Komala Chenna, Founder of Sapientury, a Part of Women Startup Program at NSRCEL IIMB

Komala is the Co-Founder and COO of Sapientury, an EdTech startup based in Bangalore, India. She, along with her team, is working to help educational institutions across the country with NEP acceleration, for a more outcome-based education system. Coming from an engineering background in India, she transferred to the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and is now able to understand well how the education system works in two different countries, and how to truly bring about a change. Sapientury has recently closed the Seed round of investment in March of 2021.

 

Do you remember, a few years ago (maybe more than a decade ago, depending on your age) when you were studying math problems until 2 am, and writing practice tests during the weekend, when your friends would go out, in hopes of getting into a ‘good’ college?

I sure do.

My classmates and I spent around 12 hours a day just working on question papers to get into an IIT.

It sounds so ridiculous right now, I genuinely don’t even believe how that was me a few years ago. But it really did happen, and for the very few of you who can’t relate – you’re very lucky!

Most of us stood strong during those grueling times, only because our peers, our faculty, and our parents only chanted one mantra “if you get a degree from a good college, then you can get a good job with a good salary, so you can settle down in life happily”.

For our bright, adolescent eyes, this was the ticket to a happy and successful life! Just study really hard and get into an IIT/top college! That’s it! Your whole 80~ years of life is then completely set, and you don’t have to worry about a thing!

Come on, I know you went through this! Sorry to bring back some bad memories, but this is to focus on the harsh truck of reality that hit you once you did go to college – and for most of you (including me) the college we went to was not the ‘one of our dreams’.

And even if it was a ‘dream’ college, the reality of life on campus was far far away from expectations that our parents and Bollywood movies built.

Now, we all already know most of the ‘big’ problems with the whole system, starting from k-12 till higher ed – we’ve got baseless grading systems, disinterested faculty, faulty labs/broken infrastructure, no dedicated extracurriculars, I mean the list goes on.

But you want to know the real problem?

The actual, real ‘root’ cause kind of problem?

Well, it’s that nobody truly gives a goddamn care!

Think about it for a second.

When you went through your terrible college experience, and you complained to your classmates, what did they say? “Arrey, just pass through the finals dude, we’ll get some job or go abroad then”.

What about your teachers, when you asked questions? “Arrey, this is not in the syllabus, don’t worry about it – just focus on your chapters for the upcoming semester-end exams”.

And what about your parents, the ones who even coerced you to do this in the first place? “Arrey, you study properly and get good grades, you’ll easily get a good campus placement, and then things will be better”.

Heck, things have been so bad – when I was studying engineering, my dad saw my textbooks and said “Oh I studied this subject when I was doing engineering 30 years ago! Are you still using the same textbook? Oh, you are! I guess some things never change!”

WHAT?! You’re telling me, in the past 30 years, while the whole world has moved from using tape recorders to smartphones, the engineering subjects being taught in college are the same?!

Psshtt.

The bitter truth is that everyone has ‘settled’ for what the current system has to offer, and doesn’t want to work on how to better the reality. All the stakeholders here, faculty, administration, parents, even students – everyone is looking for a quick and easy ‘way out’.

So, I’ve been pretty pessimistic for the past few paragraphs – the good news is, I’m here to tell you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Have you all heard of the NEP 2020? The National Education Policy 2020 – it’s a new framework that the govt. has put out for the entire education system – so you can say the govt. got tired of how things were and decided to introduce something new!

This ‘plan’, if executed properly, could potentially put India’s education system at the top.

For those of you new to this, I highly suggest taking a read into this extensive document – Sapientury has actually created an “NEP Simplified Academy”, where we’ve shared highlights and the impact of NEP on YouTube.

But the catch here is, that it’s very difficult to actually implement NEP 2020 within institutions because it’s a huge change in the way stakeholders have been doing things for decades.

That’s where I come in – I’m currently working on helping institutions with NEP acceleration.

You see, people didn’t give a goddamn care only because they knew their voice wouldn’t be heard. They didn’t care because they thought they couldn’t do anything anyway.

But it’s almost as if NEP has given faculty a fresh set of wings – I’ve spoken to 170+ faculty and 60+ leaders of institutions, who are all so excited about NEP and how it’s going to impact their children because now they see that if they truly care, they can bring about a change!

At Sapientury, I work with institutions, to help them digitally transform their campus, to integrate world-class content into their curriculum, and give their students the best learning experience – so they graduate with more clarity and hope for their careers.

As opposed to other EdTechs who take students away from college, and provide coaching classes, finishing courses, etc. We understand that the Indian mentality demands children to have an undergraduate degree to move ahead in their careers – so we want to make the college experience the best for all the stakeholders!

At the end of the day, Sapientury’s vision is to build a Google Maps for career navigation, where a college degree at an institution is just a pit stop, on a highway of learning, because ‘education isn’t a preparation for life, but it is life itself.”

Good luck, and happy learning!

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