Dinesh Lahoti was born and brought up in the North-east region of India. From a very young age, he was curious and was observant of the numerous shortcomings when it came to education. He was a bright student and made it to IIT Guwahati post which he joined Reliance as a Field Engineer but in a span of 30 days, he realized that his calling lay somewhere else.
He came back to Guwahati and decided to startup to improve the education system. He was cognizant of the fact that there would be many challenges he’d face but he was ready to take them on. Forming a team was one of the biggest problems. “I wanted a team that not only possessed competency and dedication, but also shared a vision to make improvements in the education-system using creativity and innovation,” says Dinesh. He started talking to his friends and was able to convince a some of them to join him in the mission. Abhimanyu Bhaker and Kuldeep Karwa are his batchmates from IIT Guwahati while Khushboo hails from Assam Engineering College and Lokesh Daga from Sikkim Manipal University. The five of them brought different skills to the table and they came together to starup Edugenie in early 2013.
Edugenie is a social enterprise that provides innovative hands-on Educational solutions in Maths and Science for educational institutes, government bodies and NGOs. “Opposed to ‘One Size Fits All’ education, we provide highly personalized learning and promote discovery-learning against rote-learning,” says Abhimanyu. Their programs are a blend of various learning practices- designed to build persona of a child (learner) and emphasize on curiosity, creativity and critical-thinking. “We carry out assessment of students not through written tests, but with board games activities specially designed by our team to capture a complete matrix of individual-skill, teamwork and determination. In all programs, we not only stress on making the subject interesting, we also make sure that it makes a long-term impact on the student,” he adds.
In the past 1.5 years, Edugenie has reached more than 20,000 kids through their WOW Maths Show, WOW Science Show and Hands-On mobile exhibition. ‘More than 3000 students have been a part of our long term programs; we have trained around 500 teachers on Hands-On Learning,’ says Dinesh.
Dept. of Science & Technology, ASTEC, The Cambridge International School, Guwahati, NEHU and All Assam Book Publishers & Book Sellers Association are some of the big organizations of North-east this young team has worked with. As a part of their social initiative, Edugenie claims to have up-skilled around 1000 underprivileged students.
Challenges and overcoming them
The team believes that hands-on Learning, experiential learning, and discovery approach are still unknown for a major section of people in this country. Parents/Principals are very hesitant in trying new things and taking risks in the matters of education of the kids. “In order to make our marketing and publicity effective and increase our credibility, we need to popularize these concepts as well. Thus, we have come up with the idea of Hands-On Mobile Exhibition, a public outreach program, aimed to educate masses on the above mentioned concepts and provide an opportunity to the parents so they can experience what our students do,” says Khushboo. Their vision is to be capable enough to organize such exhibitions in any part of the world, keeping the cost and efforts to the minimum.
Edugenie often takes the concept to book fairs, science fairs, social gatherings, educational events, NGOs, school functions, college fests, shopping malls, camps and educational workshops across North-east.
Revenue model and future plans
The experiential learning area within education is seeing a good buzz with other players like Gyan labs, Experifun, ThinkLabs, etc. gaining traction. Edugenie’s revenue comes from schools, Government-bodies and their own learning centers. “Schools, where we provide hands-on learning support for training kids and teachers; Government bodies and NGOs, that give us various consultancy projects for government schools and under-developed educational blocks; and Edugenie’s learning centers and its franchisees in various parts of Assam help us sustain and grow,’ says Dinesh. Mainly in Assam, the team intends to expand in other parts of North-East soon. Edugenie is also launching educational games and do-it-yourself-kits for teachers that will be available throughout the country.