Even as we are marching forward with high aspirations for ourselves and our nation, our education system is crumbling under its own pressure day-by-day. Our children go to schools not so much because they enjoy studying, but only because they are made to obey the commands of their parents and teachers; our children study not so much to learn and understand, but only to score good marks! Given this bleak scenario, we at Withstartups found a refreshingly unique organization named ScienceUtsav, based in Bangalore, which is making waves in the field of creative parallel education for children. We spoke to one of its Founders Mr. Shashank Karnam, who started the venture along with two of his Friends-cum-Co-Founders, Mr. Harsha Atri KG and Mr. Supreeth Kittenkere. Here’s how he and his team are trying to make learning Science more fun:
When did you startup? And what was the motivation behind starting ScienceUtsav?
We formally inaugurated on 14 Nov 2010. But we had started work much before that to collect data about the methodology of science teaching, topics covered, syllabi and curriculum.
We are Engineers and thus know how the journey has been for us. We have experienced first hand that, learning Science is for the grades and not so much for the understanding of the concepts. Even after our Engineering, the Science concepts were still vague for us. Thus, we saw that Science was just another subject to be mugged up. We realized that there is a need to make learning Science more fun for kids. And that was precisely the motivation behind starting ScienceUtsav.
Who does your clientele consist of? How do you identify your clients/customers?
Our clientele consists of schools (Around 25 in Mumbai and Bangalore), institutes (Around 100 in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Aurangabad and Chennai), corporate houses (Around 10 in Bangalore) and parents.
Our customers are those who want to provide activity-based learning to children of age group 6 – 14. We identify them out of references or through our sales and marketing team. We have the following verticals:
1. Curriculum-based Programs
2. Fun workshops and Science shows
3. Scientific Birthday Parties
4. Corporate programs
5. Science exhibitions and Lab supplies
How open have the schools and other organizations been to your initiative? Any remarkable experiences to share?
Schools have been very open to this idea. A few international schools have given us great feedback and we are continuously working on thus received feedback to improve our endeavor of making learning Science fun for the kids.
In Mumbai, we are already associated with the top 2 schools; viz. Oberoi International School and Ecole Mondiale World School. We get a lot of encouragement from them and our innovative teaching methodology has been well appreciated.
In Bangalore, we have been working with Sarvodaya Public School, Nagarabhavi, BGS Public School, Bannerghatta Road, Poorna Prajna Schools, and many more.
Our Engagement with TanishQ, where we entertain the Customers’ children has been slowly picking speed and we are hoping to further expand our customer base soon.
What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced as an organization and how have you overcome it?
Promoting the concept itself, has been the biggest challenge we have faced, as our education system is very different. That is, it’s not supportive of creative learning, and is very marks oriented. But we are definitely hopeful that things will change for the better, as more and more awareness about creative parallel education is created.
Why only Science? And, why only school children? What about the problems persisting in other disciplines and also in the higher education sector?
We have started with Science because this has the biggest lacuna in terms of the methodology of teaching. We intend to move to other subjects and age groups soon.
What is your revenue model? What are your future plans?
We intend to work with schools and Corporate houses to add value to the learning quotient of the kids through our parallel education workshops and curriculum based programs. Parallelly, we will be associating with institutes to conduct weekend workshops and also vacation camps, to focus on various topics that are not traditionally covered in the school curricula.
Meantime, to kindle creativity and inquisitiveness, we make Birthday parties more entertaining as well as educative by means of what’s called edutainment, by organizing Scientific Birthday Parties.
One tip for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Following and focusing on a clear-cut process is the most important aspect for a startup. To run a successful organization, we have to make it process-driven rather than people-driven.