UpGrad’s Free 101 Program initiative is offering 10 programmes free of cost to college students and working professionals
During the Global Financial Crisis of the last decade, there was a surge in online learning and reskilling; that was also the time when massive open online courses (MOOCs) started to happen. But in India we have never had a crisis that redefined skilling — the current Covid-19 crisis is that period. This is the time when anybody who wants to seriously learn is learning.
Mayank Kumar, co-founder & MD of upGrad, the online higher education platform, says that non-metros and small towns in India have shown a higher inclination towards upskilling during Covid-19. “From Jammu, we used to get around 3,000 users in a quarter. Post-Covid-19 the number went up to more than 6,000 in a quarter. Similarly, from Srinagar, we used to get around 1,000 users, which went up to 4,500 in the last quarter,” he says.
Northeast India, similarly, has grown significantly on the platform. “Imphal, the capital city of Manipur, saw more than 10,000 seekers of online courses,” Kumar says. “Baddi, a small town in Himachal Pradesh that has a population of less than 30,000, drove around 1,400 learners to upGrad — which is about 5% of the population of the entire town.”
UpGrad recently launched the Free 101 Program initiative, where it is offering 10 programmes free of cost to college students and working professionals, in order to promote upskilling. These include: Introduction to Blockchain; Getting started with Java Programming; Getting Started with Frontend Development; Blockchain Development with Ethereum; Management Essentials; Getting Started with Digital Marketing; Business Analytics Starter Pack; Python for Data Science; Introduction to Machine Learning Concepts; and Introduction to Deep Learning and Natural Language Processing.
Upon successful completion of these courses, the learner gets an upGrad certificate. Kumar says that in the first month of its Free 101 course, it witnessed more than 1.25 lakh visits, which increased by 120% in May. “So far, until August-end, we have witnessed around 8.5 lakh visits.” Also, while all verticals have grown in Q4 versus Q1, the MBA vertical has grown by 63% in terms of revenue and 82% in terms of learner base. Data Science vertical continues to grow with Master of Science in Data Science having grown by more than 60% in terms of both revenue and learner base.
Lastly, in terms of interested candidates, the sheer organic interest for upGrad programmes went up by around 120%.
The website of upGrad saw 42% increase for the 45-54 age-group in the April-June quarter, which is the highest amongst all other age groups, followed by the 18-24 age-group that grew by 40%.