This column is by Aakanksha Aggarwal, Founder, Craft Driven Market Research
When I drive through the roads of Noida, what is one thing that strikes me and makes me think? I stop at all the red lights and as soon as I stop, one or two kids come to me and ask me to buy some product which is very cheap. This continues for the whole day, you may go at any time. Also, this is the same story in all the metro cities, whether you go to Delhi, Gurgaon or Mumbai. I ask myself every time, can’t I help these kids? One day, I decided to help at least one kid out of them to enrol in a government school. There, I took the initiative, I talked to a kid and to my utter shock, he said he was already enrolled in the school but goes to that place only on a few days. Other days, he helped his parents to sell some comic shaped plastic balloons.
Well, the incident raises several concerns. Many people think of changing education scenario of the country. This is also one of the reasons that India has a large number of education based startups. One of the study done by Craft Driven Market Research worked on 270 education startups which were based in different segments. It can be expected that there are many more education startups in the country. All these startups are solving different problems of the education, but till now none has been able to counter the problem stated above. However, there is a particular segment which can be of great support to promote education among the most deprived.
Career counselling is that segment which can give these children a direction in their lives and help them support their families in future. Although government and other organisations are able to bring them to schools yet they are not able to provide these children a sense of importance of education. If these children are given counselling and proper guidance about different career streams, vocational coaching and skill development trainings, a major percentage of these children can make a living with dignity. Startups based on career counselling have thus a great responsibility in developing an atmosphere which can support these children, and also the youth.
As per Craft Driven’s study, out of total education based startups, only 8.6% are in career counselling. Highest percentage of startups are in eLearning, learning management system and ERP. Thus, a very few startups belong to this segment and they too are scattered across different cities in the country.
The question now arises, how are the existing career counselling startups helping to support the cause. If we follow past two-years newsfeed, there are several events that we can see where these startups came forward and provided counselling and career guidance to the students who had no means to career awareness.
One of the startups CareerGuide.com organised a career counselling session in Jhajjar village of Haryana and Shahdol village of Madhya Pradesh where 340 students participated and got benefitted. The students were guided through one to one career counselling as well motivational talks and movies. Medhavi Foundation was started by Ayush Bansal in order to help underprivileged students. He is also the founder of iDreamCareer but has helped thousands of underprivileged students through Medhavi Foundation. There is another organisation named Vidya Helpline which was started to provide free of cost telephonic career counselling to the students. Even after these efforts, there is still a need for all the career counselling startups to focus on delivering their guidance to those students who have no means of understanding the importance of education.
A startup Your DOST which is based on human psychology and all-round counselling has stated in one of the interview that of all the different problems, career is an issue of concern for 25% of the people taking psychological counselling. This makes it important to develop collaboration between these startups and state or central government to ensure career guidance in all the government schools. Also, start-ups will need to improvise their methods of career counselling at this level. Mostly, this set of student population does not necessarily represent the crème and often times this comprises of the students who have no understanding how education can be helpful to them. A career counselling can not only provide a direction to the underprivileged students but will also guide them on how to achieve their aims which would ensure their tracked success.
This is one of the issues that is needed to be taken very seriously and with great urgency in order to help millions of children who represent the future of the country. Startups in the country are generally started with an aim to solve a problem and not only to earn good profits. The social factor attached to these startups make them suitable for supporting millions of children who seek direction in their life in terms of career. Career counselling based startups are better equipped than any other big corporate house to solve the problem at root level and reach to each and every street of the country.
Image Credit – Edurite Learning