Ayman Sadiq went from being a coaching centre tutor to founding The 10 Minute School to make quality education affordable and accessible. What started as an individual effort has now become Bangladesh’s biggest virtual School.
Access to education is an individual’s inherent right. It is considered a human right as It builds personality, teaches values, and helps an individual to gauge the world around them. One’s education should be adaptable, accessible, and acceptable. However, education and access to knowledge is still a privilege of elites in some developing countries. Let’s take the example of Bangladesh. Good quality higher education in Bangladesh is largely restricted to the capital city of Dhaka. Every year, the city is swamped by thousands of students who come to the city looking for coaching centres to prepare for their higher education and other competitive exams. In Dhaka, coaching classes are turning into havens for aspiring students and it promises them a competitive edge over other applicants. However, these coaching centres are highly expensive and put immense pressure on students, and constrict learning to conventional methods of teaching. But, shouldn’t everyone have access to learning without burning a hole in their pockets?
Ayman Sadiq, a resident of Dhaka witnessed this problem while he was teaching at a renowned coaching class. Ayman saw a lot of students in Bangladesh moving to Dhaka for coachings classes to get into decent colleges. However, many of them dropped out eventually because of affordability. That’s when inspiration struck Ayman. He wanted to provide a better alternative to students which would not only be affordable but also accessible from anywhere. He thought he could solve both things at a time by making learning content available online for free. Ayman Sadiq hence started making small infographics and slideshows on Slideshare and started putting it out for free. His content suddenly started gaining traction, and the demand started increasing. Hundreds of students began reading and sharing Ayman’s content online.
When Ayman started getting traction, he was approached by a group to make a video on a specific educational topic. Ayman grabbed the opportunity and produced his first educational video- “One Formula to Rule them All”. But fate had a different play as the group rejected the video. Since then, Ayman created a youtube channel of his own and randomly put out the video from his channel. The video went viral overnight, marking the inception of Ayman’s ‘1O Minute School‘, a free online education platform for students who can afford to move to Dhaka for studies economically and geographically.
Ayman started making free videos on a variety of topics of different subjects. Soon, 10 Minute School started getting attention from students all over Bangladesh. He also started approaching other coaching centre teachers and they all got together to make topic wise educational videos based on the National Curriculum of Bangladesh. As the demand for his videos started increasing, Ayman expanded his channel furthermore to include hundreds of live classes and smartbooks, video tutorials, quizzes, and other educational tools. Now, with over 40 million active users across all its channels, 10 Minute School is the largest free-learning platform of its kind in Bangladesh. It allows people to study a range of academic subjects and also teaches presentation and interview skills. They have made 13,000 videos in the last 4 years and cater to more than 350,000 students every single day. They cover the entire academic syllabus from grades 1 to 12 and also help students to prepare for competitive exams. Interestingly, they also take live video classes on Facebook and Instagram every day to have an interactive session with the participating students.
Ayman Sadiq self-funded the 10 Minute School for the first few years and later got support from telecom operator Robi Axiata Ltd and the ICT Ministry of Bangladesh. In 2017, they collaborated with the Government to make their digital content available to more than 4000 government schools in the country. Their video lessons are used by government school teachers as tools for teaching in the classroom. They also developed a business to business model where they make dedicated training apps and modules for several corporates, their biggest client being Unilever.
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The 10 Minute School project has a team of 52 students who are working relentlessly towards reaching their goals and it is the never-ending effort of this team that keeps it running. They also have a ton of interns and freelance writers from all over the country working for this initiative. Their efforts gained nationwide as well as worldwide recognition. They received the BRAC Manthan Award, YSSE Impactful Project of the Year Award, the Swiss Embassy Award for Social Impact, DYDF Award for being a Youth Icon, and the Slush Regional Winner award. Ayman Sadiq also went onto win the Queen’s Young Leaders Award 2018, got listed in the Forbes Asia Under 30, and got awarded the best e-learning award from the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance for his school.
What started as a mere thought by a concerned Bangladeshi youth has now turned into an educational revolution in the country. The 10 Minutes School plans to stay completely free for students forever and wants to reach all government schools in Bangladesh with their innovative content. Ayman has come a long way from being a tutor at a coaching class to being a flag bearer of alternative education in the world.