Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Tutoring Service With a Mission

We recently had the opportunity to interview the people behind EduCare, which we Tweeted about recently.  Educare is an online tutoring company that donates part of its proceeds to help support the education of the disadvantaged.

EduCare is run by its founders, Piyush Mangukiya and Dinesh Jasani. Piyush Mangukiya is the co-founder and CEO of EduCare.  Originally from Western India, Mangukiya came to the U.S. in 2007 to attend Virginia Commonwealth University, where he earned a BS in Computer Engineering. It was during this time, that Mangukiya realized students in the U.S. have a much greater opportunity to learn than is available to students in India and other developing nations.

"Having lived in India for a long time, I saw first-hand the problems students face without basic school supplies -- like not having a simple notebook and pencil to do homework with but instead writing on slates using chalk, and then having to prevent it from getting erased before reaching school," Mangukiya told us.  He felt strongly that education should be a right, not a privilege – and wanted to make a difference. 

While visiting a local high school in India, he saw the father of a young girl crying because he desperately wanted his daughter to attend the school, but did not have the $10 needed to pay the yearly fee. A paltry sum to U.S. families, this was unreachable to the Indian family.

"Seeing the father cry made me realize both the immense value $10 was to him and the vast disparities between access to education in India and the U.S," Mangukiya explained.  "This inspired me to establish EduCare with the vision that it would be a socially responsible company that would help students in developing countries, like this man’s child, through funds raised by providing quality and research backed online tutoring to students in the U.S."

Mangukiya’s own parents were never able to attend school in their native India either, but they dreamed of their son being well educated so that he could have a better life, and through hard work, they were able to provide him with a solid education and the opportunity to study in the U.S.  These experiences made Mangukiya realize that something had to be done to make education more accessible to underprivileged youths around the globe, and to continue the dream his parents had for him, for other children across Asia, Africa and Latin America. Driven by this commitment and his revolutionary concept of global education, he founded EduCare and the company’s Global Education Movement.

EduCare hires and recruits teachers and tutors from the United States and Australia, and they have been approved as an NCLB SES provider in several states. They focus on the quality of their teaching staff, and teacher must meet their professional requirements:
  • Teachers must be certified to teach in their home state or must possess a teaching license. 
  • If tutors are not certified teachers then they must possess a bachelor’s degree and at least 2 years of teaching or tutoring experience in their subject area.
  • For college level tutoring, EduCare hires students from different colleges who have completed that particular course with a letter grade of “A.” Along with the grade, EduCare also tests all its tutors for subject matter content by having them pass our prequalification tests.
The tutoring is delivered in the typical online environment.  It does require that students book sessions at least two hours in advance.  One general tutoring session is $14.99 while 10 sessions are $134.99, a margin discount.

Students who register for at least one session have access to the EduCare resource library. Their library consists of Worksheets, Study Guides, online educational games, educational animations, video courses and beta iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone applications which can be downloaded on student devices.

We also asked just how they assist students Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Still in beta mode, they are working on building relationships with non-profits in order to deliver aid.  They promise to deliver 50 pencils for a single session booking, and and a ten session booking ($134.99) pays for a full academic year's tuition.

We decided to see just how much a full year's tuition costs.  Brian House, former Peacecorp volunteer who now runs a grassroots aid organization in Haiti states tuition fees for a primary student run about $20 a year with an additional $30 of associated fees (uniforms, books, supplies).  Secondary school tuition is $30 per year with an additional $45 of fees.  We wanted to know just how they delivered this assistance.

1. How is aid provided to students in need?
With every tutoring session that a student completes, we help educate an underprivileged child in need through our Global Education Movement. We partner with nonprofits working to promote education in some of the most remote communities in the world and donate the resources through them.

2. How do you identify students in need?

Our nonprofit partners identify the students, schools and teachers who are in need. Through them we can provide school supplies to children, learning materials for teachers, and even build a classroom. Our current nonprofit partner is Hope for Haiti, while we are also in the midst of exploring other exciting nonprofit partnerships for 2011 that would target underprivileged children in Asia and Latin America.

3. How much aid is expected to be delivered to students in need during the first year of service?

We expect to change the lives of more than 1,000 students by the end of 2011, by providing them with educational resources like pencils, pens, notebook, textbooks, computers, science lab equipments and resources for teachers in underprivileged areas like books, study guides, and worksheets.

With other 700 students using the service and poised to expand into SES offerings, we wish EduCare the best in their undertakings for the sake of these assisted students.  We look forward to hearing from parents, students or schools who have used their service.


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