The programme aims to teach English to the next-generation students and for this, it is leveraging its long-standing experience and legacy in children’s education through books
Scholastic India: A renowned publisher of children’s books, Scholastic India has now decided to enter the ed-tech space with its comprehensive Language Improvement Programme for children between class III and VIII. The programme aims to teach English to the next-generation students and for this, it is leveraging its long-standing experience and legacy in children’s education through books. The move has come at a time when even schools have been forced to move to online mode of education due to the pandemic. However, Scholastic says that this programme is not a result of the pandemic.
Talking about why Scholastic India decided to enter this space, Scholastic India MD Neeraj Jain told Financial Express Online, “Scholastic is always looking for avenues which can make reading a priority in every child’s life. Scholastic Super English is one such venture that intends to provide ample opportunity to each child across India to be able to engage, explore and enhance their English language skills under the aegis of well-seasoned coaches. We are not a pandemic product. Super English was crafted after the gaps in language proficiency were identified in various regions and we found that there is a dearth of good, research-backed content that helps students build communication skills. English is merely taught in a rigid curricula in schools. Students need confidence to be able to communicate thoughts and ideas fluently. That confidence comes with a strong foundation in reading, comprehension, vocabulary and grammar.”
The programme focuses on teaching English to students through live interactive classes, in which batches of up to six students are taught by one coach. The programme also aims to bring English language research resources to students in tier II and tier III cities.
Jain explained to FE Online the reason behind English being the sole focus for this programme. “We are aware that in the majority of educational institutions, English is the medium of instruction and a large population of Indian learners is first generation English learners. Therefore, it becomes essential that students master the language so that they are able to effectively comprehend the various study subjects and communicate in English with ease. Well-developed communication skills help children excel in academics and life,” he said.
However, there are numerous ed-tech platforms and course programmes that help children learn English. So why is Scholastic India’s programme unique? Neeraj says, “Scholastic Super English stands out because it redefines the way English is taught to children as it gets them ready for life and their chosen professions. It is just not about learning grammar concepts or understanding comprehension skills, it is about application and functional English that is required in all the subjects that the student is learning at school. Scholastic Super English is an ability-based English improvement programme that helps students master communication skills with coaches from the top schools of the country.”
The company, in a statement, said that the programme attempts to teach children to think critically, be curious and also creative. Moreover, the learning modules have been integrated with activities like pictionary to capture and retain the attention of the students. Scholastic India also said that as many as 85% of the parents had re-enrolled their wards for the next module as well.
Talking about Scholastic’s future plans for the programme, Jain said, “The future endeavours aim to reach out to as many children across all the cities of India as possible so that they are given ample exposure and opportunities, just like the children living in metros are given. Scholastic Super English aims at crossing the barriers of geography by providing excellent coaching, language support and guidance to children in all parts of the country, and give them access to high quality engaging content, making them life ready”
He also spoke about the current status and the future outlook for the edtech sector. “While most other industries suffered huge revenue losses, the ed-tech industry had a boom during Covid. Market estimations put the Indian EdTech sector at Rs 20,500 crores. The push to digital and e-learning that came with Covid has definitely changed the landscape of how parents, educators and most importantly students perceive e-learning from the comfort of their homes. When schools were shut, there was no choice but to rely on online learning, not just in tier-1 and tier-2 cities but also tier-3 cities, and even rural households. Before COVID-19 struck, the EdTech sector was growing at double digits. The pandemic has accelerated the growth and given it a turbocharge, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for EdTech players to capitalize on,” he said.
“EdTech is now a sunrise industry in India. It has completely changed the way children learn and is here to stay. E-learning will be permanently embedded into the learning ecosphere here on and will revolutionize the scope of the Indian education system that has often been criticized for its lack of innovativeness and adaptability to fast changing global standards. As many reports forecast the Education industry to grow 2x by 2025, I see the dawn of a new chapter in the education system of the country where children will now have a healthy and balanced learning that comprises online and school learning. Without rapid innovation and implementation of technology, the world would have easily gone back a few decades in time during the Covid situation. Thanks to technology, the world has adapted to new ways of living,” Neeraj Jain added.