. This culture thrives simply because “why would you buy a product with flaws ?”).

No one in no way can certainly judge if a person will perform well or not what one can ensure is exposure to opportunities and resources. 

In India a large population is not privileged to learn from talented teachers or being rightly guided to choose a career path, on the other hand the privileged have access to better resources which makes them one step ahead in terms of opportunities and exposure.

Considering resources as the evil one can infer that “every student holds the potential of becoming better”. 

“Ed-tech” has assumed that every student has the potential to become better and achieve success provided they have access to the “best in the market” and “modern” resources. 

The Real Fuss

Their promotional strategy. Creating a sense of competition and guilt primarily in Parents. The guilt of not being able to provide “the best ” resource to his kid which might have made a difference in kids life. Moreover, the guilt of not doing enough by “spending money” and being the sole culprit in his kid failure.

The sense of competition in parents by projecting a kid who has made an app at the age of 7 which most of the engineering students can’t make, this situation makes a parent worry about his kid’s position in the world where every other kid has become “smarter” and his kid is left out. This led to quick enrollment and eventually parents putting pressure on their kids for not performing well and cursing them for wasting their money.

The saddest part is, in a country like India, where the population is very huge and jobs are limited, there always will be some people at the top and most of the people at the middle or bottom, no matter how hard somebody tries the ratio will remain the same. It might be the case that maybe 1-2%, here and there, can work hard and become a black swan someday but eventually many people will fail miserably and they will feel cheated.

But do I think it’s “ed-tech” fault?

No.

It’s like any other business

“Ed-techs” are simply doing what any business organization does, and is doing pretty well.

They have a product, they know primary consumers, they know the decision maker and most importantly they know the thought process of the decision maker(parents) and they are  capitalising on it, making their platform better and accessible. So in my opinion “ed-techs” are not at fault.

The parents are at fault, as they are not realising on the very first hand that for a child, initial schooling should be to learn and explore their interest and compound on it. 

Engineering, coding skills is not the only skill needed in the future, every profession thrives with the support from other professions.

For Parents.

So parents rather falling into the pothole of guilt and putting pressure on a child, you should sit with him/ her and try to help them out to generate curiosity and observe where his interest incline because you don’t know what your class 3 kid is capable of. He might be the next Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Mirza, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Lionel Messy,  Pele, Shahrukh Khan, Roger Federer, Sunidhi Chauhan, or Neil De Griese Tyson.

I know for a fact that every child is special, let them fly and they will sail the ship in a better direction. 

P.S.- Ed-tech has opened a new realm of teaching and learning culture by including technology, quality and accessibility, it has surely challenged the conventional mode of teaching. This new outlook will push the traditional classroom teaching methods to adapt to what the kids want rather than what has been blindly followed for ages.

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