Since Covid-19 took the world by storm, virtual learning has evolved from a vague concept to a hard reality for the global education enterprises. Schools in Nepal have banked on international platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom to conduct daily lessons. At the same time, the year 2020 also shed light on some Nepali eLearning apps—one of being Neema Academy.
It’s an online portal with user-friendly interface that gives students and teachers access to countless study materials including course plans, syllabuses, chapter explanations in text and video formats, tests, quizzes, live classes and pre-made worksheets. The goal is to establish trust in eLearning by bringing quality and affordable education to all.
It all started when Neema Publication, a popular publishing house in Kathmandu, sought to digitize its products. Nischal Pradhan, the son of the publication’s owner, reached out to Neha Joshi who had experience in the digital field. The initial idea was to publish ebooks. But they soon realized digital learning provided an even bigger market, and the Neema Academy was born.
Officially launched in February 2020, courses are available from Grade I to X for now on the Play Store app. Upon its installation, users need to create an account and specify whether they’re a learner or a student.
If you’re a student, you must pick a grade and the eLearning app offers you guides on different subjects based on your year. You’ll also have access to chapter revisions, practice questions, quizzes and tests on the completion of each chapter.
If you sign up as an instructor, the app will first need to approve you. That done, aside from the same access as students, you will also be allowed to create your own syllabus and work schedules. You can invite your students into a live classroom, share your screen with them and add presentations, videos and worksheets of your own to the lessons that are already available in the app. If you don’t want to add on any pre-made lessons, a separate space will be made available to start your lessons from scratch. While this is targeted mostly at schoolteachers, it’s as useful for tutors who haven’t been able to continue their jobs during the pandemic.
Neha Joshi (co-founder, Neema Academy)
In fact, it was during the 2020 lockdown that Neema Academy achieved its biggest success, with schools signing up for the courses and independent students looking for free revision classes.
As the company plans its expansion the app will no longer be free. Starting Nepali New Year, Neema Academy will charge fees from all users across the board.
“Every content uploaded on the app is cross-checked,” says Neha Joshi, the company co-founder. “Study materials are true to the original books. And the quizzes, worksheets and video lessons that come with the purchase are made by teachers and experts in our office.” The offerings don’t end there. On the app, independent students can leave queries on subjects they’re confused about and available teachers at head office will answer them.
The courses aren’t limited to quizzes or theoretical videos. Many lessons and revision sections include image sequences, 3D and 2D cartoon videos, educational games and practice modes. “It isn’t just about establishing a good eLearning place,” Joshi shares. “We also want to make learning fun for children. Our education system relies mostly on theory memorization rather than its practice. By contrast, students of all age groups enjoy our practical methods of teaching.”
If you’re an instructor teaching many children at the same time, you can allow them to play these games or complete a worksheet and check their scores at the end to see how each is faring in the online class. The analytics section allows instructors to tailor their class according to student performances.
Joshi says most of their resources are dedicated to building a thorough guide for students appearing for SEE . “But we’re also brainstorming kindergarten courses,” she says. For +2 students, courses have been made only for Accounts and Mass Communication. As other subjects are comparatively more technical and require greater resources, Neema Academy is waiting for the right time to launch them.
In terms of prices, there are three packages on offer: a three-month package, a six-month package, and a one-year package. The prices are cheapest for students of Grade I, and increase higher up the grade level . Even though the app is no longer free, Joshi assures that it will be affordable for all.
“The content you subscribe to once will be available to you even offline,” she says. “So even if you take that phone to a rural place, you will carry our lessons with you.”
As our education will rely more and more on eLearning, our educators and publishers can be expected to create more and more learning products catered to local needs.