Masai School: A start-up revolutionising tech education in India
With its unique education model, the Masai School believes in the outcome-based skilling of students and therefore imparts practical knowledge to them. The start-up aims to defy the set rules of education and bring out the best in its students.
Neil Banerjee April 20, 2023
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Imagine a school that’s breaking barriers and paving the way for a new kind of skilling, one that’s not tied to the traditional education systems and gives students the freedom to pay after their courses have been completed. That’s exactly what the Masai School, India’s leading outcome-based skilling institute, has set out to do. Drawing inspiration from the Maasai Mara tribe in Kenya, known for their fearless bravery and unique fashion sense, the Masai School is all about helping students to bridge the gap in India’s tech industry. Instead of the usual classroom lectures, the Masai School’s approach is focused on hands-on learning and practical experience.
SME Futures spoke to Prateek Shukla, the Co-founder and CEO of the Masai School on how the school is acting as a crucible of progress for the new generation of India by putting more stress on learning and on recognising the value of practical skills. He also explains how these skills are imparted to the students and talks about the nuances in the study structure that they follow.
Vision and Initial Challenges
The Masai School has successfully placed over 3,000 students with another 6,500+ currently enrolled across different programmes.
“We started with the vision to train anyone in software development, no matter what their educational background was. The main challenge for us at the beginning was to find the right pedagogy to accomplish this feat. With the help of the feedback loop between industry experts and our team at the time, we were able to create the structures that have helped us to meet our vision,” Shukla reminisces.
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One of the significant challenges faced by the programme is to change the hiring policies of companies, which typically hire based on degrees rather than skills. The programme has been successful in convincing some of the largest multinational corporations in the world to undertake their hirings based on skills, and this has been one of their significant achievements.
“The other challenge for us has been changing the view of companies to look at our graduates’ skills and not hire based on degrees. What we have found is that most companies who have tried one graduate from our school, have come back and hired more engineers. For size, around 70 per cent of the companies that have hired 1 Masai student, come back to us with their hiring mandate. Changing degree requirements policies in some of the biggest MNCs in the world to hire based on skills has been one of our biggest achievements,” he asserts.
The Masai School has gained prominence in the Indian jobtech industry for its unique pay-after-placement model. Unlike in the traditional education programmes, the students at the Masai School study with zero upfront fees and only pay for their learning if they get a job of Rs 5LPA or more after the completion of their courses. Shukla believes that the pay-after-placement model is beneficial for students from diverse backgrounds who can realise their true career potentials without shouldering a huge financial burden. It is creating a level playing field for aspirants by making white-collar jobs in tech accessible to them, he says.
According to Shukla, “If at all any student does not get placed through Masai within one year of studying, the student need not pay Masai, and learning becomes free for him/her.” This approach of making education outcome-based is ground-breaking and has helped the Masai School to become a pioneer in the jobtech space. It also helps students to not worry about loans and tuition fees at the start of their schooling and gives them the freedom to pay only when they are capable enough to do so — when they get a Rs 5 LPA job.
Testing students’ aptitudes
Their selection of students is purely merit based. For this, the Masal School Aptitude Test (MSAT) is taken by the students, which, like any other entrance exam, measures a student’s ability to solve problems, digest and apply information, learn new skills, and think critically.
“The purpose of MSAT is to test a student’s basic aptitude for learning programming and understanding basic mathematical problems. Masai programmes cover a lot of ground in a short period of time by following the principle of mastery-based progression (MBP). It is imperative for students to implement what is taught in order to plunge into a successful career through Masai’s outcome-driven career school. There are three layers of teaching which include in-house trainers (who are aligned to our pedagogy), IA (who help our students to learn in smaller cohorts) and peer learning (where smaller groups study and support each other in a structured manner),” Shukla explains.
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The mastery-based progression (MBP) principle, which also known as competency-based learning, is like a framework or structure that is made to help students to learn, assess, evaluate and progress based on the demonstration of the skills that they have learned and to check whether they are able to effectively apply them. This model extensively focuses on building a student’s proficiency. This is further evaluated through an assessment tool called Rubric.
“Regular unit evaluations and projects help us to understand where a student stands and we also create revision modules post course completion for students so that they can continue to be on top of their learnings,” says Shukla.
Partnerships and collaborations
“We collaborate with multiple partners which include companies, colleges and governments. We have obviously partnered with the National Skill Development Corporation to create a framework for skill training in India but in addition to this, we are also associated with the Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation to provide digital skilling courses,” Shukla elaborates.
Recently, the Masai School has also tied up with the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission, where they will be working with them on their new initiative called “Women @ Work Initiative”.
“In additional to these, we are associated with various colleges that have taken our help in conducting multiple webinars and seminars dedicated towards skill- development. In the last 6 months, we have launched Program’d by Masai which provides white label skilling and upskilling solutions to companies. Various start-ups and MNCs have created custom batches through this,” he adds.
The Masai School, through its various efforts aims to underscore the importance of a collaborative ecosystem that brings together companies, governments, and educational institutions to create a more skilled and diverse workforce for the future. Through their diverse network of partners and their innovative programs, the Masai School is playing a crucial role in creating opportunities for individuals to gain the skills that they need to succeed in today’s economy.
The road ahead
In a world where the traditional education systems are failing to provide the necessary skills for today’s dynamic job market, the Masai School is pioneering a new way of learning that is focused on job-readiness and outcome-based education. Through its unique pay-after-placement model and industry-focused curriculum, the Masai School is bridging the gap between the highly skilled talent and the employers in India’s tech ecosystem.
“With a placement rate of close to 94% and partnerships with over 2500+ hiring partners, the Masai School is setting the standard for jobtech platforms in India. By providing students with access to ongoing mentorships, networking opportunities, and career resources, we are not only preparing them for success in their first job but are also empowering them to build sustainable careers in the ever-evolving tech industry,” Shukla avers.
The Masai School’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity, along with its focus on continuous learning and adaptability, makes it a leading force in the arena of education and skilling in India.