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Next Education: Aims at a Technology-oriented Approach to Education & Expand Globally

The market size is huge. Approximately only 25% of the schools have been partially digitized. The scope for expansion is vast and motivating.

BWDisrupt interacted with Founding team of Next Education Pvt.Limited to know more about their entrepreneurial journey.

How has the journey of Next Education been since its inception?

I co-founded Next Education India Pvt. Ltd in 2007, along with Raveendranath Kamath. The organisation was formed, anticipating technology to change the face of education. We invested the first two years on research and development. We initially delved into the education industry in India. One of the key discoveries of this research was that the curriculum of schools in India was not age-appropriate. Hence, the first step was to develop a strong content team. It took us approximately four years to create the content, during which approximately Rs 600 mn was invested..

Next Education’s first product, LearnNext, a self-learning solution, was a hit, when launched. It still has more than 65% renewal rate. However, the market for LearnNext is very limited due to stiff competition from various schools and tuition centres. Parents also tend to overlook LearnNext, even if they like the product. That is what triggered the launch of Next Education’s flagship product, TeachNext, for schools.

What are the key features of Next Education India Pvt. Ltd?
Slowly, but steadily, Next Education has added various products to its portfolio, and has become a complete end-to-end education solutions provider. The company has the best interest for all the stakeholders of the k-12 sector in mind. LearnNext caters to students, whereas TeachNext caters to both students and teachers. Our other product, NextERP was born out of the vision to provide a school management software that brings all the stakeholders on the same platform.

How is Next Education different from its competitors?
All Next Education products are based on the NEXT learning model, a proprietary model designed by our in-house team of eminent educators. The learning architecture is an experiential education model, designed as a blend of the extensive research within the Indian market segment and the contemporary international learning design principles.

Most of the technology platforms for NEXT are Linux and open source-based. Features such as CCE compliance, technically advanced 2D/3D animation, Linux-based OS to lower the overall cost of ownership, and remote operable system are some of the key strengths of Next's products. Next Education has a few unique and well-researched technological advancements such as life-like 2D and 3D graphics, voice-overs, highly interactive content of international standards, and an innovative course design.

Generally, most of the service providers wash their hands of any responsibility once they have provided their clients, i.e. schools, with the hardware. But, Next Education does not just stop at sales; it provides the required support to ensure the smooth functioning of the hardware. We also provide technical support engineers to schools to fix any technical issue.

Is the company backed by any funding?'
It is a self-funded organisation.

What are the recent achievements of Next Education?
Within a short span, Next Education has created quite a buzz in the education sector and has garnered many awards and recognition. The latest in its kitty is the ‘Innovation in Pre-school Pedagogy’, awarded at the World Education Summit in 2016. Last year, Next Education won the ‘Innovation in Teaching Pedagogy Award’ at the World Education Summit, and the ‘Innovation Excellence Award in Education’ by The Association Chambers of Commerce and Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

What are the various technologies adopted by Next Education India Pvt. Ltd?
Next Education always tries to update teaching methodologies, and provide relevant and improved curriculum to the learners. It incorporates the latest technological developments to enhance the user interface. For instance, Spring Framework is being used for it is a lighter framework that can accommodate several modules such as IOC, AOP, DAO, Context, Web MVC and ORM. It provides comprehensive infrastructural support for developing our web applications. Apache Spark, Apache Storm, Drools, etc., are some of the other technological innovations adopted by Next Education.

Furthermore, Next Education has adopted Claymation as a teaching methodology for pre-schoolers. The 21st century kids are born in the age of computers and tablets. 3D and 2D videos are not innovative enough to capture their attention. Hence, the creative team at Next Education resorted to Claymation to better connect with youngsters. Image projection, motion capture and telestration are a few more innovations that are used to present the content in an interesting manner.

Discuss the monetization model, traction details and future plans of the organization.
After the initial phase of research, Kamath and I waited patiently for the products to be launched in the market. Now, the returns on the investments look promising. In 2015, the organisation’s gross sales touched Rs 193 crore. TeachNext is charged on a quarterly basis for a period of five years. Next ERP, the school management software is charged per student. There is sufficient protection against any macroeconomic changes.

The products and solutions of Next Education have received a positive feedback from teachers and students alike, which definitely prompts us to introduce more solutions and products. The research on the complete academic solution is going well. Next Education is dedicated to introducing technology-oriented approaches to education, and is also gearing up to be a global player in the next couple of years.

What are the challenges Next Education has been facing? Also, discuss the present market size.

The challenges are many, but the leadership remains undaunted. After all, challenges only lead to innovations. There are many infrastructural issues. For instance, power cuts hamper the productivity of a digital classroom. Then, the quality of teachers, which affects the quality of education. Next Education addresses to the latter by organising teacher trainings regularly.

The market size is huge. Approximately only 25% of the schools have been partially digitized. The scope for expansion is vast and motivating.

In India, majority of the schools still rely on offline modes to impart lessons and manage administrative functions. It would be great if they shift even partially to technology.

Tags assigned to this article:
global technology next education

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