24-year-old quits IAS to turn free e-tutor

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Old 10-Jan-2016
Miss Alone
24-year-old quits IAS to turn free e-tutor

What do you do when you are 24 years old, have already earned your medical degree, cracked the civil services exam and become an assistant district collector? You dream, of course, of a bright future in administration and a crack at the top bureaucrat's post in three decades' time. And that is exactly what Roman Saini did not do.
Saini has resigned after two years as assistant collector of Jabalpur and ventured into an area where he may neither earn like a doctor nor wield clout like a babu. All he wants to do is to see students get past the various academic hurdles that stand in the way of youthful ambitions. He uploads lectures on his Unacademy platform on YouTube for those aspiring to become doctors, civil servants, computer programmers, even experts in foreign languages. Ten followers have cleared the civil services exams and more than 1.1 crore have viewed the videos, while Unacademy has 20,000 Twitter followers and 64,000 Facebook likes.
He was inspired in the venture by his school pal Gaurav Munjal, who approached Saini with the idea when he was in the second year of the MBBS programme at AIIMS. Munjal, astonishingly for a product of the online age, has stepped down as CEO of his Bengaluru start-up, and put the proceeds from the sale of his company at the disposal of unacademy.in.
"My focus is on making quality education accessible," says Saini, "and I think the offline mode is not the way to achieve it." He reckons that there is a massive need for technological intervention due to paucity of infrastructure and human resources to meet the demand of millions. "That is why I decided to pursue fulltime the concept of Unacademy," he reasons.
Of course, foregoing an IAS future was not as easy as stating a vision, and Saini certainly went through an internal churn. It didn't help that his father, an engineer, and brother, a paediatrician, weren't happy that the youngster was chucking a perfectly good "government job with security" to pursue a dream. They hadn't complained when he decided to discard the stethoscope for grimy files, but this wasn't the better alternative. Personally too, it wasn't an easy decision. "I had dedicated two years to prepare for the civil service exams," says Saini. "There were many factors were involved, so I consulted everyone possible."

Eventually his passion won out. "I have a lot of respect for the civil services, but I think education is what will drive the nation and that is why I finally decided to work in this sector," Saini now says, a toothy grin brightening his already cheery face.
The smiles of both the affable men from Jaipur are perhaps justified by the results their venture has achieved in a short time. The free YouTube lectures have helped 10 others pass the tough civil services exam. One of them, Aman Mittal, achieved a high 20th rank last year. Thanking Saini and Munjal, Mittal testified on Facebook: "I came to know of the initiative (Unacademy) around 10 days before prelims. I remember watching the ecology and history lectures... I have to admit they were quite impressive. As I was preparing at home, I needed a constant source of motivation. So, after the mains, I watched his (Saini's) videos and the Tedx talk later which was really inspiring."

Aparna Gautam, who cleared the UPSC exams with a ranking of 104 in 2015 and is now in the IPS, adds, "The contents of the videos and Roman's candid presentation not only prepare you but also imbibe in you the right attitude."
Unacademy's aim is to make lessons available to people like Mittal and Gautam who can neither spend much on preparations nor travel far from home for coaching classes. After its formal launch on December 15, 2015, over 400 video lessons crafted by 31 educators, most of them working for free, have been uploaded. The technical aspects of the platform are taken care of by Hemesh Singh and Sachin Gupta, the other co-founders.
"Right now we have lessons on computer programming, economics, geography, biology, law and other subjects," says Munjal. "An IIT scientist takes care of science and technology, a French teacher is teaching French, and other passionate students of Unacademy are coming forward to create high quality lessons. For instance, Prudhvi Tej who topped IIT-JEE 2011 is teaching physics." Lessons are currently conducted in English, but plans are on to provide them in other Indian languages from February.

Old 10-Jan-2016
[Thank You]
Re: 24-year-old quits IAS to turn free e-tutor

very nice effort on part of founders of unacademy. nice share.

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