[Exclusive Interview] Extramarks Will On-Board 10 Lakh Teachers By 2023; Supports 10,000+ Schools Across India!
Recently we spoke with Ritvik Kulshrestha, CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Extramarks Education, and asked him about the company’s vision, and their expansion plans.
Scope and Opportunities for Extramarks in the Indian market.
We believe blended or hybrid learning is here to stay even after COVID has relented. The industry’s growth trajectory corroborates this, with the market expected to be worth over USD 3.5 billion by 2022, five times its size in 2019. EdTech will strengthen the entire education ecosystem not just by digitizing schools but also by enabling teachers to teach from anywhere. Furthermore, students will also be able to learn at their own speed with content tailored to their individual learning requirements.
Seeing the multifaceted benefits, it’s high time we make digital tools more common in the formal education system to make the whole EdTech ecosystem smarter while bridging learning gaps and making academic institutions more resilient to future crises. There are infinite possibilities in the Indian market for us in various areas.
Since the beginning of its operations in 2009, Extramarks has enabled 10,000+ schools. We are now focusing on integrating the ecosystem by bringing teachers, schools, and students closer to each other.
Demands for EdTech solutions continue to remain strong in schools and academic institutions as they continue to build their preparedness (for hybrid or blended education) towards unseen crises as well as make their education delivery system more agile and intelligence driven.
Students will also benefit from the connected environment through recommendations on time management, calendar planning, personalized learning, etc., and track their performance and activities at home efficiently. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also emphasizes tech-enabled learning, with many schools and academic institutions being prepared to implement the policy changes to supplement classroom education.
In fact, decentralization of the EdTech solutions to further deepen its penetration in tier 2 and tier 3 is essential; Extramarks will intensify its efforts to regionalize the curriculum content to make it more accessible to regional learners.
While the traditional EdTech system focussed on empowering students with new-age learning tools, Extramarks believes in catering to each touchpoint in the entire teaching-learning process. Therefore, teachers also become transformation agents to build a robust EdTech ecosystem. Given the data by UNESCO, India struggles with teaching capacity ratio in India, Extramarks believes in empowering them with enough digital infrastructure and mentor support to bridge the digital divide created by various challenges in Edtech Ecosystem. These voids include a shortage of teachers’ availability per 100 students, lack of familiarity with EdTech tools, and gaps in providing individualized attention to each student, among others.
Overview of the brand’s journey and its growth.
Extramarks became operational in 2009 with the primary objective to digitalize a learner’s journey by creating bagless teaching environment within classrooms in India – catering to the early learner, K-12 student, and competitive exams aspirant.
Extramarks began its journey at a time when digital learning was a remote concept or can say at a very nascent stage. Leveraging the early mover advantage, the company provided Smart Class Solutions to transform traditional classrooms into an engaging, learning-centric environment. The company integrated state-of-the-art digital infrastructure, professionally developed multimedia learning content, and robust practice & test-related academic tools into conventional classrooms.
Owing to the excellence of digital infrastructure provided by Extramarks, the company has developed a strong network of 10,000+ leading schools pan India using its end-to-end school learning solutions. These solutions bring the school entirely online, allow seamless digital management of classrooms and enable teachers to take live classes, assign homework tests, and extract intelligence-based performance reports.
With this strong foothold in the school ecosystem, Extramarks in 2018 forayed into the B2C by introducing its flagship platform- Extramarks The Learning App- to help students study in a home education environment by ensuring flexibility and mobility of learning anywhere and anytime. Owing to Extramarks’ presence in schools countrywide, The Learning App gained a phenomenal reception from the learners’ community in a record time. Today, the App enjoys a loyal learner’s base of 10+ million in the B2C market.
Another product we launched during 2018 – 2020 was a toddler’s application for >5 years. Designed on the concept of game-based learning, the Lil One app is based on the tap-learn-play format that helps in brain development and honing creative abilities in children from an early age. The App is a perfect amalgamation of technology and pedagogy that engages, entertains, and educates children. We have also partnered with Chota Bheem to raise curiosity and imagination in the toddlers’ minds.
When COVID hit in 2020, Extramarks went live with a platform called ‘Go to school’ integrated program to build a virtual classroom teaching environment. It helped school teachers to take live classes and assign homework worksheets and tests. They were also able to use Extramarks content to teach students digitally. The Go to school program replicated the in-classroom environment online. It instantly became a hit, with almost 2 million downloads in two weeks. The same product has been recently launched in a renewed avatar called The Teaching app, which empowers school, teachers, home tutors, and private teaching staff. It enables them to enhance their professional skills as well as teaching mechanisms and create new entrepreneurial opportunities through technology.
We partnered with IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Delhi to sponsor Ph.D. students and master’s students to develop breakthroughs by integrating AI (Artificial Intelligence) into education in various forms.
Last year, we completely revamped our brand identity to incorporate a more modern way of imparting education. Over the previous two years, we only worked on updating our entire product and pivoting to a B2B2C sales cycle. The aim is to build a connected Ed-ecosystem now to digitalize teachers- students and schools’ interaction.
Today, we are a formidable team of 3000+ professionals, including tech specialists, expert academic faculty, animation artists, and corporate and market-facing professionals, working towards a unified goal of delivering an integrated and personalized learning experience. Over the years, we have built a solid presence in India, South Africa, the Middle East, and Indonesia.
Details on the learning app and solutions it is providing to its target audience
The Learning App is an integrated platform that features all the Extramarks applications, including K-12, JEE (Joint Entrance Exam), NEET (National Eligibility Entrance Test) segments, and its school-based solutions like Assessment Center and Live Class Platform. It is a one-stop learning destination for students across segments. Backed by the trust of 10,000+ leading schools in India, Extramarks -The Learning App leverages the proven pedagogy of Learn-Practice-Test to cater to all subjects, all classes, and multiple boards.
It offers a myriad of features, including media-rich modules, live classes, and recorded lectures for learning. It also allows students to practice score boosters, high-weightage questions, get unlimited doubt solving live sessions, create custom tests, and more for a holistic learning experience. Its predictive reporting capability offers students personalized content based on their learning pace and performance to deliver a best-in-class learning experience. Students can attain their objectives by having easy and convenient access to live classes and interactive doubt-solving sessions.
Future plans and geographical expansion
Our growth plan is to penetrate deeper into the Ed-tech ecosystem in the immediate future. We are already digitalizing the teaching infrastructure of at least 1000 schools m-o-m and looking at 2X growth by next year. We plan to extend our product portfolio of The Learning App and Teaching App to students and teachers through schools, paving the way for our B2B2C business model.
Our approach is to have a 360-degree outreach plan of connecting schools, teachers, and students through various teaching and learning tools. By the end of March next year, our goal for the teaching app platform is to on-board 1M teachers from all over the country.
On the institutional side, Extramarks envisions partnering with each school in the country, consolidate the educators and learners’ community through our flagship Brand Experiences contributing to the holistic development of children.
We are highly bullish on artificial intelligence to develop new age teaching and learning tech breakthroughs. We plan to launch phase one of our AI applications in a few months to make our product portfolio smarter than before.
Extramarks’ approach to providing holistic and seamless learning to all students
Last year, Extramarks rebranded its identity to deepen its positioning as a holistic learning solutions provider. With this recent brand overhaul, the company aims to build a connected EdTech ecosystem by bringing schools, students, and teachers under its fold. To provide holistic learning opportunities, Extramarks delivers curriculum-mapped academic content that is engaging enough to stimulate young minds. Extramarks flagship – The Learning App offers media-rich modules, live classes, and recorded lectures for learning. Users will also have the ability to practice score boosters, high-weightage questions, get unlimited doubt solving live sessions, create custom tests, and access many more exciting features for a holistic learning experience.
In addition to this, some new developments included our biggest and the first of many events, “Extramarks Weekender”, which provided unique experiences in the form of entertainment, infotainment workshops and lectures to young children, parents, and educators on a single virtual platform. Additionally, our most recent partnership with Arsenal Football Club will bring alive our vision of holistic development of a child of both genders- by promoting football within academic institutions.
Objective behind the brand revamp & details of the upcoming partnership’s/launches (if any)
The new avatar of the logo in the form of an Airplane symbolizes the renewed brand ambition of helping students’ dreams take flight through a more personalized, creative, and holistic learning experience. The brand colour scheme is now a deeper shade of orange, reflective of the vitality that children bring, reminiscent of their enthusiasm for learning and fascination with new concepts. The company’s flagship product- Extramarks -The Learning App has undergone a complete experiential overhaul. Extramarks has integrated all of its Applications in the K-12, JEE, NEET segments and its School-based solutions like Assessment Center and Live Class Platform into a single Extramarks – The Learning App, making it a one-stop learning destination for students across segments.
Recent Partnership with Arsenal Football club
The idea behind this partnership was to offer wholesome learning experiences on the field and in the classroom by combining football and education. While driving brand awareness among young learners, it is also aimed at ensuring the holistic development of students rather than just development within the classroom. We believe that sports play a critical role in the overall development of students, and we aim to create value through sporting events that nurture learning by way of test challenges for students. Combining synergies, Arsenal and Extramarks are revolutionizing children’s education and overall growth.
Roadmap of the brand for the next 5 years.
Our growth strategy is to penetrate deeper into the EdTech ecosystem. We are already digitalizing the teaching infrastructure with a 2X growth rate expected next year. We intend to expand The Learning App and The Teaching App’s product portfolio to students and teachers through schools, paving the roadmap for our B2B2C business model. Our strategy is to use diverse teaching and learning methods to connect schools, teachers, and students in an all-rounder outreach plan. Extramarks is trying to bring all of the country’s schools under one roof so that educators and students may benefit from our premier Brand Experiences.
Ease of learning and ease of teaching by Teachers app
The Teaching App is a 360-degree solution for all teaching needs, providing schoolteachers, private tutors, and coaching staff with the benefits of a real classroom-teaching experience. Extramarks’ Teaching App offers new solutions for school instructors and home tutors to plan, administer, and track their entire live class schedule on a single platform while automating tedious and monotonous documentation. This provides education inclusivity in tier 2 & 3 cities. With the increasing use of technology in schools, this app is designed to make the teaching and learning experience more ambitious and futuristic. Extramarks is planning to on-board 1 million teachers to its platform by March 2023.