YouTube. It’s a strange beast. It’s the platform that gave the world pastimes such as cat videos and clips of people falling but then, it has also given us Roshni Mukherjee — running one of the largest “coaching classes” for students, absolutely free. Her YouTube channel streams instructions on the very intimidating physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics and this year, has crossed the one lakh subscriber mark.
Mukherjee is a former IT employee. She was motivated by both her love for teaching and the fact that she could help out thousands because of her good grasp on those subjects. But instead of squeezing in 50 students into a small room and making a small fortune every month, she decided to telecast her classes.
A native of Santiniketan near Kolkata, Mukherjee finished her schooling in Dhanbad before completing her graduation and postgraduation from the Delhi University. Soon, she was recruited into the IT industry through campus placement, and, like her friends, decided to give the world of computers and software a shot. “I worked as a senior quality analyst in the IT field but it was never a long-term option. I knew it would be good exposure and the experience would help in the long run. I was passionate about teaching and always wanted to come back to it. Earlier, I used to help my niece with her studies but I wanted to teach full-time.”
One day, her maid came complaining about the poor quality of teachers in her son’s school and how most never bothered to turn up. It got Roshni thinking and she decided she would teach students who couldn’t afford quality education.
In YouTube, she found the perfect platform. “I started making videos in 2011 with the help of PowerPoint and a voiceover to assist the students,” says Roshni. She was taken aback by the response as students and parents appreciated her videos and left positive comments urging her to make more. “I took it up more seriously and made videos for three years along with my IT job. I was working on weekends and late nights but as the subscribers increased I felt I was ready to commit to it full-time,” she says.
Exam Fear now has more than 4,400 video tutorials on its channel and continues to inspire, and educate, students. The name itself was because of the fact that Mukherjee wanted to keep her students (or subscribers) calm, and free of fear. “Students are under tremendous pressure and they study only to write exams. They must actually enjoy the process and learn to understand the concepts rather than just regurgitate answers.”
Mukherjee has also managed to include helpful illustrations and animation. Exam Fear remains a one-woman team. Right from teaching, illustrating to managing the YouTube channel and the website, Mukherjee does it all. “But my husband, who has been a pillar of support, has helped me set the base of the project,” she says.
Her channel generates some income from YouTube’s adsense and also has a “contribute” option on the website for those who want to support Roshni’s initiative. Mukherjee was nominated by the ministry of women and child development in the ‘Top 100 women’ list for her efforts and next year, she is hoping to introduce more subjects to her YouTube channel and is also looking to get the content translated to other regional languages so it can be accessed from all corners of the country.