In this interview, Devendra Jaiswal talks about the vision behind KidsChaupal and the journey so far, the need to convince parents to allow their children to pursue their passion.
Devendra Jaiswal is a serial entrepreneur leading the bandwagon in the field of education technology with diverse initiatives such as Bloggers Alliance Educational Society, StoryMirror, and KidsChaupal. An ed-tech start-up dedicated to skill training, KidsChaupal has emerged as one of the pioneers to develop a live learning platform. As opposed to mainstream education which focuses more on academia, KidsChaupal, with its skill-oriented training approach, focuses on identifying, training, and nurturing talent in any desired field.
KidsChaupal, whose brand ambassador is a teenage prodigy named Tisya Singh, recently hosted the winter edition of the performing arts showcase event titled ‘Aayaam – Ahead of Time’ in Bengaluru.
In this interview, Devendra Jaiswal talks about the vision behind KidsChaupal and the journey so far, the need to convince parents to allow their children to pursue their passion, and the impact of the pandemic on the country’s cultural scene.
Q. Tell us about KidsChaupal. What are you trying to achieve with it?
A. The job opportunities that are available today didn’t exist a few years ago. Technological evolution will continue to generate millions of new jobs in the future and we need to prepare the young generation for the uncertain future. KidsChaupal is an ed-tech start-up that aims at honing the skills of children. Our vision is to enable the exposure of kids to multiple learning choices, exposure to inter-disciplinary ways of thinking, and help them make career choices beyond popular opinion. We use the best in technology with our live platform and mobile applications to cater to the needs of both teachers and students at the same time.
KidsChaupal is also one of the pioneers to develop a live learning platform. Mainstream education focuses more on academia, but skill training, which focuses on identifying, training, and nurturing talent in any desired field, will help the students to be confident and job-ready. To accomplish this, we have come up with a model of various curriculums for developing the skills of kids at the schooling level. The model developed is a result of years of research conducted by experts in every field. It promotes a holistic view of skill development throughout the curriculum.
We offer over 100+ courses and classes in areas ranging from Personality Development, Vocational Training, Arts and Crafts, Health & Fitness, Performing Arts, Languages, Emerging Technologies, and Entrepreneurship.
Q. Tell us about the pandemic’s impact on the KidsChaupal activities.
A. Although we had been around much before COVID-19, the pandemic proved to be a major catalyst in enhancing the e-learning process.
The pandemic forced a faster move toward online education, resulting in a new equation between students and instructors that is both human-led and tech-powered. This blended learning framework enabled KidsChaupal activities to continue despite the global health crisis, weather, transportation constraints, and other challenges.
Q. How do you reflect on your journey as the co-founder of KidsChaupal? What have been your biggest achievements?
A. The idea behind KidsChaupal was simple: “We need to discover our kids better!” It has been nearly 4 years since we started our journey. The task of building a company that people want to work for and grow in is both challenging and rewarding.
I still feel a rush when I receive feedback from parents and kids who are happy with our products and services. We have over 45,000 students enrolled with us and 100+ courses for their skill development. We have created job opportunities for people across the nation. I am also proud to state that KidsChaupal has 90% female team members in the organization and is slowly working towards empowering women. We have conducted various events in different cities and are extremely proud of our first showcase dance event ‘Aarambh’ where the young dancers got a chance to perform on stage.
During the pandemic we launched an initiative called ‘KC Kartavya’ where we distributed tablets to the underprivileged kids who were unable to continue their studies due to lack of resources. We even offered them free skill development courses to upskill themselves. We have also recently launched ‘KC Sakhi,’ an initiative where we train the graduate girls from the rural section of the country and they teach the students in their area. I am thankful to have been bestowed with this opportunity to truly contribute and give back to the community and I consider it my biggest achievement.
Q. In a developing country like India, how important is it to convince parents to allow their children to pursue their passion? What kind of challenges do you face in trying to convince the parents?
A. In a developing country like India, children are burdened by parents’ expectations every time they consider a career that their parents don’t have clarity on. While we were trying to educate children, we discovered that sometimes we had to explain to their parents that the right path is the one the child wants to take and is the best suited for them.
There is a fear of failure in the parent’s minds that prevents them from encouraging their child to pursue their passion. It is natural for parents to want the best for their children, especially having their kid try to pursue a career in an industry with reasonable chances of success.
They think it is better to protect their child from all the pain and struggle, even if their child does not like it. Parents in India aren’t against their children following their passions provided their passions bring a reasonable income. It’s also important to raise awareness about the new career opportunities, which I feel is still missing in the Indian society. However things are changing as thanks to technology and globalization, the young generation is gradually becoming aware about the importance of skill development. Parents are also trying to build their own awareness regarding new career options coming up to be helpful in their kid’s career decisions. However, it’s still a long road ahead.
Q. Other than KidsChaupal you are also associated with the publishing platform StoryMirror as well as the Bloggers Alliance Education Society. How did the pandemic impact the cultural scene, according to you?
A. With movement of people limited and everyone staying at home for obvious reasons, I believe the cultural aspect was affected a lot due to pandemic. When students meet their peers daily in school, they don’t just learn about subjects but also pick up knowledge about the varied culture that India is famous for. They get to know about the festivals, the customs and traditions. Despite this hindrance, thanks to the aid of technology, we kept a positive mindset and ensured that students proactively participated in online learning and activities to transmit their creation digitally and communicate with the rest of society.
Q. You recently hosted an event called Aayaam in Bengaluru which was preceded by Aarambh. What’s the vision behind hosting events like Aarambh and Aayaam? What’s next at KidsChaupal?
A. The performing arts showcase events, Aarambh (summer edition) and Aayaam (winter edition), are about giving wings to the dreams of aspiring young dancers out there and helping them take their first step towards a successful dance career. It is a celebration of the progress that has been made by the efforts of millions to overcome the traumatic experiences of COVID-19 and a reminder that there is still much more left to be accomplished.
We are in the process of coming up with various holistic development offerings in theatre and dance and I believe that this is just the beginning. India is a hub of talent and if nurtured in the right direction, we will be able to make it the ‘skill capital of the world’ and give a bright future to the generations to come.