India’s new Education Policy is a revolutionary step that can catapult Indian students’ level to compete with students of developed countries,” says  Keshav Maheshwari, whole-time executive of Allen Career Institute, in an interview with The Education Post Online. Keshav talks about a range of issues from India’s coaching industry to Allen institutes competitive position. Here are the excerpts

An insight into the competitive exam coaching industry in India?

More than 15 million students prepare for competitive exams (IIT JEE, CAT, Banking, etc) every year. Henceforth, it is safe to say that, test preparation indeed is one of the most lucrative business models that exist today.

The Indian coaching industry is assumed to be growing at over 15 per cent per year, welcoming new educators and brands for offering coaching services to competitive exam aspirants. Especially when technology has become an essential component of the Indian education industry, entrepreneurs are fully utilising the tool for enhancing their services, assuring their place in this competitive industry.

Allen’s competitive position in the Indian coaching industry compared to its contemporaries?

Allen Digital Classroom is one such initiative that has created a buzz in the recent time. The brand, after successfully dominating the offline coaching industry is now catering through the online platform. The brand’s primary motive is to make coaching services accessible to every student that belongs to both the rural and urban areas of our country.

The Indian coaching industry is assumed to be growing at over 15 per cent per year

Through such online platforms, educators are offering hundreds of coaching sample papers that can prepare students to stay competitive while preparing for the examination. Further, the availability of online doubt classes by experts is another key feature that is making this initiative further fruitful.

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the fastest-ever shift of education to online platforms. What strategies Allen has adopted to cope up with this situation?

With the lockdown started in March we realised that it will continue for some time since cases are rising at that time, so we started Digital Online Classes for session 2020-21 (for IIT-JEE, JEE Main, NEET (UG), Classes 6th to 10th, 11th and 12th). In this teaching mode, students can attend classes from home. After completing the admission process student will be provided access to the Digital Classroom Online Portal and through that platform student can attend the online class using mobile, desktop, laptop and other similar devices. All the faculties of Allen Career Institute are helping the students in this online learning programme.

Views on the National Education Policy 2020? What are its takeaways for the Indian coaching industry?

This is a revolutionary policy that can catapult Indian students’ level to compete with students of developed countries. The change by a marks-based report to a holistic test will guarantee a transfer away from rote learning to conceptual learning.  The NEP 2020 talks about the elimination of coaching. Coaching has always been supplementing the school education curriculum, which is formulated, keeping the population’s median in mind. Unless the academic inputs given at school level are increased considerably, eliminating coaching is a distant possibility.

Also the outcomes of coaching has always made the nation proud. In academics and in sports and various other fields, the actual contributions coming from private coaching go unnoticed. We request the governments to involve the Coaching fraternity in discussions about the educational policy to get a 360-degree view. This will be in the best interest of the student community and nation at large.

How the push towards Digital is slowly revolutionizing the coaching business?

Online coaching and mentoring is the next education frontline. There are innumerable reasons to choose online coaching and 90 per cent of students today think that online learning is the same or better than the traditional classroom experience. Every student and coach must assess their unique situation and decide according to their needs and goals. The main objective of online coaching institutions should be helping the students to learn meritoriously. If anyone wants to give the greatest number of students the greatest amount of opportunity, investment has to be done in online coaching sector, and it pays off. Indeed online coaching and mentoring can be resourceful, lucrative, accessible, and it is already indicating to be a driver in student success. What better reasons could there be?

Unless the academic inputs given at school level are increased considerably, eliminating coaching is a distant possibility.

Allen’s overseas expansion plans?

With the second generation entering the business from 2014 onwards Allen Career Institute shifted its gears. In 2018-19, it had 1.56 lakh students, and the footprint had expanded across 18 cities in six states and over 100 study centers. The numbers kept swelling. By March 2020, Allen had 2 lakh students in-classroom coaching and over 1.5 lakh in long-distance programs.

I am in charge of the global expansion of Allen Career Institute. Already present in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar, we are exploring new geographies to explore foreign markets for Allen.

Useful tips/advice to budding eduprenuer?

If you’re not willing to take smart and calculated risks along the way, you’re giving up your chance to succeed. Taking risks is necessary, but taking unnecessary risks is plain stupid. Make sure you understand all the pros and cons of your actions before you take a step. And once you’ve taken the leap of faith, pray everything works out in your favour.

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