Students have adapted the learn-from-home methods of schooling over the past year and more. But this has affected their holistic development through the right balance of academic and co-curricular activities. Keeping this in mind, Team Vedantu launched V-Nurture, a platform for co-curricular learning for students across the nation.
Anand Prakash, co-founder and head of academics, Vedantu, talks about the latest endeavour.
Since its inception, Vedantu has focused on helping children with the school curriculum. What prompted you to branch out to extra-curricular activities with V-Nurture?
Education must be holistic. When you talk about a child’s development, it’s not only about subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Maths or Social Science. These help children grow but there are a lot of other activities, too, that can help them grow. In fact, before COVID, students were able to engage in these kinds of activities at school. But schools, unfortunately, had to shut down because of the pandemic and all such activities came to a standstill.
We had been continuing with co-curricular activities in a very small way, only for our own internal long-term students. We were offering courses in public speaking and debate apart from the regular courses. Vedic Maths was a regular feature that we offered along with the regular curriculum. But these were not very detailed and were not really part of a curriculum. It was more like an additional lecture session. But a lot of parents actually felt that students at home were not growing properly and their holistic development had been affected. At the Vedantu team, we felt that this was the right time to add a lot of things to a student’s life and leave it optional and see whether students were adapting to it or not. With that thought in mind, we tried to scale up what we were trying to do and we added a lot of courses that can directly help the students grow holistically. Students can choose from courses in public speaking, debate and art and craft and follow their passion.
What kind of skill development does V-Nurture offer? Why do you think it is necessary to instill these skills from a young age?
Just think about our nation. It’s vast and spread out. Schools in metro cities get a lot of exposure to extra-curricular activities but there are so many students in second- and third-tier cities who do not get that kind of exposure. And, in life, more than your subject, what matters is the confidence that you gain and the overall personality that you have. That will help you grow in your career post your college days.
We, at Vedantu, believe that if we are able to add those skill sets to students at a very early stage, it would benefit them immensely. Just imagine public speaking. A lot of students have stage fear. You will find massive differences between students from metro and those from second-tier and third-tier cities when they go to college. Through our courses, we can reach out to second- and third-tier cities and help narrow that gap. Students who are not fortunate enough to go to the best of schools can gain confidence through these courses. Their overall personality will grow and their confidence level will increase, they will be more competitive when they go to college or when they apply for jobs.
We keep on adding courses. For example, the most popular courses are public speaking and debate. A student in a second-tier city gets to debate with a student in a metro and a level playing field is created. We have nearly 50 courses but public speaking, debate, art and craft and the computer literacy courses are the most popular.
Students who are not fortunate enough to go to the best of schools can gain confidence through these courses. Their overall personality will grow and their confidence level will increase, they will be more competitive when they go to college or when they apply for jobs.- Anand Prakash, Co-founder and head of academics Vedantu
Which age groups are these courses meant for? How are these courses being delivered?
Currently, we use our own platform which enables all these courses to happen seamlessly. We have different platforms for different kinds of activities so that we can have a lot of videos. We also have our own platform where students can create their craft and showcase it to the other students. So, we have different platforms catering to the needs of all these courses that we are launching.
We are currently catering to the 10-18 age group but we are planning to broaden that to 3-18 years.
Do teachers have the freedom to create their tutorial classes and children to pick what they want?
We have a lot of teachers who come with their own skill set. There are a lot of teachers who are very good in art and craft or those who specialise in Vedic Maths. There are a lot of teachers who added computer literacy to their skill sets. We are using those teachers and giving them freedom to create these courses and see which courses are more adaptive. Then we work with the content team to develop these courses in detail.
Which segment of learners are you going to focus on going forward and why?
Our focus is K-12 and anything and everything in K-12. We really want to be holistic. We really want to create an impact at an early stage from 3 years or 4 years to 12-13 years. They are in the moulding. If we are able to bridge the gap as early as possible, I think the entire nation will be impacted because of the kind of personalities they will become by the age they step into higher education.
How has having Aamir Khan as brand ambassador helped reach some of your goals?
Aamir Khan is very passionate about these co-curriculars and one of the talking points when we were signing him on as brand ambassador was that he is passionate about bringing change in students’ life. You can see and relate with the movies that he has done — Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots. He believes in the movies he has made and he has actually created those using holistic development as the theme. Therefore, our discussion was very fruitful. He was interested in taking a few courses at Vedantu, especially if it was adding value to a student's life. He is definitely a great addition to the Vedantu team and we feel we are actually going to create a much bigger delta and impact with him.