“Scadoosh” says Po, the Panda, as he finishes off the bad guy with the ‘Wuxi Finger Hold’, the most advanced kung-fu technique. All it took was the realisation that you can do anything you want to; all you need to believe in is – yourself.
When friends, Kamlesh, Santhosh, Tejas, and Hari huddled together with an idea that would change learning as we know it, they turned to Po for some inspiration. They knew that they had the power to realise their vision if they just believed in themselves. And thus, was born Scadoosh, India’s first extra-curricular learning platform. Let’s take you through the story.
Making Extra Curricular Learning Accessible
In today’s competitive world, children are spending a shocking amount of time being “schooled”. Apart from the regular day-schooling, there has been a huge rise in private tutoring, eating into any free time children may have. According to a survey by the National Statistical Office, parents in India spend a whopping INR 25,000 crores on private tuition alone.
With the increasing focus on academic learning, other essential learning and development took a back seat. Extra curricular activities that were once mandatory have increasingly become optional. Having identified the alarming trend, the founders of Scadoosh got on their feet. The mission was simple – to bring back extra curricular learning.
Kamlesh Lokeshwaran, co-founder & CEO at Scadoosh, recalls how the journey began for him. “I spent 15 years working in IT and a large part of that was spent in the US. When I returned to India, keeping my children engaged was my priority. I started looking for extra curricular activities like dancing, painting, piano etc.
But the options for activities that were meant to engage children were very few. When I spoke to my friends I realised this was a common problem. There were no classes that were nearby, the ones that are available to children had longer travel times – In Bangalore, that is a nightmare,” he recollected.
Having identified the gap, Kamlesh turned to his friends to set the wheels in motion to build a learning platform exclusively for extra curricular activities. The friends played on their strengths to arrive at their areas of focus.
Santhosh Subramnaiam, took on the role of the Chief Experience Officer and shifted the lens to the teachers, given his extensive experience in the Education industry.
“Having been a part of the industry I know that teachers in India don’t just teach. They are often involved in marketing, fee collection, admissions, scheduling zoom meetings and what not. We wondered if there was a better way to ensure that teachers only teach and not be burdened by other additional responsibilities.
We also noticed that a lot of homemakers possessed various skills which were underutilised. While they were interested in teaching, their biggest fear was to manage the logistics of it all – the investment, the rental space, the day-to-day management, etc.
Our extra curricular learning platform idea seemed like a great opportunity to get them on the forefront and offer them a chance to explore,” he added.
The stepping stones
To bring the idea to fruition through technology, Harikrishnan Narasiman took on the role of the Chief Technology Officer, building the platform from scratch while Tejas Maru managed the finances.
Hari, with his IT experience dove right in to create an online solution that used advanced technology like AI and Machine Learning to arrive at the best learning app for kids.
Tejas, the philanthropist, apart from the finances also works on making the platform available to children in remote corners of the country. He is extensively involved in community activities, running a modest learning centre for children of factory workers.
With their base set, Sacadoosh arrived at their final offering – provide fun courses for children that were accessible, convenient, and affordable. The platform today consists of 75 different courses to learn from. Courses range from music, dance, art to communication skills, and language learning. With a comprehensive list of courses that grows everyday, Scadoosh was built to scale from day one.
The platform, driven by AI and Machine Learning, provides smart recommendations on courses based on interests and past activities. The courses are taught by handpicked experts from different fields and offer live engagement for maximum impact.
Providing a one-stop solution
“We dove deep into the problems of both our audiences – parents and teachers. We learnt that parents couldn’t find too many activities for their children nearby and if they did, it was too expensive,” explained Kamlesh.
“It’s the Netflix of learning – pay once a month and binge on unlimited courses,’ he added.
Scadoosh was built to ensure that kids have a range of options to try and then finally choose ones they want to pursue.
To the parents, Scadoosh offers a one-stop solution to explore many extra curricular courses with the option to learn unlimited courses with affordable monthly plans.
“When it came to the teachers, we realised that while they wanted to teach outside of school, they didn’t have the money to invest in physical spaces. The added responsibility of marketing it, ensuring a steady income and managing logistics also seemed to ward them off from exploring the option,’ added Santhosh.
Providing a hard-to-miss opportunity, Scadoosh offers teachers a zero-investment plan. This involves ensuring a steady monthly income from the courses they teach and the option to choose work times right from the comfort of their homes.
A glance into the future
Scadoosh’s larger vision is to build India’s largest extra curricular learning platform that aligns with India’s New Education Policy 2020. Scadoosh aims to make the platform connect even the remotest of the students in our country with the best teachers from anywhere in the world.
“Our focus is also to build a very inspiring teacher education community that understands the true importance of skill based and job-oriented education. By making co-curricular learning accessible, we will be able to nurture the minds of students from any economic strata,” said Tejas.
Scadoosh plans to extend the offering to physical classes as the COVID pandemic ceases. The platform will aim to enroll children on their app while attending classes like Football, Cricket, Badminton, at physical locations.
Ultimately, Scadoosh wants to bring back the fun in learning and help children break from the modern-day stress that academics poses to develop other essential life skills.
Scadoosh’s learning platform offers a wide range of courses for children. You can choose to learn unlimited courses for a set monthly fee. The courses are taught live to ensure maximum engagement and offer flexible time options to children based on their schedules.