‘It took a pandemic for Nepal to focus on e-learning’Rohit Senchuri, founder/CEO of Scholars Space, on what made him start an e-learning platform and the future of online learning in Nepal.
In 2019, when eight Nepali youths started an e-learning platform called Scholars Space, little did they know that a year later a pandemic would force schools across the country to shut down and give online learning a newfound importance. In this rapidly changing learning landscape, the makers of Scholars Space are hopeful of what the future holds.
The Post’s Vivek Baranwal spoke with Rohit Senchuri, the founder/CEO of Scholars Space, about what led him to start the platform and how it distinguishes itself from others, and the future of e-learning in Nepal.
This interview has been condensed for clarity.
How did the idea for Scholars Space come about?
My elder brother Rahul Senchuri, who is one of the founders and COO at Scholars Space, and I had always wanted to start something together. His educational background is agriculture and mine is civil engineering. The idea for Scholars Space struck me around four years ago. I was a civil engineering student at the time and I faced a lot of challenges in getting the needed study materials online. Even though there were several e-learning platforms in the country at the time, none of them had the materials I was looking for. This experience made me realise the need for e-learning platforms that cater to students like me and that’s what led us to start Scholars Space.
Apart from providing students with academic resources, the platform, through its various extensions, also provides non-academic courses. Scholars Space only has dedicated experienced professors and teachers. They help design courses and prepare entrance exams resources. This way, we have been able to ensure quality so that our students get the best learning experience.
How does Scholars Space work?
Scholars Space has four primary extensions, which are all interconnected to each other.
Learn Space is our space dedicated to learning. From academic courses to skill-based courses, we have a wide range of courses for students to choose from.
Blog Space is where students can write their thoughts and opinions and read other people’s writings as well.
Entrance Space is a section dedicated for students wanting to prepare for competitive entrance exams such as MBBS, Engineering, BSc Agriculture, etc. This section has model questions and mock tests prepared by reputed institutions and professionals.
Slide Space is where we have data and facts on various topics that might come handy to students.
Scholars Space recently launched a new campaign called ‘Art and Artist’. What is it and how does it contribute to your definition of e-learning?
We believe art is the purest form of expression and one of the most important mediums of expression. Art has the ability to create large-scale impact.
Art and Artist is one of our extensions, and it caters to those interested in learning about arts and interacting with artists and better their understanding of different forms of arts.
What do you think are the challenges startups like Scholars Space face in Nepal?
One of the main challenges is the lack of startup-friendly government policies. Apart from that, there is also an unhealthy competition among startups here in Nepal. Since startups like us rely heavily on the internet, the lack of reliable internet connectivity in the country has limited our growth.
What’s your take on the future of online learning in Nepal?
Our four years of research show that online learning is gaining popularity in Nepal. But for e-learning to be widely accepted, Nepal’s education laws and policies need to be updated and formulated in such a way to promote e-learning.
Our society is very slow and reluctant when it comes to embracing changes. This is the reason why e-learning didn’t take off in the country for a very long time. To be honest, had it not been for Covid-19, online classes would still be rare in the country. So it's fair to say that it took a pandemic for the country to focus on e-learning. But now that many are aware of the benefits of e-learning, I am positive that e-learning will become much more prevalent in Nepal.