Think of your college and what immediately comes to mind is antiquated teaching processes and an institute that has hardly anything to do with technology. But with technology having touched every aspect of education, higher education could not have remained alienated. And while most technology initiatives in education are focused on students, here is a company that is trying to make colleges smarter.
Epaathsala, a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is helping colleges automate their manual functions – not teaching and research – but routine ones such as admission, placement, campus management and accreditation.
With accreditation becoming mandatory from April, Epaathsala's founder Suman Nandy feels that it becomes all the more important for colleges to use automated tools.
"The process of getting accreditation is not easy. The colleges has to meet several parameters, send several reports making it a very time consuming and labour-intensive process for the colleges. Our software eases up the whole process", says Nandy.
Say, for example one of the criteria for getting NAAC accreditation is research consultancy. A lot of researchers do not want to undertake this as documentation process is time-consuming. The software makes documentation easy and also connects them to various funding agencies for research.
Another criteria is student feedback. With a software in place, faculty has to just ask the students to give their feedback on one consolidated platform rather than giving a form to every student individually.
The company also provides language labs to colleges where students can learn English, German and French.
In a country where colleges are short-staffed and battle fund crunch, Epaathsala brings efficiency to their systems. It has been only two years and the company already has more than 750 colleges on board. Nandy believes that it is in college's interest to take accreditation seriously.
"There are a number of opportunities that flow in if a college is graded A+ or has a good grade. They can apply for autonomous status, get government grants, attract international students and can get good companies for placements," says Nandy.
As the government moves in the direction of outcome-based learning, wherein grants will be decided based on accreditation, colleges have begun to look into this seriously. And Epaathsala is poised to capitalise this emerging market space.