Ed-tech controversies in the Indian market have become quite common in recent times as the industry has been observing significant growth. As a result of that, teachers and ed tech founders do everything possible to acquire more of the market share, and sometimes competitors do poaching, which creates rage and backlash on social media as it results in a direct impact on students too. In a similar controversy, physics wallah ex-teachers left PW and joined forces with Adda 247 and created their own Youtube channel called Sankalp which sparked a debate between the teachers of PW. Who is right, and Who is wrong? Let's discuss this in this blog.
What happened in the past?
In a video that went viral, former Physics Wallah teachers Tarun Kumar, Manish Dubey, and Sarvesh Dixit alleged that Physics Wallah teacher Pankaj Sijairya falsely accused them of taking Rs 5 crore from rival platform Adda247 to quit PhysicsWallah. The teachers said that they resigned from Physics Wallah because the atmosphere at the ed-tech company was no longer favourable to students. On the other hand, Physics Wallah's Pankaj Sir Chemistry and Amit Mahajan Sir accused the trio of being poached and questioned the huge transaction of crores of rupees from their bank account. The allegations and counter-allegations have been doing rounds on social media, creating confusion and anger among students.
After several allegations and counter-allegations, Sankalp Teachers finally accepted that they joined hands with rival platform Adda247. However, they made it clear that the app would not be named by Adda247 but by Sankalp Bharat. The teachers also revealed that during their meeting with the Adda247 founder, they put forward a demand to keep the app prices low. They even challenged Physics Wallah to match their pricing.
8 Critical Observations During the Controversy
The recent ed-tech controversy involving Physics Wallah and Sankalp Teachers has raised several critical observations about the Indian ed-tech market. Let's discuss it.
1. Employees never talk on the behalf of the company
It's important to note that in any company, employees should not speak on behalf of the company in public. Companies have their own spokespeople for that purpose. However, in this controversy, an employee who has a personal connection with students is speaking out, which is not a wise business decision. Teachers are being taken advantage of because of their emotional connection with the students. In this situation, it's essential for Alakh Pandey and Adda 24x7 founders to clarify the issue. If they are unwell, they can provide a written statement, but it should not be used as an excuse.
2. Change in Statements by Sankalp Teachers
Initially, Sankalp's teachers pretended to be working independently, giving hints that they would face problems because of it. However, after the controversy stretched on, they changed their stance and accepted to be working with Adda 24x7. This behaviour is troubling, and it's crucial for educators to be transparent about their business practices. Students trust their teachers, and any deception can have a significant impact on results and emotional well-being.
3. Wrong arguments from both sides
In the beginning, Pankaj Sir started making unrelated statements about why someone should work on their own if they think companies vision has changed. This is a completely wrong statement since individuals can still follow their passion even after joining someone else. But now, Sankalp teachers are also saying funny things like asking Physics wallah teachers to have the bank manager show evidence of big transactions that were made in Sankalp teachers' account. It's unlikely that any bank manager would get involved in a personal controversy, and even it's doubtful that their bank would authorize them to do so.
4. Moral ethics to keep private conversations private
While employees do share personal information with their colleagues, it does not mean that they can share it in public. Everyone has a moral standard that private conversations should be kept private, and this standard should be respected in all situations. However, Amit Mahajan crossed that line by sharing his conversation with Sankalp teachers in public with students and even asking whether he should show proof. As a teacher, failing to follow ethical and moral guidelines sets a bad example for students. It is crucial for teachers to adhere to these standards and set an example for their students to follow.
5. Using emotional levers to grow their platforms
Recently, Sankalp teachers spoke about how Alakh Sir, who claims to be a poor teacher with a low salary, just like many other teachers. However, in an article, it was revealed that Alakh Pandey actually makes a salary of 9.5 crores, which is more than what many founders of educational technology companies earn all together. It appears that they are using emotions to grow his platform, while also running a business and making a good salary.
6. Projecting Revenue sharing as something immoral
Pankaj Sir recently gave a funny analogy about a father who earns 10,000 rupees and doesn't divide it equally among his children. He said that the father would keep something for the future. However, this analogy does not apply to companies where the main stakeholders are the ones who help acquire the business. In such companies, stakeholders typically receive a share of the revenue.
Teachers are the ones who help bring in students, which is a big deal in the ed-tech businesses. If teachers are asking for a share of the revenue, it is a normal business practice and not wrong at all. They should be incentivized for their work, and if they are not receiving a share of the revenue, they have the right to join another company.
7. Freedom to Join Another Company after Fulfilling Contract Terms
In any industry, everyone has the freedom to switch jobs and join another company. However, this can only be done after fulfilling the notice period and contract terms of their current job. Once these obligations have been met, no one can accuse them of any wrongdoing if they decide to move to another company in the same industry. These accusations are being made because the teachers are being used as an emotional tool, while the founders of the company are not coming forward.
8. Personal attacks after employee leaves
Pankaj Sir made another humorous argument, suggesting that employees should wait until the CEO or someone related to the CEO gets married before leaving their job. This statement seems to be made purely to sell emotions to the students, who continue to support the teachers despite many manipulated statements being made.
Although the teachers are respected by their students, the personal attacks they are making on each other are very shameful. These short-term tactics may work for a while, but if they continue to behave in this way, students will soon lose their respect for the teachers.
As the controversy surrounding the ed-tech industry deepens, it raises an important question - what does all this mean for the students? Unfortunately, the involvement of students in the blame game and using them as a tool to generate emotions is not fair. It can create a negative impact on the students as they are the ones who ultimately suffer.
In this situation, it's crucial for teachers and ed-tech companies to resolve their issues without affecting the students' studies. It's time for everyone involved to put aside their personal interests and work towards the betterment of the students' education. After all, the students are the future of our nation, and it's important to ensure that their education is not compromised in any way. It's the responsibility of all parties involved to prioritize the students' well-being and education above everything else.