While India has tried its hand at distance education models like massive open online courses (MOOCs), they haven't really worked out well enough.
Amid a host of factors like distance, lack of accessibility, lack of engagement, lack of motivation and so on, dropout rates for correspondence courses still remain high.
However, ed-tech start-up SchoolGuru has been trying to find a solution.
The vision with which SchoolGuru was founded
SchoolGuru was founded in 2012 by a BHU gold-medallist and IIM-Kolkata alumnus Shantanu Rooj "with the noble vision of revolutionizing the way Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is delivered to higher education students in India". As of 2016, SchoolGuru had over 2.5 lakh enrolments.
Finding a solution
SchoolGuru is trying to find the middle ground
Over the last two years, SchoolGuru, along with several institutes, has been trying to reach a middle-ground between impersonal and un-engaging distance education, and regular models of class education.
SchoolGuru has tied up with 17 universities to offer undergraduate and post-graduate courses via its mobile app, Lurningo, but it is going about it in a markedly different way from standard correspondence courses.
What the Lurningo app has to offer
Unlike regular correspondence courses which involve paying fees, buying books, and taking exams at physical centres, Lurningo offers both full-time and part-time courses which can be completed online.
Additionally, these courses come with downloadable lectures, interactive learning material, online assignments, an internal assessment system, and chat rooms for peer-to-peer and group discussions.
Even placement options for some courses are available via the app.
SchoolGuru also provides internship opportunities
SchoolGuru offers keen learners several other advantages.
For instance, the start-up's industry tie ups help students get internships and apprenticeship so they can get hands-on experience and learn on the job.
Notably, SchoolGuru also offers an employment oriented programme which helps grasp fundamentals like command over the English language, communication, business etiquette etc.
How SchoolGuru is slowly changing the distance learning landscape
In addition to helping distance learning students connect with faculty and engage with learning more interactively, the mobile app approach has also seen enrolment go up, especially in remote areas.
Options to download material also help candidates who do not have stable internet connectivity.
Furthermore, the mobile-based and completely online approach is helping several working people pursue courses as per their convenience.