It is said that the best teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.
Shan Haider, a resident of New York and Istanbul, and Founder of teacher-focused HRtech startup Teacherix, is well aware of this. As a language teacher, Shan travelled around the world, across North America and Asia, between 2010 and 2015 and soon realised the shortage of trained teachers.
He began “placing teachers” for foreign and local schools in Istanbul in 2015, and soon realised that this idea could be scaled globally if he used tech to match a teacher’s ability with a school’s requirements.
After four years in Turkey, he moved to New York in 2019 and set up an office there. SaaS platform Teacherix now uses an innovative discovery, analytics and machine-learning platform developed in-house to search for and recruit teachers for schools and other educational institutes across the world.
“Simply put, my company helps schools connect with teachers globally,” Shan says.
How Teacherix works
The HRtech startup aims to foster a community of learners through high-quality international education by providing schools with qualified educators.
The human-run and monitored platform uses AI to qualify teachers for three sensitivities – social, cultural, and religious sensitivities – and places them by geographical demand.
The platform can be used by teachers and schools. Teachers can create a profile, browse job offers, select and apply to relevant positions, get interviewed, and – if selected – sign a contract for a school year. They also pay an amount, which is refunded if the company does not find them a position in 120 days.
“We place teachers with international schools globally, covering all subjects but with a focus on language teachers such as ESL (English as a second language) and other subjects,” Shan says. “Once a match is done, we contact the teacher for interview arrangements with the school.”
Teacherix’s first customer was an international K-12 school in Turkey, which wanted to hire 65 teachers from English-speaking countries. In five years, the company claims to have placed several thousand teachers.
Schools need to create a profile, pay the one-time joining fee of $650, post and publish all vacancies, use the filter-and-match technology to choose candidates, conduct interviews, shortlist candidates, and issue job offers. The portal also draws necessary details from schools’ HR management systems.
The bootstrapped startup claims to screen, vet, interview, and qualify candidates, and present only the right match with regards to qualifications, experience, and sensitivities. It also offers internships and scholarships to students.
The focus on India
According to the Learning Policy Institute, the US had a shortage of 110,000 teachers in 2016. Similarly in India, the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) and Child Rights and You (CRY) say there is a shortage of half a million teachers across the country. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh alone account for 4.2 lakh vacancies.
Teacherix is now eyeing India, which has thousands of private schools that need to hire qualified educators every year to meet the growing demand.
“Our services not only help K-12 schools, but also language academies across the country. Indian teachers are trained for many curriculums, including the popular IB curriculum. Many want to teach abroad for a couple of years to gain international experience, and then join Indian schools at a much higher pay scale,” Shan says.
Teacherix’s business model relies on the recruitment fee paid by schools/companies after successfully hiring educators. “We also offer consulting and teacher training packages to educators interested in improving their career progress,” Shan says.
The startup, which has just started business in India, does not wish to divulge either the numbers registered on the platform or revenues. “We are hoping to see the numbers increase by 2022,” Shan says.
Eyeing a bright future
India’s education sector offers a great opportunity, with approximately 29 percent of the country’s population in the age group of 0 to 14 years. The higher education segment is expected to increase to $35.03 billion by 2025.
According to IBEF, “India has over 250 million school-going students, more than any other country. It also has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world.”
Aware of the potential, Teacherix is in the process of developing AI-powered analytics that will enhance its teacher assessment process and help deal with increasing recruitment requests.
Teacherix competes with all recruitment platforms, and specifically with Bengaluru-based Job2Teach and Toronto based Teachaway. But there’s a differentiator, Shan says.
“Most websites only offer profile creation and job postings for teachers. We’re the first to develop assessment analytics that matches a teacher with a suitable region based on social and religious sensitivities,” Shan says.
Teacherix is seeking investors to take the platform to the next level, with Shan stating that “if everything goes right, we can build a business worth $100 million in revenues within the next three to four years”.
Shan adds that passion, perseverance, and hard work can help overcome any obstacles. “We went from Istanbul to New York, and are now a global platform.”