The pandemic has drastically altered the existing learning platforms and methods. Online learning is the new mantra of students. Though this trend has opened doors for many, one thing remained as an obstacle, language. Most of the online learning platforms are offering courses in English, this posed a challenge to many but an opportunity to one young bright mind. On June 23rd, 2020, Joseph E George and his team launched Avodha, a vernacular upskilling platform offering 20 courses in five regional languages.
“Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada are the most common languages for the courses. Six of our courses are also available in Hindi. Although English is available, we place a greater emphasis on providing services in regional languages”, says Joseph. Avodha is following an income-sharing approach for the benefit of students. The student pays a small amount upfront which is roughly one-fourth of the overall fees and the remainder is paid after the student gets a job related to the course they have studied. This approach is beneficial to both parties, fees will not become a hindrance for the student and Avodha can maintain its margins. Avodha offers 23 upskilling courses, including coding, digital marketing, and accountancy. Joseph took on multiple tasks at the outset of the company: he constructed the platform, conducted classes, and handled sales. It currently employs 500 people and 1,500 freelancers. He continued, “We now have around 70,000 students.”
What makes Avodha a student-friendly platform is not just vernacularization. They have empathetically considered the financial conditions of students from all sections while putting together their fee structure. Students can change course if they have not finished 30% of a course, and they will not be charged for changing course. In addition, Avodha charges the same price for all courses, including ones that cost more than one lakh in total. “We don’t want money to be a barrier to students who are exploring their passion,” Joseph adds. Although each course costs Rs. 12,800 in total, students only have to pay Rs. 2,800 upfront; the rest can be settled once they find employment through their platform.
Avodha also has a jobs platform where many corporates offer entry-level jobs to students. Avodha students will get a chance to be placed in big companies like Bank of Baroda, TCS, Infosys, and SBI Caps. Avodha also uses advanced Data Science to be able to map the skill gaps in a person’s profile, using they are able to create an ecosystem wherein the system recognizes the skill gap in Individual profiles and builds learning and testing solutions accordingly.
“The majority of the students are pursuing education in order to obtain employment. The high fee will be wasted if the institution of higher learning fails to ensure that they are competent. We need both parties to benefit from the course, Avodha and the students”, says Joseph.
Besides software courses, the young entrepreneur has entered the hardware field, making Avodha the very first start-up in India to offer hardware skill development. Electric vehicle engineering is one of the courses working on introducing. Mobile repair engineering,laptop repair engineering, A/C repair engineering, celebrity make-up artist, celebrity hair stylist are the other hardware online courses that Avodha offers. Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kannur, Hyderabad, and Coimbatore are among the company’s physical locations.