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EdTech Startup for Indian School kids, BYJU raises $75M in funding

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screen-shot-2016-03-22-at-11-21-52-amSAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — BYJU, an educational app for Indian schoolchildren, has set its sights on revolutionizing learning formats and products after raising $75 million from Sequoia India and Sofina.

The company, founded as an online education platform in 2001, has now raised a total of $90 million in funding. BYJU launched its app just six months ago and claims it has already been downloaded 2.5 million times, and has more than 120,000 paid annual subscribers. Courses on the platform are aimed at students in grades six to 12, and supplements their regular classwork while preparing them for upcoming major exams.

Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of the company, recently told TechCrunch during a conversation that India possesses the largest K-12 education system in the world, but frequently ranks poorly in worldwide assessments of progress. He opined this is because Indian students lack access to quality educators, and are forced into a “one-size-fits-all approach,” because of the country’s high teacher-student ratio. Students spend too much time “driven by fear of exams rather than the love for learnings,” he added.

Raveendran has spent countless hours working with students, prepping and teaching them for math and entrance exams, with a true passion to transform the nature of learning worldwide. He recognized the catalyst of his mission was taking his platform mobile with the app.

“We have been a very successful offline brand, but last year we launched our first application through a mobile platform, and that has helped us leapfrog to the next level in terms of users,” he said. “We are making an impact where it matters, and how students learn in those crucial years where they start failing (in a) subject, in the 6th or 7th grades. We know we are making a much bigger impact because we are changing the way India is learning today.”

His app is adding nearly 20,000 students each month to its teaching base.

Raveendran’s ultimate goal is to create educational tools for all students, not just the extremely motivated. BYJU’s teaching methods focus on visual learning with diagrams and engaging videos which relay facts contextually so that students can see how they’re relevant to their lives. Along the way, BYJU’s learning platform analyzes how students are performing, providing them with personalized feedback and recommendations as they progress through the coursework.

“The platform adapts to the pace of learning, size of learning, and style of learning, in the sense that a student will know what to learn, when to learn, how much to learn, and how fast to learn,” Raveendran said.

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U.S. death toll from COVID-19 hits 600,000

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U.S. death toll from COVID-19 hits 600,000 | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — The U.S. has reached a grim milestone. More than 600,000 people have died from Covid-19 as officials race to vaccinate more people. But deaths have also been slowing for months because of an aggressive campaign to vaccinate the nation’s elderly and medically vulnerable people.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson just replaced an Indian American administrative law judge who ruled against the state health department in a significant abortion case. Last year, Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi turned aside Missouri’s effort to close the state’s last abortion provider, a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. Dandamudi also ruled against the state in a medical marijuana case.

And Pakistani Brit actor Riz Ahmed is forming a new coalition, pushing for more Muslim representation in media and Hollywood.  He’s partnering with several influential institutions like USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to give out financial grants and offer mentoring.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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20 dead, many injured in Pakistan bus crash

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20 dead, many injured in Pakistan bus crash | Diya TV News

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Diya TV) — A bus crammed with pilgrims coming back from a Muslim religious festival crashed in southwest Pakistan, killing at least 20 people and leaving dozens of others injured. Officials say the bus was overloaded and passengers were even traveling on the roof of the bus. The death toll is expected to increase. 

Police say man accused of killing four members of a Pakistani Canadian Muslim family targeted them for their Islamic faith. 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman is facing several murder charges for allegedly running them over in his pickup truck. Investigators say there is evidence this was premeditated and motived by hate.

Vice President Kamala Harris walked in the Capital Pride Walk and Rally in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, making history as the first sitting vice president to march in a Pride event.
The Biden-Harris administration has brought LGBTQ issues to the forefront of its agenda. One of the president’s first executive orders called for an end to discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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One in two Indian Americans have encountered racism

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Study: 1 in 2 Indian Americans report facing discrimination | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — According to a new study, Fifty percent of Indian Americans say they have encountered racism in the U.S. in the past year. Discrimination against darker-skinned people is the most common form of bias encountered and the main perpetrators are non-Indians. The study also shows Indian Americans are the second largest immigrant group in the US with more than 4 million living in the country.

Judge Zahid Quraishi has been confirmed by the US Senate, becoming the first Muslim American federal judge. Quraishi, who is of Pakistani descent, was serving as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.

Former Federal prosecutor Preet Bharara’s dinner with an author who once despised Indian food is getting a lot of likes on the internet. On twitter, Tom Nichols is finally admitting his palate is expanding and he wants more Lamb Biryani. Bharara responded on social media by saying Nichols is still getting used to the butter chicken. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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