Do televisions in classrooms in crease attention spans or impact performance? How many extra-curricular activities can a child engage in without being over-burdened? How to identify if a child is dyslexic or has a hearing impairment in the early stages of a school journey? Chennaistartup ReportBee has been solving such questions with data analytics.
From reviewing student performance to better utilisation of resources, ReportBee gives school management and parents a snapshot based on data patterns. In some cases it has even proved a life-saver.
“We had a school principal approach us over complaints against one teacher. This teacher had served the school for more than 30 years, and it was his last year before retirement, when the parents started complaining. The parents said their children’s future was being jeopardised by his unsatisfactory teaching,” says Anant Mani, co-founder, ReportBee.
“We had four years of data from the school, which showed that the teacher had helped many underperforming students excel. His teaching and his students’ results had been consistent. So when we showed the data to the parents, they had to admit he had been doing excellent work,” Mani says. The firm’s founders knew they had truly achieved something when the teacher thanked them with tears in his eyes.
The reliability of such data has led as many as 700 schools, including institutions like Delhi’s Heritage School, Lawrence Lovedale and Doon School, to sign up for ReportBee research.
Founded in 2011 by friends Anant Mani, Anjan T and Nikhil Aggarwal, the startup has posted slow but steady growth in six years. With an annual turnover of `3 crore a year, ReportBee now supports schools in five countries, including Qatar, Malaysia, Maldives, Uganda.
The startup also caught the attention of Microsoft. In 2016, it received seed funding from the Think Next Summer programme, organised by the Microsoft Accelerator in India and TCS Co-Innovation Network. The same year, it also won recognition from Deloitte, which named it one of the fastest growing edutech companies in the world and listed it on its Deloitte Technology Fast 50.
Co-founder Anjan says he’d worked with Anant at startup Hey Math. “That’s when we realised our passion for education and the untapped potential of data analytics in school performance,” he says. “It is also about making school fun for kids.”
In an age where individualism and high marks are prized over values, ReportBee tries to turn that widom on its head. In the company’s report cards, students are praised and graded for teamwork and team-player skills.
“We are targeting primary schools in Malaysia with a focus on development of motor skills, role play , interaction with peers because they’re as important as learning the alphabet,” says Mani.”That’s why our report cards… [try to present] a holistic picture of a child’s growth and attainment of milestones.”
The startup has also tied up with the Vellore Medical College for health check-ups.
“If a child is, say, nearsighted and unable to see what is written on the board, it will take adults a while to realise what is going on. They would, meanwhile, think of the child as restless or inattentive in class. With health check-ups, any problem can be detected early on,” Mani adds.
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