Ronnie Screwvala: Ronnie Screwvala meets edtech founders to discuss impact of Byju’s controversy

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Upgrad founders Ronnie Screwvala and Mayank Kumar met with several edtech founders on Wednesday to discuss the impact of the Byju’s controversy on the industry. They also addressed various concerns pertaining to the edtech sector, such as coaching regulations.

The founders aimed to change the narrative around edtech, shifting it away from being seen as a ‘predatory space’ to highlighting its positive aspects, according to a founder. The founder also said, “If one has done something wrong, they should be removed but others shouldn’t pay the price for it”.

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“I think one rotten apple in India does not darken the cloud,” Screwvala, who is the executive chairman of Upgrad, said at an event on Wednesday, highlighting that the Byju’s case does not hold the whole learning, skilling, education sector to ransom.

Also read | Edtech sector needs change with frugality: Ronnie Screwvala

Bengaluru-based Byju’s has come under scrutiny from its investors and lenders for alleged corporate governance lapses. The company is currently dealing with bankruptcy proceedings.

Earlier this month, when Byju’s shareholders called an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to reorganise the company’s board and bring about leadership changes, Screwvala, being a notable critic of Byju’s, conveyed his support for this move on the microblogging platform X (formerly Twitter).

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“Hope it’s not a whiff and then whimper but they will stay the course and get this done—for the whole ecosystem! For India as an investment destination! For just credibility overall of an otherwise sunrise and sunshine sector,” he said in a post.Also read | Byju’s at war — with investors, bankruptcy

Deborah Quazzo, managing partner of edtech investor GSV Ventures, said that the edtech sector experiences fluctuating levels of profitability, making it challenging to sustain growth. But the main concern they are hearing about India pertains to transparency or governance issues, she told ET in an interview.

During the meeting, the founders also discussed the recent introduction of the ‘Guidelines for Registration and Regulation of Coaching Center 2024’, which was released by the Centre.

Several founders at the meeting expressed dissatisfaction with the decision-making process regarding the coaching age limit and guidelines. They felt that the stakeholders’ inputs were not considered, especially since the decisions directly affect them.

On January 21, ET reported that the new guidelines for coaching centres include directives such as not enrolling students under the age of 16, avoiding misleading promises, not charging exorbitant fees, prioritising students’ mental well-being, and establishing an exit policy for students who wish to discontinue a course.

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