Making UPSC Exam coaching accessible for all
Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent
UPSC Guide sets an example how social media is influencing education in positive ways
- UPSC Guide is the most followed Instagram page by UPSC CSE Exam aspirants
- It is the only e-learning platform which provides complete student tracking and feedback system
- It plans to expand by entering into coaching for IES, IIT, banking and other government sector entrance examinations
We have seen educators and psychologists advising to keep children away from social media citing its negative impact. But there is always the other side of the coin, where social media has proved a boon for education. Similar is the story of the UPSC Guide. UPSC Guide is an e-learning platform for UPSC CSE aspirants, providing coaching and guidance for both Prelims, Mains UPSC CSE Examinations.
In the beginning it wasn’t planned as a business. Mr. Abhijeet Nikam, who is founder of Nikam OPC Pvt LTD which owns the brand UPSC Guide, was himself a UPSC aspirant. He felt that there is a lack for guidance for preparations for a large percentage of UPSC aspirants who have not enrolled in some or the other coaching institute. So he just started an Instagram page as a helping hand to such aspirants where he used to provide free guidance about the kind of preparation required for UPSC entrance and how to go about it.
The page very quickly touched 20k followers mark. Impressed by the kind of services this channel was offering, many officers who had achieved good ranks joined hands with UPSC Guide and started giving guidance to many aspirants through Instagram Live and Telegram handle of UPSC Guide.
Mr. Nikam, founder UPSC Guide, says "Seeing the success and kind of attention the Instagram page was getting, I made the assessment that there is huge demand for such services and it could be turned into a good business idea. And that is how UPSC Guide was incepted."
Steering Clear of Entrance Examination Hurdles
Mr. Abhijeet says "Being an aspirant myself I always felt the need for proper on-time guidance for various stages of UPSC examinations. So I turned my need into an opportunity to help others and get help from others through social media."
But when he decided to turn it into business, investment was the concern. So he took the help of affiliate marketing and used money earned through this to launch website of UPSC Guide, through which various courses were made available. Due to popularity of Instagram handle, the website started to attract a following very quickly. But still there wasn’t any substantial earning.
In May 2019 Mr. Nikam went ahead with the monetization and within the 6 month of monetization more than 1600 students got registered under various courses provided by the UPSC Guide to get right guidance at right time.
Most of the facilitators in UPSC Guide are achievers who have already cleared the examination and providing guidance and motivation to new aspirants as they understand the level of difficulties and challenges these examinations offer for candidates.
Modus Operandi and Revenue Streams
Instagram handle of UPSC Guide is the key to the working of UPSC Guide. At present it has more than 350k followers more than 95% of them are UPSC aspirants. And rest are achievers who have already cleared the examinations.
When Instagram page of UPSC Guide was started it was Mr. Nikam and his other aspirant friends used to provide guidance. But soon he got expert help from other achievers who would come to this platform and provide guidance to aspirants through Instagram live.
These live sessions are recorded and later made available on UPSC Guide YouTube channel for the guidance of larger number of aspirants who could not attend the live sessions.
After the monetization the complete curriculum is made available through video lessons, chatroom discussions webinars etc and one to one guidance is available through skype other social media handles and over the phone.
To advance further UPSC Guide is going to launch live tracking system where complete analysis of performance of aspirants will be made available to them and then accordingly need-based further guidance will be provided.
The main source of revenue for UPSC Guide is courses and test series available on their website which are best quality learning materials. Keeping the high cost of the courses available on other platforms bothering the aspirants in mind, the cost have been kept almost 80 percent less to make it affordable for all. Which is another plus point for them as more and more aspirants are attracted towards these need based courses and test series.
Fulfilling the Social Responsibility
Mr. Nikam has always understood the social responsibility of his business. All the test series available on UPSC guide are made available free of cost to BPL category candidates, army wards and physically challenged candidates to make the opportunity available for them at equal level. Mr. Nikam says "Aspirants from rural areas, for whom it is nearly impossible to get into coaching institutes, are also equally talented but they lack resources. It is our responsibility as fellow citizens that they also get opportunities to grow and to prove themselves. That is what we are trying to do to some extent through UPSC Guide."
The Road Ahead
Abhijeet says that he is planning to add more features into the courses provided with advancement of technology like live performance tracking and need-based guidance which will make UPSC Guide courses much more impactful.
UPSC entrance examinations are the first phase of their business. In second phase Nikam OPC Pvt LTD is planning to launch guidance courses and test series for other government sector examinations like state services entrance, banking and many more.
They are aiming high for revenues as well and targeting a whopping 1500 crore revenue by the end of 2026.