It is evident that the e-commerce sector has seen a boom, especially with the acceptance of the traditional buyers who once preferred the brick and mortar model for even the smallest school education items. Priyavrata reminds us of the condition in the rural and semi-urban regions where parents travel long distances to buy their children’s school uniforms and that is what Uniform Junction is promising to tackle – customized, value added, home-delivered school uniforms and other items. He aims to make it a one-stop support system for schools with the click of a button.
In an exclusive interaction with Priyavrata Mafatlal, the co-founder and director of Uniform Junction, we learn about his ambitious plans and strategies of bringing quality education to the Tier 2,3,4 and 5 cities of India and making Uniform Junction the go-to platform for online learning and school education products.
Catering to the need of the hour
Priyavrata rightly proclaims that online education is not just the edtech companies. It is as simple as providing the devices or giving the kids the ability to learn in remote areas. Priyavrata believes that this sector was always present in India, the pandemic just made it more popular and accessible.
Priyavrata comments, “We did not expect to do so many things that we managed to do overnight. I think the word adaptation comes close to the boom of Edtech and it is here to stay in some form or the other.” He believes that its future will depend on the educators who would explore the hybrid models.
Being part of the 116-year old iconic Arvind Mafatlal Group has certainly helped in accessing the right doors and the right clients and today it is building a brand value of its own. Uniform Junction is focused on being the curated marketplace that allows users to select or limit their choices rather than getting lost in the whole jungle of offerings available. It takes the advantage of being able to scan the entire globe and offer the best education services to its audience. Uniform Junction has an inhouse team that curates, evaluates and determines what works from the student’s point of view.
It is dispensing life skills along with the K-12 curriculum and actively promotes non-curriculum-based courses, the STEM learning and other talent-based learnings. The online portal is also equipped with a career guidance counsel with over 300 different career choices. Through this style of learning, a child who has the aptitude for physics but is interested in music can be mentored for a career in sound engineering.
What started as a concept idea to take the offline business online, the pandemic really pushed the company to take a more holistic approach in the education sector. It is an ecosystem where every market player has a role to play in addressing the issues of the schools and children.
Tapping into the new Trends in Education
Appreciating the initiative taken by the Indian government in introducing the new NEP (New Education Policy) in 2019, Priyavrata commented that the entire thesis of the new policy is based on replacing the concept of rote learning with experiential learning and learning through other avenues. He further reveals that Uniform Junction is equipped to assist the state as well as the CBSE boards to become accustomed with the new policy structure.
He further explains that Uniform Junction is not a core content creator but a content aggregator. It caters to the needs of the educators and meets their demand by bringing on board suitable service providers. He explains, “Today, coding has become a trending subject and not many schools are equipped to deliver it to their students. That is where we provide our assistance by connecting them with a suitable service provider.”
x10ed beyond boundaries and conventions
X10ed, an Israel-based analytics solution provider, recently extended its support to Uniform Junction. x10ed is the kind of program that provides programs like Chess, comedy, acting and many more from some of the masters of their respective fields. From the business point of view, x10ed is aggregating programs from Israel, the way Uniform Junction does in India.
Priyavrata has clarified that the curriculum-based K-12 courses would be very India centric at Uniform Junction but the non-curriculum-based, the STEM learning and other talent-based learnings are developed to cater for a global audience. He personally does not believe in getting into content development because he believes that with the aggregation process he is able to offer new and better contents to the students.
Priyavrata explains, “If there are, suppose. 200 platforms to teach coding, then our team would scan through them all and list out 7 or 8 out of it. The selection process is based on both technical and non-technical aspects of those service providers.”
He further adds,”STEM is a great program, where, although it is not part of the curriculum, you need to be very well connected to what is happening with Maths and Technology today. Similarly, if you have hobbies then they need to be encouraged and that is where a School of Music or Arts or Amar Chitra Katha or Legos comes in. We are ensuring life skills along with the curriculum. We are able to meet aspirations that extend from learning English to preparing for IIT. So some of our programs are not directly involved with the curriculum but they help in developing your life skills and become a better human being. We intend to go from 300 to 1,000 courses this year.”
Aspirations beyond boundaries and economies
Uniform Junction is currently catering only to the private schools in the tier-2,3,4 cities for now because there are very few players who have actually cracked the supply chain there. With the Mafatlal group’s 85 percent control over the organized sector in the uniform dress business, Priyavrata, the MD and CEO of Mafatlal Industries, is looking to address some of these issues using his e-commerce platform.
“Financial background or your geographical background should not limit the personal growth of a person.” explains the co-founder.
Priyavrata accepts the fact that being aligned with the Arvind Mafatlal Group has opened many doors for him. But he is not disillusioned by the notion that the group name will take it forward. That is why it is called the Junction, he explains. It is old values meeting the new economy. Old mindsets meeting new opportunities. It has the advantage of being under the aegis of a big umbrella but is also responsible for building up its own brand value.
Article by Ujal Nair