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Micropayments and Unbundled Courses: An Untapped Market

Debasri Rakshit
Director of Operations and Strategy - Spark.Live
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I studied at a university where the course fee was 950 INR a year. Unimaginable, right? With that education, I’ve worked in multinationals, travelled across continents, and am now part of a start-up that is trying to democratise education for all.

Quality education does not need to be expensive - and especially so in a country like ours.

That’s why we price our classes low, starting from Rs 49 going up to Rs 499 on an average. Because that's the sweet spot for the average Indian consumer dipping into a vocational skill that will give their life and career a boost and catapult them to a lifestyle that is better than their parents’ or grandparents’.

The 32-year-old woman from Nagpur who was working as a cook in a middle-class home can now open her own catering business selling pizzas and burgers; the 22-year-old boy from Raigarh who was dabbling in photography can now become a professional freelance graphic designer. Talents can be channelled and micro-entrepreneurs created if we impart education in a language that the lay person understands. No complex university-like courses, no long-term programmes, no unaffordable semesters. Because most vocational training is done by those who can spare intermittent time from their existing employments.

And not just the local Indian, the Indian diaspora living in South Korea, the US or the Middle East yearn for the flavours of their local language and find it easier to connect with trainers who they can ask a question in Malayalam or in Hindi. Bengalis from the UK join in on a class on Art, while Tamil users from Sri Lanka participate in Tailoring and Embroidery courses.

Whether it’s Digital Marketing or Interior Designing, starting a Mehndi Business or Teaching Zumba, short unbundled courses can give one’s career a boost like nothing else. The teachers are well experienced, give regular assignments to students, and are available for queries and doubts in intimate groups that encourage dialogue. We, on the other hand, organise Challenges on the Spark.Live App that students can submit entries for to showcase what they’ve learnt. The lessons are, therefore, fun to do and students get hooked to more and more classes, attending on an average one live class a week. A number of classes are given for free as well, so users can get a taste of our platform.

UPI has democratised payments in India like nothing else before it. Of the 2.3B monthly UPI transactions, the average ticket size per transaction is about 220 INR. Among the Next Half Billion users, it is under 50 INR.

It is time for us to democratise vocational learning for all - learning that gives jobs and is imparted in a format that stimulates the brain, compelling it to ask questions in a language it can grasp and play with. Short, affordable, vernacular courses can be the only future of education.


Debasri Rakshit
Debasri Rakshit
Director of Operations and Strategy - Spark.Live
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