The central teacher eligibility test (CTET) was started in 2011 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development for aspiring school teachers (from grade 1 to 8). While 7.76 lakh candidates appeared for CTET in July this year, only11 per cent cleared the test though this was the highest pass percentage recorded since the test was introduced. For Noida-based Grabaims, which offers test preparation for 'teacher eligibility test' at the national as well as state level, this is a clear market opportunity.
The startup, which was set up following a casual discussion between Samyak Mittal (founder) and his mother on the quality of candidates coming in for government teachers' jobs, offers test preparation for CTET, as well as TET for states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Mittal tied up with Neeti Jain, an academician, to start Grabaims in May this year. While Mittal holds a bachelor's degree in Chemistry from St Stephen's College, Delhi University, Neeti holds MA and M Phil degrees in Humanities from MDS University, Ajmer. She has also taught under-graduate students Hindi and middle and primary school students Mathematics, Hindi and Sanskrit.
"While CTET is mandatory for aspiring school teachers for central government-run schools, lately even private schools have been adopting it as a benchmark as there is no existing standard for measuring teachers' eligibility," Mittal said.
The startup provides practice tests, test preparation study material, individual guidance and mentoring to the users. The initial sign-up and a practice test are free but post that users have to purchase the package which, including study materials, individual guidance, subject-wise tests and full-syllabus tests, is available for Rs 1,950.
"While teaching as a career is a priority for many, with centralised entrance tests, better candidates would come in if entry barriers are high," Mittal said.
Going ahead, the startup is also looking at adding more professional test preparation courses like JEE or CAT to its menu.
For content, Grabaims depends on freelancers as well affiliations with teachers. Mittal's paternal grandfather, who is also a government school teacher, looks after the content part through association with contributors. But to ensure quality, the firm conducts feedback surveys with candidates and makes sure that only qualified teachers contribute to the content. "Only teachers who have been teaching at government schools and who have cleared CTET in the past are chosen to partner for the content," Mittal said.
Traction and targets
"We started in May and we have seen two rounds of CTET so far and a round of Tamil Nadu TET and Andhra Pradesh TET each. Of the people who visit the site, around 15-20 per cent sign up and of that 3-4 per cent buy the package," Mittal said.
Bootstrapped till now, the company is looking to reach a certain scale before it starts venturing out to raise funds. "We have our own targets in terms of sales, traffic and engagement, and once we achieve those, we would look for investment," he said.
One such target for Grabaims is to get 10,000 sign-ups in a single quarter. And since the company caters to only one exam as of now, that may prove to be a challenge. However, it is trying to add more state-level tests to its kitty in the near future.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)