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Interview: “This pandemic has drastically transformed the education system,” Says Beas Dev Ralhan of Next Education India

In an interview with the TechGraph, Beas Dev Ralhan of Next Education India said, “Education has been closely linked to classroom-based learning for all this while. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has drastically transformed the education system.”

Here is a full transcript: 

TechGraph: Let’s begin with the first thing first. Can you let our audience know more about Next Education? 

Beas Dev Ralhan: Founded in 2007, Next Education is an optimal education solutions provider based out of Hyderabad. Touching the lives of 12,000,000+ students and 240,000+ teachers across 18,000+ schools, our solutions serve multiple purposes in both academic and administrative domains. 

Next Education is an end-to-end SaaS-based education platform provider for the K-12 sectors. Our products and solutions aim to meet all the academic needs of a learner and make quality education affordable and accessible for every child. We believe in partnerships with our employees, customers, vendors, governing bodies, and other stakeholders to strengthen the ecosystem over an extended period. 

TechGraph: How did the Next Education happen?

Beas Dev Ralhan: During my days at IIT Bombay, I realized that to make an impact on modern society, one has to build companies supported by the latest technologies and utilize the power of the Internet. My friend and colleague at PartyGaming, Raveendranath Kamath, had the same vision. So, both of us desired to employ technology to make a social impact in India.

In 2007, a focused market study helped us realize that the Indian education sector was least impacted by technology. With technology as our ally, we wanted to devise innovative methods to make education accessible and affordable for all. Thus, Next Education was born with a vision to transform education to suit the requirements of today’s learners.

TechGraph: Can you shed some light on Next Education’s unique product offerings?

Beas Dev Ralhan: At Next Education, we have always tried to create solutions that meet all the requirements of academic stakeholders pertaining to school set-up, digitization of classrooms, implementation of activity-oriented education, administrative guidance and tools, etc.

The following are our product offerings for the K-12 sector:

TeachNext:  Our flagship product, TeachNext, validated by the education industry with numerous awards, is a comprehensive academic suite that addresses the needs of all K-12 stakeholders. The multimedia content, integrated with world-class tools, lesson plans, and assessments, bolsters teachers’ skills and allows them to be experimental and creative in the classroom.

Tailored with 4,000+ Hours of Digital Content, 540,000+ Questions in Question Bank, 25,000+ Learning Modules, 6,000+ Experiments and Simulations, TeachNext provides hands-on-experiments, interactive simulations via creating a game-like environment, 3D experiments, solved board papers, interactive assessments, etc.

The solution is designed to suit the diverse needs of the educational sector and caters to multiple intelligences – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, which are largely neglected in rote learning. Holding a market share of 65%, it is the top-selling digital classroom solution in India.

Next Learning Platform: NextLearningPlatform is an effective AI-ML based school management and course management system, which meets all the academic and administrative needs of a school.

It is a cloud-based, integrated platform that ensures top-notch data security with vast storage space for managing a school’s academic and administrative needs. The platform helps schools, teachers and students collaborate in the learning process by fulfilling each of their requirements and facilitating easy and transparent communication among them. The Next Learning Platform is a powerful combination of the school management system, course management system, assessment solution, and award-winning content that meets all the academic and administrative needs of a school. 

Next Curriculum: Next Curriculum is a complete curriculum solution for more holistic, rounded, and grounded education. Our curriculum strictly adheres to the National Curriculum Framework guidelines and follows a thematic approach catering to different learning styles. 

Next Curriculum ensures effectiveness in teaching and learning through:

NextBooks with high-quality graphics and real-life examples to explain the concepts. Our books comprise instructional books and a learner companion book. To facilitate anytime, anywhere learning, a digital version of the books (ebooks) is available on the Next Curriculum app.

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Mentor Manual provides detailed teaching plans that help teachers to plan their academic year. It also includes assessments, question banks, lesson plans, and more.

Next Lab facilitates hands-on learning and provides an engaging experience to learners of all age groups using simulations, group activities, and more.

TeachNext, our digital classroom solution is seamlessly integrated with our books. It can also be accessed from home on any device. NextAssessment comprises formative and summative assessments of learners’ progress. 

Teacher training programs for schools to help schools and teachers stay updated with our pedagogical tools. 

Moreover, the Next ecosystem has been steadily enriched with numerous solutions catering to different stakeholders belonging to the educational sphere. They are NextAssessment, NextLMS, Next ERP, LearnNext, etc.

TechGraph: What according to you is the scope of edtech platforms like this in the Indian Marketplace?

Beas Dev Ralhan: EdTech has opened up a plethora of options which include audiovisual content in the form of ebooks, animations, etc. To cater to all kinds of learners. Schools are increasingly adopting technology-based solutions like online classes and learning management systems to augment their education model and pedagogy. 

Moreover, flipped learning and project-based learning which incorporates EdTech tools are also being incorporated into the pedagogy. With the added benefits of this approach for both students and teachers in terms of skill development, digital proficiency, personalized learning, decision-making abilities, and time management, teachers will be able to design pedagogies that help shift the focus from rote learning to interactive learning and accomplish holistic development of students.

TechGraph: Edtech businesses seem to have benefited from COVID-19. Why do you think that is happening?

Beas Dev Ralhan: Education has been closely linked to classroom-based learning for all this while. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has drastically transformed the education system.

Firstly, e-books and digital content provide students with the flexibility to learn at their pace and from anywhere, anytime. Secondly, online learning creates a conducive learning environment at home. 

In the current situation, online classes supported with self-study solutions are empowering students to continue their learning. Finally, e-learning platforms and digital tools foster collaborative learning among students. Teachers can leverage these tools and reinvent the pedagogy by introducing project work and peer-to-peer interaction.

TechGraph: Do you see the current market as a zero-sum game between Next Education and your competitors or there is room for everyone to grow together?

Beas Dev Ralhan: Evolving with the needs of the K-12 ecosystem is essential to sustain in this business segment. Hence, there is ample opportunity for edtech providers to come up with innovative products and services addressing the needs of the stakeholders.

Keeping an organic approach towards education to make learners future-ready, it is important to seamlessly integrate content for effective learning and instruction and smart administrative solutions for improved planning and reporting. We feel education is all about the holistic development of children concerning creativity, adaptability, and critical reasoning. It is about instilling the joy of learning and a hunger for knowledge in every young mind. 

TechGraph: What are your plans around K-12 and new products and formats?

Beas Dev Ralhan: More than a decade ago, we had envisaged a not-too-distant future when quality education would be within the reach of every child. We always dreamt of the day when quality education would no longer be the privilege of a few and our ardent desire to nurture and fulfill this aspiration keeps us motivated.

We, at Next Education, firmly believe in imbibing all relevant 21st-century skills in today’s learners and leveraging technology along with innovative learning strategies in the products. 

Thus, working towards our vision of providing optimal solutions for all K-12 stakeholders, we are constantly working to evolve our products as per the requirements of all stakeholders by incorporating the latest technological developments. In line with our mission to be the leading edtech SaaS platform delivering personalized 21st-century learning, we have developed a world-class integrated SaaS platform, Next Learning Platform, that truly stands up to our mission and vision. This platform enables all the stakeholders to communicate and collaborate in the learning process. It offers effective and transparent management of all academic and administrative operations within the platform. 

Going forward, we plan to develop more such products that aim to revolutionize the education system by overcoming the challenges faced by each stakeholder.

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