Be it before or during the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for an educational app that provides online pedagogy or an instructor has always been at the forefront. This goal was achieved by many such companies, launching various apps for students sitting at home in need of inexpensive good quality learning who can’t afford lavish tutors.
But one such app has made a standout from all these apps, named Filo which in the Greek language means Friend. This app has become a breakthrough since its launch, providing excellent tutors; these teachers are undergrads from prominent institutions such as IIT, NIT, AIIMS, other top science colleges, and some professionals.
The app has been designed by Imbesat Ahmad, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur; who has been teaching higher secondary kids in the conflict-ridden Kashmir and has helped 1000 plus students to enter some of the most craved and desired colleges in India as well as abroad.
While conversing with Maktoob, we asked Imbesat about how there are plenty of apps that have the same potential as Filo and what makes it completely different from those apps; Imbesat said, “ One to one video call, no other app in the country right now has this feature. All the existing solutions are either chat-based or in a portal. You can just post your query and wait for the answer. The value is that you get to talk to one of your role models, a person who is already a student of your dream college.”
The second best feature of this app is that it also works on 2g internet connection, making it more important and the precious odd one out from the existing ones.
Imbesat also told us about the recruitment process of the teachers, selecting teachers on the basis of nomination, and how in present the criterion is based. Not everyone can register themselves as a teacher on Filo. The compulsory attribute is, that the person has to be in any of the top institutions of the country such as IITs, NITs, AIIMS, or other top science colleges. Currently only such people are allowed to become a part of the teachers’ group.
When asked about the main reason which leads to the development of this app, Imbesat says, “I have met more than 10000 students in the last 5 years and I observed the problems they face particularly when they need someone to extinguish their queries in the middle of their self-study, out of their problems, I got this idea that students need real-time help and if their questions aren’t resolved, their anxiety levels pump up and they land in trouble. So that’s why I developed this app for quick help which provides a friend, hence the Greek word Filo.”
A country whose economy is in ruins, it can’t be expected that a family which can’t afford proper food and other basic amenities can provide a smartphone and an internet connection for their child who goes to a government school, such dependency on technology has created problems especially because of the pandemic when students are being asked to study at home through their androids or ios.
Imbesat told Maktoob, “That it’s unfortunate that we can’t reach everyone right now but slowly as the technology is penetrating, we are envisioning to create something for phones that only support texting and call features. But of course it will be difficult, but the main point is how this app actually works on 2g speed making it good enough for people who have slow internet connection which makes a great difference.”
Saher Hiba Khan is a freelance journalist based in New Delhi and she studies English literature at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.