The outbreak of Covid-19 had confined students of all ages to their homes for months on end. In particular, lower-income schools were having a hard time keeping their students engaged, and most if not all, did not even have a Learning Management System in place for imparting basic remote education to students and/or parents.
While the students attending schools that did have a learning management system in place (even in higher education) had expressed grave concern and dissatisfaction over the quality of learning that was being imparted, what was even more concerning was the fact that even after all such problems, there was no unified national education strategy devised despite some preliminary evidence suggesting that the virus will have a longer-term impact than we originally predicted. This paved way and created a number of opportunities for digital and tech-based learning solutions.
Among many such, newly emerging ed-tech Startups, one is Edversity. Launched back in 2021, Edversity leverages technology to build distance learning solutions – often increasing accessibility and affordability of education. The startup aims to equip the youth with affordable, accessible, effective, and modern skills education, to enable them to launch their remote tech careers
We Talk Startups sat down with Edversity’s CEO, Saad Siddiqui, to discuss the startup’s impact since its launch and his personal experience building this platform.
We Talk Startups [WTS]: What is your story and what led to you building a platform like Edversity?
Saad Siddique [SS]: I’m Saad Siddique, currently working as the founder of the platform Edversity. Previously, I served Coursera and World Literacy Foundation as the Country Head for Pakistan. I along with my team was behind getting Coursera integrated with HEC-recognized Pakistani universities after COVID hit.
While working with Coursera, we saw that despite its recent integration with Pakistani universities, the student course completion rate was quite low in Pakistan. Upon further analysis, we found out that Pakistani students prefer a local language over a foreign language when it comes to learning. And it was this revelation that led us to build Edversity.
[WTS]: What is the unique value that Edversity brings to the table?
[SS]: At Edversity we are creating the next generation TECHNOPRENEURS by partnering with the top 1% of instructors worldwide. But we have an edge over other platforms since all our content is in Urdu.
So, we offer some of the best and most in-demand training on subjects like AI, IoT, and Blockchain development but in our local language. We’ll soon be launching training on Ethereum 2.0 which is not being offered by any other platform as of yet.
On top of this, our platform is very advanced when it comes to detecting plagiarised content by students during assignment submission. We also have a very close-knitted community of students where they can help each other with course matters and understanding. And if a student requires additional support then within 60 minutes our platform can connect the relevant student with a mentor.
We also have tech placement partners, so once a student gets graduated from the platform we connect them with our placement partners for jobs.
Furthermore, our technology is backed by Microsoft. Currently, we’re the only organization in the country currently linked with Microsoft.
[WTS]: Why the name Edversity? Is there a specific reason behind it?
[SS]: Since the aim of the startup is to make education accessible to everyone, so, we combined Education and University and this gave us the name Edversity.
[WTS]: What is the process of onboarding educators at Edversity?
[SS]: We have two streams, as I previously mentioned – one includes the courses and specialization designed by adversity itself. For that stream, we have a very rigorous selection process, that’s mapped on three screening tests and two interviews.
However, those who wish to apply as an educator can submit their application via the platform and our team will contact them within three weeks regarding their placement.
[WTS]: Since, for any startup, quality is the most important thing in addition to user experience. What steps have you taken to ensure quality education for the students of Edversity?
[SS]: As far as the quality of education is concerned, our curriculum undergoes a review every week, to keep it updated and at par with the industry requirements.
[WTS]: At an international level, do you have any startup/company that serves as a model of what you would want to be?
[SS]: Yes, we very closely follow Udacity and try to incorporate its practices within our company as well. We started Edversity to make it the Udacity of Pakistan and I think we’ve reached that position.
[WTS]: How has NIC empowered your startup in reaching your goals and what are the services that NIC offers, that you would like to share with other founders?
[SS]: NIC and the people here are very cooperative and they try to facilitate startups in every capacity possible. It’s worth mentioning here that, if there’s something a startup founder fails to understand they are always there to back you up. They offer courses to help startup founders and you can also ask mentors and experienced entrepreneurs for any help you need.
[WTS]: Our last question from you is, what advice would you like to give to other startup founders before they start their journeys?
[SS]: I’d say consistency and be unique in your ideas don’t change your ideas according to the likes of someone else. And just have passion for whatever you’re doing.
Additionally, if you think that I’m capable enough to mentor you, then you can always book a free consultancy session via my website: saadghufran.tech