Hey Byju's, thank you but no thank you!

So the people at Byju's have sent us a mail telling us of Jaden's score in some test they conducted at his school. Now they are saying we (Alphy and me) have a free consultation opportunity based on the test scores. The lure is a promise of Jaden excelling at school work. They are even throwing in the customary Indian bait of an IITian mentor (what could be worse, eh? ) to do the guiding.

So why are we not biting Byju's bait like probably scores of Indian parents?

One, we know the research on what makes kids excel. Here it is. The key is to get parental aspirations in line with realistic expectations. In other words don't set the bar too high or too low. Two, we are mostly insulated from the desire to display our kids' success as an outcome of our super parenting skills. Sure, we are delighted when they do well, but that's no reason to go tom-toming about it. Plus what if they fail? Should we curl ourselves up into a corner? Three, we believe its a tad bit early to do the assessment stuff. What the kids are good at, and what they naturally take to can be arrived at in good time. For now its about pursuing their natural talents, and of course we can our do our bit to condition them to stuff like self-discipline. The IITian mentor can wait, and so can the intrusive tracking.

As with pricey cars and fancy houses, successful kids too make for great social display. There's nothing more satisfying to countless parents than to get their kids to rake in the grades, crack the exams, and traipse into the IITs and IIMs. The Byju's indulgence for parents is ultimately a means to such ends.

Thankfully for now, we haven't yet succumbed.  


Benosh Haris said…
I think I understand what you are gunning at. See, more than 2 decades back, there was a similar con doing its rounds.

It went like this…

There would be a person going to the schools and asking the children to fill out an aptitude form, which was to create content for a magazine that covered domains that were left out in the school curriculum but required for the children to be future ready.

The school heads would happily oblige as the process was for increasing general awareness among the students through a magazine that covered science, personal development, and a positive outlook.

What the magazine wanted was the addresses of the students for marketing from the aptitude surveys and had nothing to do with content creation. Content creation was independent and safe with a knowledge Czar.

With the address and the phone number, the parents were targeted with a promise that reading the magazine would lead the child to the next level of future preparedness leaving all the other junior Johns behind.

There also used to a quiz show by these guys at the schools which was telecast on TV where a highly fired up guy who was looked upon by the children with awe and respect would give pointers on what future holds and the kids and their parents who watch the program on TV would feel… Hey, we must join in or my offspring would be left out…

So the marketing drive was dependent partly on pester power from the kids and part fueling * I want a super kid syndrome* of the parents

Nothing has changed.. Just the medium and the marketing budget. Well, 2 decades back, an IITian had better jobs to do or would take the first flight out post-college than giving Gyan to gullible parents.

The earlier mentioned company did not take off, Byju has.… Hopefully, it stays a Unicorn.Hard job, but yes… possible…
Ray Titus said…
Hi Benosh, thank you for your comment. Now why does that story ring quite a familiar bell? That aside, here's where I agree and disagree. First the agreement. The tactics used by the company to build a target group database is of course part of their marketing efforts. Legitimate to do that under the guise of an aptitude form and a quiz program? Now that's debatable. Here's where I disagree. I don't believe either company was or is doing a con job. Both genuinely believe/d there are knowledge gaps they can fill for school going students. As a parent I may not agree, but that's no reason to say the companies in question are duping gullible students/parents. In the end remember, buyers always a choice. To buy in, or not to. If they do buy in, see the acts of selling and buying as perfectly legitimate transaction entered into by two parties based on free will! There's no con in that!

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