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August 16, 2019
With jobs, internships, books, social media and campus management, uLektz by Sadiq Sait offers a suite of apps for higher education
“When I was recruiting candidates in 2015 for the Indian operations of our education consultancy, I realised that a lot of the interviewees were not employable. They lacked communication skills and hadn’t updated their knowledge to meet market needs,” says Sadiq Sait. “A lot of them didn’t even have a proper resume; they’d simply copy-paste from a friend and fail to update their basic details.” The gaping hole in the Indian job market spurred him to give up his 10-year career as an education consultant for institutions abroad, and set up uLektz. “I felt this was an area that needed focus,” he says.
uLektz is essentially a suite of apps focussed on the student community; an eco-system for higher education that addresses everything from campus updates, news, to job openings, internships and also offers them e-books and study material. The three-year-old startup ties up with educational institutions to provide them an integrated app for campus management. “Colleges can use the app to send notifications and updates to students. In the process, they get their own branded version. Students can benefit by connecting with peers across educational institutions; it’s a sort of LinkedIn for students. It facilitates peer education across institutions and students can also use it to create and download their resumes,” says Sadiq, the founder and CEO of the company.
Today, they have on board over 200 colleges from across the country. Some of the colleges from the State include Amet, Bharathiraja and Alagappa. “We have also created a 360-degree marketplace. Here we have partnered with publishers, who put out e-books at discounted prices. Apart from that, we also provide a slew of free e-books that we have created to the students; these have been created as per different university syllabus. The e-books are encrypted so piracy is not possible,” he says, adding that they’ve also partnered with skill course providers such as Udemy and offer over 4,000 free courses on the latest technology with certifications. “In all, there are over 40,000 courses on the app that students can take to update their skills. Four thousand of these are free. We’ve also incorporated vernacular languages so we have a wider reach.”
“The idea is to tackle under-employment; that is the new challenge these days,” says Sadiq. “I strongly believe when students and faculty connect across institutions, the quality of education improves and opportunities are generated. It is also a Government of India mandate to encourage digital education. So the app helps colleges get better scores in ICT when seeking accreditation.”
While most colleges have embraced this technology, one of the challenges the uLektz team faced initially was their reluctance to allow students to carry mobile phones on campus. “However, the app is not limited to a phone. It can be used on the laptop or tablet too. The point to note here though, is that it is also important to teach students to use technology responsibly. After all, it is the future and they do need to be trained to use it,” says Sadiq.
His former boss Ratna Kumar, backed his decision to start uLektz and helped fund his startup. While they have remained bootstrapped so far, they are now looking to raise their first round of funding. “Now that we have reasonable traction, we’re looking to make inroads in Tier II and III cities. In the next year, we’re also looking to expand to the Asia Pacific region where the market is huge.”
Courtesy: THE HINDU
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