Being a career educator with 22+ years of experience teaching and mentoring the brightest minds in the country through their journey to cracking IIT JEE, NEET, and other prestigious national and international competitive exams, I have witnessed the inconsistencies in the opportunity provided to different students originating from different backgrounds.
For many children in this country, reaching the starting line is as difficult as finishing the race is for other children, academically speaking. As a son of a farmer myself, and having been raised in a socio-economically challenged family as a child, I have always felt that one of the primary goals of Indian education system must be to create a level playing field in education.
The rich and the affluent are not at fault for leveraging their wealth to provide their children with the best teachers, the best coaching institutes, and the best supplemental study programs to ensure their success. Every parent wants what is best for their child. But we fail as a society if we can’t ensure the right to quality education for every child. It is with this thought in mind that my team of 400+ IITians and Doctors and I built STEPapp: a gamified learning app that provides conceptual clarity to students in Math and Science.
The idea behind STEPapp was simple. What if educational content created by my team of India’s best teachers, who are IITians and Doctors themselves, was accessible to every child in India? And going a step further, what if the children could learn in a fun and engaging way through that content being provided in a gamified format? With this thought in mind, we roped in some of the best technology experts and built STEPapp. We caught the attention of many thought leaders in education, and several popular private schools like GD Somani Memorial School, Mumbai, invited us to have students play STEPapp and get feedback from the end-user directly. Shri Amitabh Bachchan joined STEPapp as the brand ambassador and has been a monumental support to us throughout our journey.
STEPapp launched with a great public reception, racing to the top trending spots on Play Store and App Store within one week of launch, and amassed 4 milion+ downloads and counting. It became quite clear to us that STEPapp solves some very real problems in education:
- Concepts are available to students in the smallest conceptual quanta, promoting bite-sized learning.
- Content is mapped to school syllabus of all major boards, ensuring test-readiness for all students.
- The app tests learning outcomes in real-time and students can relearn concepts as many times as they need, making learning self-paced.
- All stakeholders in education – students, teachers, parents, and policymakers – get the report on learning outcomes, bringing everyone on the same page.
With STEPapp reaching students across the country at highly affordable prices, our work still felt half done. The vision of a level playing field in education could only be accomplished when we could provide high-quality gamified learning to the remotest child. And for that, we needed the support of the various state governments and the central government of India.
Our first breakthrough towards that end came in the form of Eklavya Model Residential Schools. The Tribal Development Department of Maharashtra adopted STEPapp in 14 EMRS Schools. The learning outcomes of the students were unprecedented, and 15 EMRS students got through the first round of NTSE for the first time ever. There was a marked improvement in conceptual clarity and STEPapp received tremendous feedback from EMRS teachers, principals, and students alike. Following that, STEPapp was implemented in all 25 EMRS schools in Maharashtra.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs of India followed suit and mandated the implementation of STEPapp in all tribal schools across the country, and now STEPapp is available to students in all tribal schools in India.
The government of Tamil Nadu signed an MoU with us, mandating the implementation of STEPapp in government schools across Tamil Nadu. This implementation brought STEPapp to 1 million students studying in Tamil Nadu government schools.
600+ JNV Schools across the country have also had STEPapp implemented, and our mission to bring high-quality gamified learning to every child in India is going strong.