Krishworks helps rural entrepreneurs set up after-school English activity centres for primary school children through tablet-based software.

The interactive software works as an interface between a teacher and a student through ‘gamified’ content, and the teacher plays the role of a facilitator.

According to a study by Annual Status of Education Report, 75 percent of school-going children in rural areas do not recognise the numbers till 100. Further, from the 25 percent who can comprehend numbers, only about 50 percent can understand what they read.

The following reasons, Balagopal says, are responsible for the poor state of education in rural areas – lack of qualified teachers, low teacher motivation, lack of opportunities, and lack of English speaking skills

Balagopal, along with co-founders Subhajit Roy, Gargi Mazumdar and Kaushik Mazumdar founded Krishworks in 2015.

The individual then runs an after-school English activity center using the tablet and other study materials. The children can enroll for a monthly fee of Rs 200 and each centre can host a maximum of 192 children.

In just over a year, the startup says it has opened 14 centres across West Bengal, where nearly 600 rural students are being educated in spoken English. Further, eight village schools across the state have adopted its curriculum, which they claim will impact over a thousand students from the next academic year.

The startup has been incubated at IIM Calcutta, Sigma IKP Eden and the Indian School of Business DLABS, Hyderabad, and is presently financially supported by IIM Ahmedabad and supported by Tata Trusts Social Alpha. It has also been recognised by the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Bengal Chambers of Commerce as one of the rising startups from Eastern India.

Krishworks has created multiple rural micro-entrepreneurs who have to invest an initial amount of Rs 20,000 for a tablet that comes loaded with content and games. The individual then runs an after-school English activity centre using the tablet and other study materials. The children can enroll for a monthly fee of Rs 200 and each centre can host a maximum of 192 children.

Krishworks’ interactive software works as an interface between the teacher and student through ‘gamified’ content, where the teacher plays the role of a facilitator. The classes are conducted for three days a week, one hour each day. The courses are defined into 12 levels, with each level spanning to around six to nine months. The classroom consists of a set of interconnected tablets, which contains daily lesson plans, action activities, interactions in audio/video format.

After conducting pilot projects in 17 villages for over 400 children in West Bengal, Telangana and Karnataka, the startup set up two tech-enabled after-school English activity centers in December 2017 in two villages in West Bengal — Jiban Mandal Haat and Piali. This was met with huge success, and like they say, the rest is history.

Krishworks plans to open 50 centres in rural West Bengal by next year. The goal, Subhajit says, is to impact 10 million children in the next seven years. They are presently raising finances through crowdfunding, to help micro-entrepreneurs raise seed money required to open the centres.

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