Solution Overview

Our Solution

ProGame - Digital Skilling for Workforce

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One-line solution summary:

Our solution enables unskilled/semi-skilled workers to participate and grow in the digital and technology-driven economy of the future.

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Pitch your solution.

If an unskilled or semi-skilled worker decides to upskill himself/herself with digital literacy skills, how would they go about doing it? With limited resources and guidance, most often than not it becomes a herculean task. 

What if the worker is a parent of a child who has access to our solution ProGame - Coding WITHOUT Computers? While the child undergoes training in coding WITHOUT computers at school, the parent can use the same app at home to learn digital literacy skills in a self-paced and structured manner, with little or no external help.

The parents' edition of our solution shall include multiple levels of learning starting with AI-driven, digital literacy videos in vernacular languages followed by teaching and assessing logical, analytical and problem-solving skills to the parent. If the parent is further interested, he/she can learn coding skills that the student is learning in school along with the child.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Increase and leverage the participation of underserved communities in India and Indonesia — especially women, low-income, and remote groups — in the creation, development, and deployment of new technologies, jobs, and industries
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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Hyderabad, Telangana, India
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Is your solution working in India and/or Indonesia?

My solution is being deployed or has plans to deploy in India
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What specific problem are you solving in India and/or Indonesia?

ONE: Problem specific to government-school going students in India and other developing nations:

1) 87% of Schools in India DO NOT have Computers!!

2) Extremely low number of Computers in Low and Mid-income private Schools. In most cases, zero Computers as well. An estimated 140 million students in India go to such schools.

3) Student-Computer ratio in private schools is skewed.

4) End Result – Computer Skill Development at the School level is struggling.


TWO: Problem specific to adults in underserved communities:

Unskilled/semi-skilled workers continue in the same jobs for a multitude of reasons such as lack of awareness about opportunities to upskill, lack of access to skilling tools, motivation to upskill among several other factors.

The present Indian workforce comprises of only 12% digitally skilled employees. This significant skill gap is further amplified by the Covid pandemic. Adding to this problem is the limited understanding of specific digital skills required by workers. Rapid technological changes require workers to upskill digitally to pursue newer opportunities or better jobs.  Source: https://access.awscloud.com/i/1354318-awsps-apac-digital-skills-research-report-en-mar-2021/0?



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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our original solution, ProGame - Coding WITHOUT Computers, is primarily intended for underserved school students. One of the USPs of our solution is that it can be carried home by the students. It is an opportunity for students to continue practising at home.

In such a setting, the student can introduce the app to the parent(s) as well and in the process motivate them to upskill themselves. Here, it will be most useful to those parents who are either unskilled or semi-skilled workers which could be the most likely scenario given our target audience. The parents' section of the app is the second part of our existing solution and is the most critical piece to this challenge.

The parent(s) can log into the parent section of the app and start acquiring digital literacy skills first by watching mini videos in vernacular languages (stage one), next by trying out quizzes to improve their logical, problem-solving and analytical skills (stage two) and finally, learn to code WITHOUT computers alongside/with the help of their wards (stage three).

After acquiring basic digital literacy skills through the app (stage one), parents (unskilled or semi-skilled workers) can develop a basic understanding of the usage of emails, social media chat applications like Whatsapp, operating a bank account, usage of digital wallets and such. 

Further, after stages two and three of learning, the unskilled/semi-skilled workers develop a good understanding of computational thinking skills which in turn can make them further trainable for the digital economy jobs.

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How does the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge?

The task of upskilling unskilled/semi-skilled workers is not easy.  To be able to reach out to the workers, educate them about the importance of upskilling, make them aware of tools to access, motivate them to download and eventually make them use the tools is a long process. 

On the other hand, solutions can be developed for upskilling workers and enable them for the digital and technology-driven future.

Our parents' section of our original solution (ProGame - Coding WITHOUT Computers) includes video nuggets produced by us as well as sourced globally in vernacular languages that the workers can watch, learn and try out for themselves. The challenge of making our app accessible to the workers is solved by making the upskilling solution a part of the solution that teaches Coding to students who do not have access to computers.

The uniqueness of our solution lies in the delivery model than in the solution itself. This is how the model works. The organizations we currently work with are usually the ones that work with underserved communities. We reach to students of these underserved communities first via our original solution, ProGame - Coding WITHOUT Computers. Apart from the original content around computational thinking skills, the students are also educated about the parents' section of the app. In turn, the students let their parents know about it and that's how the workers get access to the tool.

The emotional appeal of the wards shall further motivate the parents to take up the upskilling journey.

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In which Indian States and/or Union Territories is your solution operating?

  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Karnataka
  • Gujarat
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • West Bengal
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Telangana
  • Delhi
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot
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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Suraj V Meiyur - Founder - CEO of Next Skills 360 EdTech Private Limited - www.linkedin.com/surajmeiyur

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More About Your Solution

If you have additional video content that explains your solution, upload it here (e.g., demo video, promotional video):

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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful
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What makes your solution innovative?

Most solutions to teach coding to students would require a laptop, desktop or tablet for students to learn to code. This constraint makes it very difficult for students especially the ones residing in rural and semi-urban communities of India (and other such developing countries) to learn computational thinking skills. As such a great divide exists between private-school going and government-school going students in developing nations. The unavailability of computers for underprivileged students to learn 21st-century skills such as coding will only widen the gap. This makes our solution that much more relevant. Without expensive hardware and software, our solution uses the best of technology available (AI Techniques) and Cardboard to teach coding to students, especially the underprivileged ones.

While the original solution that caters to underserved students (teach coding WITHOUT conventional computers) is innovative in itself, the solution we are offering to upskill semiskilled/unskilled digital literacy skills isn't outright innovative. The steps involved in upskilling in our solution may be well-thought-of, but the solution is not innovative in itself.

However, having said that, the delivery model is very innovative and unique. Here, we engage both the student (who is learning to code WITHOUT computers) and the parent (who is trying to upskill for the digital and technology-driven future) in using a single solution with clear demarcations within it. In a nutshell, if a ProGame coding kit reaches an underserved home, it can cater to the skilling needs of both the parent and the child.

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our core solution uses Artificial Intelligence in building machine learning models that help in identifying the cardboard pieces placed by the user. Image recognition, text and hand-writing recognition are the core to our original solution's functionality. 

The parents' section of the solution uses AI to suggest newer and relevant videos to engage the end-user in the digital literacy learning process.  

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Please select all the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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What is your theory of change?

The long-term outcomes for students and parents using are solution includes making good career choices. It need not necessarily be in the field of Information Technology. Better academic scores and improvement in confidence levels are desirable medium-term and short-term outcomes for students after attending our interventions. 

For parents, participation in the digital and technology-driven future is our desired outcome. Learning digital skills help them pursue better jobs and newer opportunities. Almost 60% of non-digitally skilled workers today will likely require basic digital skills training by 2025. Non-digitally skilled workers, especially women and youth, could benefit from targeted digital skills training through short and nugget sized videos and content in vernacular languages. The solution will focus on providing training on competencies like operating  a digital device, digital communication, data and information literacy, digital problem solving, digital security and ethics, digital content creation, besides other relevant concepts. 

Ourcomes: 

These competences will empower the parents by helping them be more productive in their present jobs. 

In addition, these digitally-literate adults will be in a better position to pursue newer jobs and easily transition into the rapidly changing technological world. 

Besides, these skills help them keep pace with emerging technologies. 

Source: https://access.awscloud.com/i/1354318-awsps-apac-digital-skills-research-report-en-mar-2021/31?


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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • India
  • Nepal
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Indonesia
  • South Africa
  • United States
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What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Through our original solution that teaches coding to underserved students, our goal is to reach 1 Million students by 2025. 

In the process of achieving this goal, through our parents' edition module, we intend to reach 100,000 parents in the same time period, if not more. 

To reach this, we would identify credible organisations and NGOs that are presently working with students. 

We intend to collaborate and partner with such organisations/NGOs or Government Bodies to reach our solution to the target audience. 

We wish to partner and collaborate with NGOs/Corporate Social Responsibility Teams, Government Organisations that work with students, parents communities, women, youth in rural and semi-urban areas and also urban slums and dwellings. 

Presently we have a strong partnership with several such organisations for our original solutions ProGame - Coding WITHOUT Computers. In due course, we would pursue and collaborate with more organisations in our targeted domain. 

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

For our original solution, ProGame - Coding WITHOUT Computers, we conduct baseline and end-line assessments for the students to gauge the effectiveness of the interventions. Periodic hackathons and coding camps also help us gauge the effectiveness of the intervention. 

For the parents' edition, we intend to measure the overall usage.  

Also, during the second and third stages of the learning process, the end user's (parents who are semiskilled/unskilled) skill levels are assessed before and after the intervention. 

These assessments help one gauge the effectiveness of the intervention and gives us scope for mid-course improvement and corrections if required.  

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

Continued financial support, in terms of prize grants, can enable us to be continuously engaged with underserved communities. 

Also, the current pandemic is impacting our efforts to a certain extent and is preventing us from going full throttle with our efforts.

Besides, slow decision making, especially with Government organisations, could also be a challenge at times.


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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

While little can be done as far as the pandemic is concerned, we are focused on our efforts to reach our milestones.

Students learn to code using our original solution ProGame - Coding WITHOUT Computers in an online or offline or hybrid model, 

Our unique delivery model empowers parents to learn digital skills anywhere and anytime.

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More About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

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How many people work on your solution team?

Our team comprises of 7 Full-time Employees and 1 Part-time employee. 

Besides, we have a huge network of volunteers who are always willing to render their services for the underserved communities. 

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How long have you been working on your solution?

Since 2018, three plus years now

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

The founders have previous experience in working with underprivileged students studying in remote schools of Telangana, India. 

More Info about Founders:

Suraj V Meiyur - Founder – CEO (www.linkedin.com/in/surajmeiyur):

  • Two decades of experience in IT and K-12 Education
  • Applied for 1 Patent in India
  • Co-Authored 17 books for K-12 students in Life Skills
  • Lived & worked in the US for 5 years working for several fortune 500 companies.

Sri Sowjanya Suraj – Co-founder & Chief Marketing & Learning Officer (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sowjanyasuraj):

  • A decade and a half of experience in HR, Recruitment, Training and K-12 Education
  • Trained thousands of Tribal and Social welfare students in Coding, Life Skills and Public Speaking.
  • Lived & worked in the US for several years in IBM and other companies. 

The technical team has been together right from the beginning and are trained in the latest AI techniques. They are also empathetic to the cause and are highly motivated towards serving the underprivileged.

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What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?

There is 50% Gender diversity amongst the founders. It has always been the highest priority of the founders to be sensitive to the needs of the team. Also, special care was taken during the recruitment process in conducting a free and fair screening and selection of candidates. As the company continues to grow, the founders would like to keep the selection process intact and ensure the startup is diverse, equitable and inclusive in every possible way. 

We DO NOT discriminate based on religion, race, gender, color, caste, creed, socio-economic status, etc while hiring and selecting the person. 

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

Current partnerships:

1) Dell Technologies, India

2) Institute of Management and Technology, Hyderabad, Telangana


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Your Model & Funding

What is your operational model?

While the end-users of our solution would be parents of students who go to government schools in India and other developing countries, reaching out to parents directly could be quite a task. To address this problem, we intend to continue our model of reaching out to students (through Government departments, NGOs, Foundations and CSR Teams) who do not have access to computers (mostly, government-school and low-income school-going private students), who in turn can carry the coding kits home, download our app on their parents' mobile phones (wherever possible) and learn coding using our kits. The students will be able to continue to practise coding at home whatever they learn in school and beyond.

As a next step, these students can introduce the parents' version of the Digital Skilling app (which is embedded in our original ProGame Coding app for students) to their parent(s) and encourage them to get themselves skilled in Digital Literacy skills. 

This way, the time we reach a student to teach computational thinking skills, the entire family gets benefited as far as skilling is concerned.

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Who is the primary stakeholder you will be targeting to execute and scale your solution?

Not-for-profit or Community-Based organizations
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Partnership & Growth Opportunities

Why are you applying to the Future of Work in India and Indonesia Challenge?

This is a great forum to showcase our solution and receive feedback on ways to improve it. We would also need help in taking our solution to underserved communities outside India and we firmly believe that this forum shall enable us in doing so.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)
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Please explain in more detail here.

We would like to showcase our solution on a world forum like this which in turn can help us connect with foundations and such organizations who serve the underserved communities around the world. We believe this approach is a great way to reach our target audience and achieve our goals of positively impacting the lives of underserved communities around the world.

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Solution Team

  • Mr. Suraj Meiyur Founder - CEO - CTO, Next Skills 360 EdTech Private Limited
  • Mrs. Sowjanya Suraj Co-Founder, Next Skills 360 Edtech Private Limited
 
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