We talked to Sunil Sharma, CEO at EasyShiksha about free online courses and test series and here is what he said about them.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Sunil Sharma: These are strange and challenging days. Family life, health, work, education, and wider support networks continue to be affected by life in lockdown.
We have learnt that relationships are more important now more than ever and how we speak to ourselves and others play a really big part in buffering stress and distress within our families.
With social distancing, we have all turned to technology for connections. We are also using social media to keep in touch with relatives and friends and, probably, allowing more TV and gaming for children of all ages to get some precious time to ourselves!
I take this opportunity to thank all the essential and frontline workers who continue to provide essential & healthcare services during the pandemic. I also thank my family members and staff who have been supportive during the pandemic for giving moral support and striving to work hard to keep the business running smoothly. There are no words that can adequately express our gratitude for all that they are doing during this difficult time.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded EasyShiksha.
Sunil Sharma: I’m the Chief Executive Officer with a deep understanding of the levers of revenue growth, from picking up the phone to closing a deal, to full-funnel digital acquisition, to building amazing products.
I’m a “tech-pundit” driven by social change. A very creative and innovative professional. I have helped develop various Indian and international startups and platforms such as HawksCode, Easy Shiksha, Navhoo (a ride-sharing platform in the UK), AQT Australia, Amstore Innovation UK & Grasshopper Australia, Maccabiah Israel, Qstomize & Podify Israel, Make My Styles to name a few. Additionally, I worked with the US government to pioneer online education platform.
I’m a passionate leader with first-class communication skills and a long track record of successful management. I was educated to a very high level, with extensive knowledge of all current technologies, economic, social, and regulatory issues. As an inspiring and motivational leader, I have first-rate interpersonal skills, the ability and passion to develop the vision of any company. As a result, I’m able to push performance improvement whilst at the same time delivering growth.
I began my career in the year 2010 where I started and built numerous widely admired businesses/Products in Human Resources, Educational, Software Development, B2B/B2C as an entrepreneur. These ventures include HawksCode, EasyShiksha, HRCrux, The NationalTV, HawksCool.
EasyShiksha, an endeavor of HawksCode, began with a vision to make education better and easy for everyone. The education platform aims to make shiksha (education) easy for educators and Edu-seekers alike.
I quit my US-based MNC job in 2012 and founded EasyShikha, which is based in Jaipur. In this internet era, a student from a village too can get information about opportunities with the help of an educational portal. We think that every student has the right to get a quality education.
How does EasyShiksha innovate?
Sunil Sharma: Initially, EasyShiksha was envisaged to be a simple website that provided user details about thousands of colleges across India.
Slowly, the web portal evolved to provide students and parents all the necessary tools required to help them make an informed choice about education and the jobs and career prospects thereafter.
Over a period of 8 years the website has come to host the following verticals:
Career Helper helps students know their career choices. The program helps them discover their strength, interest, and talent, thereby providing them information on varied occupations. The career helper program is based on four tests – IQ test, Basic Test, Advance Test, and Psychometric test.
Other services integrated are online courses & Internship programs with certification, Enterprise Plans for Colleges, Universities & Institutions to list their courses, jobs, and news & avail additional services
EasyShiksha Magazine, introduced on April 5, 2018, was a small prototype of the EasyShiksha web portal. It aims to provide a user all information related to the field of education case studies, opportunities, new updates in the education world, and informative articles.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Sunil Sharma: In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, we stood by the Government announcement for complete lockdown with exception of essential services. Online Education is an easy industry to adopt to work from the policy during such intense critical situations. The Health and Safety of our employees was/is of paramount importance for the company. Our employees had started working from home since the announcement of lockdown was made by the Government of India. We have faced few challenges at the start but we are collectively helping each other and our team is capable of managing the whole process very efficiently. We have asked all our employees to follow the precautions as per the guidelines issued by the Government.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Sunil Sharma: Due to financial constraints, lack of information and guidance about the new-age education fields, started believing that children remain orthodox in their thoughts and fail to get a proper education in accordance with their skillset. Hence, I was motivated to work in the education sector with an aim to provide a level playing field to all children, by providing them with information and mentoring them on the varied opportunities available to them globally. I felt something still was missing in my Life then one I decided to quit my US-based MNC job in 2012 and founded EasyShikha,
To me, all difficult choices or decisions give one an elevated opportunity in achieving something big in Life.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Sunil Sharma: Pre-Covid, it was perceived that online Education was imposed although it was replacing supplementary education (home tuitions) to some extent. During Covid, we have all including the education industry turned to technology for connections and delivering education online.
E-learning is already huge and is looking to completely revolutionize the educational sector. Online learning platforms cannot completely replace a college degree since they would not provide a student all the skills that he/she can develop in a real-time environment. With the current COVID19 pandemic almost every student, school, college, the university is switching to eLearning platforms for online education and skill-based courses.
We believe that the most valuable resource we possess is our stakeholders (students, staff & parents).
EasyShiksha provides students, staff & parents a place to find support and help. As we are all striving for the best e-learning foundations for the students, we have the resources to make this happen. The platform is built not only on someone’s exceptional skills but rather on collaboration and teamwork between all stakeholders.
EasyShiksha unites students, staff, and parents from all corners of the earth to find resources, advice, and support as they strive for quality education.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Sunil Sharma: EasyShiksha may look like a startup but is a lot like education itself. As ones’ education does not end after a degree, EasyShiksha not only helps you get educated in your field of interest by offering online courses with certification but also guides you in choosing your career based on your performance. We have online internship training programs with certification for students who opt for online Internships.
With digitization, students today go online to access information related to their college education and for study materials to prepare for competitive exams to gain insight and real-time information about educational institutions. Through EasyShiksha, users can explore thousands of institutes with their courses, faculty, facilities, and placement details and can choose the right institution for higher education. The website also provides a platform for colleges and universities to advertise their courses. Further, many institutes also publish their press releases on the website, providing regular updates on school registration, scholarship availability, exam results, jobs, and vacancies.
We believe that every student has the right to get a quality education. EasyShiksha is a leading e-learning global platform providing numerous services on a single platform which makes us different compared to our competitors.
Your final thoughts?
Sunil Sharma: As an eLearning professional, we have to consider a wide variety of eLearning challenges such as lengthy to-do lists, hectic work schedules, and a number of other distractions, prior to designing your eLearning courses.
Sometimes a learner is not able to see the value or benefit of the eLearning course, and especially how the subject matter is going to help him/her in the real world. For learners to become truly engaged in the overall eLearning process, they have to be aware of how the content is going to translate in real-world settings.
In order to overcome the challenges, we create effective and enlightening eLearning courses & internship training programs for our learners with a preview video, detailed course description, etc to encourage them to enroll in the programs.
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