The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has caused the Indian education system to suffer tremendously as schools continue to remain shut due to the lockdown. Millions of students across the country do not have access to proper guidance and resources. Irregular transmission of internet services and the lack of personal touch further adds to the problem. Students face issues regarding the new formula of virtual self-study as individual assistance still remains absent in the new era of online learning. Moreover, there are many students belonging to lesser privileged backgrounds who do not have easy access to the web. Those who do, may not be able to properly navigate themselves online which may result in students wasting their time and energy. Google search can get tricky as sifting through the bulky material available online can be a tedious process and may cause information overload to the already anxious students. With the recent debates revolving around the final year degree examinations and NEET, IIT JEE entrance tests, the fear of students compromising on their studies and career is a rising concern for their parents. Safety of their children from the deadly virus being the prime priority, the overall situation is causing immense stress and trauma to both the parents and the students.
Imbesat Ahmad, an alumni of IIT Kharagpur, decided to help students overcome this obstacle by developing FILO, a mobile application which enables class 9-12 students to have their questions answered by the experts of related subjects in real-time, following a one to one live model over a video call. The app is completely free without hidden charges and reduces the overall time taken to answer student queries by around 400%, ideally resolving any doubts within 60 seconds. The experts comprise a team of undergraduates from the country’s best institutes including IITs, NITs, medical colleges and top Science colleges. More than 400 IITians are registered on FILO as experts for the senior secondary subjects- Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology.
“Solving my queries live gives me confidence during this pandemic and I do feel that I’ve completed a chapter with no doubts left.” Prerna Lohia, a student from Uttar Pradesh, talking about the app.
“FILO is secured and ad-free to provide students with an uninterrupted educational experience and to avoid distractions. It works well on slow to weak internet. The app offers anonymity to students, encouraging even the shy and introverted kids to speak up and get their queries resolved in no time.” Ahmed stated.
Ahmad has been working for five years in higher secondary education, guiding students into the world’s most prestigious institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Purdue, IITs, NITs and more; conducting educational workshops in Bihar & Kashmir to improve the awareness level of students.
The state of Jammu & Kashmir has repeatedly suffered from internet shutdowns since the scrapping of article 370 that stripped away its autonomous status last year. With the ongoing lockdown, challenges faced by the students in this region have increased as an addition to the existing lack of a robust educational ecosystem that other states possess in the country.
Ahmed declined many job offers including a PhD offer from Canada to institutionalize a fellowship program in Kashmir for the overall development of underprivileged students opening a pathway of opportunities for those Kashmiri students who had never even heard about IITs & exams like JEE, NEET and SAT.
The Ministry of Education, Government of India has acknowledged his initiative in a recent tweet and his efforts have been recognized by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir, rewarding Ahmad with a memento for improving the quality of education in Kashmir.
Furthermore, to ensure that more students utilize the content produced on the app, FILO has been integrated with the National Digital Library of India through IIT Kharagpur by the MoE. The content developed by FILO specialists will be archived in the library.
“Whenever I used to have a doubt while studying, I only had one option, to wait and clear it in the next class. Due to the lockdown, there was no one to clear my doubts. But this app solves all my doubts easily within a matter of seconds.” Rubiya Bhat, a student from Jammu and Kashmir stated.
Talking about his mission, Ahmad stated that he wishes to connect millions of students with the right set of mentors via FILO. His team is attempting to provide high-quality educational guidance to students without any charge or any business model.
“Students look up to the tutors they find on our platform because they have already aced some of the most competitive national-level entrance examinations. Students also feel a lot more comfortable in sharing their questions and doubts without the stigma of any embarrassment in front of their classmates.” Ahmad said. “Under the mentorship of these tutors, students can prepare for their subsequent classes beforehand and get answers to topics they miss out on in their regular classes. The doubt-solving sessions have been helpful in both preventing a buildup of queries, as well as enhancing the learning speed of the students.” He added.
Along with solving subject related difficulties, the app provides assistance to JEE-NEET aspirants as well, delivering academic counselling and critical query handling sessions regarding the admission procedures, faculty, fee structure and more. Students preparing for the upcoming NEET PG entrance test can now use this app to solve their queries and prepare. The android version of FILO is available on Google Playstore: https://rb.gy/vuphs4