Not much has changed in Indian engineering colleges since I was an undergrad about two decades ago. Except the addition of few programming/scripting languages, colleges still emphasize theoretical instead of experiential learning. Majority of the computer science students in India are not exposed to practical training and get little experience to write code and use the very devices and tools they read about in textbooks during their undergrad years.
While billions of dollars are poured into the edtech industry, majority of the startups focus on making elite students more elite and do little to solve the existing crisis at hand i.e. increasing the skilled workforce. While the New Educational Policy did help create awareness and need for practical training, it does not account for the root cause - the predominant need to ‘get a seat’. It drives consumer demand behind edtech companies as majority of the existing startups are tailored towards test prep for entrance exams into prestigious universities or after graduation finishing schools along with upskilling/reskilling.
Unlike the 0.1 percent who gain admission to top colleges, engineering students in India for the most part are left behind. Most colleges are ‘finishing schools,’ where learning stops for 18- to 20-year-olds and most look to catch up during their final years of engineering or post-graduation. Lack of practical training and exposure to projects and internships during their undergrad years dims their chances of securing top placements and admissions into top master’s programs in India and abroad.
We decided to work with colleges to specifically help students acquire practical skills and expose them to the exciting developments happening in the tech world. ByteXL was created because we believed in the idea of tech as an enabler using cloud infrastructure to bring experiential learning at an affordable price. Instead of finishing schools, we wanted colleges to be platforms that instill continual learning as a habit among students.
Instead of working in the vacuum, we wanted byteXL to be a force for good and help transform the way existing colleges and higher educational institutions educate youth in India. Democratizing education is our goal and we partner with engineering colleges to provide students with opportunities to learn beyond their classrooms.
With byteXL, we set out to play a pivotal role in creating a level playing field for all students, including those from rural areas. Affordability is at the forefront of the conversation and by partnering with universities, we help students increase their reach and accessibility for resources beyond their geographical limitations.
By empowering the rural workforce and providing them with a platform to upskill, we want them to be in reckoning as a top tech talent in the workplace and be in contention with students from elite colleges. Transforming the emerging tech talent pool is our core impact and we are confident that this is just the beginning of bringing about a monumental change within our education system.
Written by Karun Tadepalli, CEO, byteXL