Hometechnology News

    Padma awardee and Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu has one big problem with Indian education, here's what it is...

    Padma awardee and Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu has one big problem with Indian education, here's what it is...

    Padma awardee and Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu has one big problem with Indian education, here's what it is...
    Profile image

    By Jude Sannith   IST (Updated)

    Mini

    Days after being named as a recipient of the Padma Shri award, in the trade and industry category, the Zoho CEO can't help but admit that he feels, well, quite shy.

    Anyone who has met Zoho co-founder and CEO, Sridhar Vembu, will testify to his general shyness. But it's a character trait that takes a backseat in conversation on technology, rural development and education. Days after being named as a recipient of the Padma Shri award, in the trade and industry category, the Zoho CEO can't help but admit that he feels, well, quite shy.
    "I didn’t seek out the award, and I have a complicated feeling about it," says Vembu, speaking exclusively to CNBCTV18.com, "I wouldn’t be where I am today without my country, and I am doing all I can to give back to India. I feel a responsibility to give back to society. But I accepted the award because of what it means to my employees, many of whom live and work in villages. It’s great validation for my team."
    The last five years have seen Sridhar Vembu take the Zoho story to the rural heartland of South India. From setting up development centres in a small-town like Tenkasi, to hiring talent from villages like Thanjavur and Erode, the Zoho story has become synonymous with rural India's growth trajectory. And if making rural India a top-notch job market was one part of his mission, the Aatmanirbhar Bharat call is another cause Vembu identifies with just as much. But the Zoho boss believes a bottom-up approach is the need of the hour.
    'Grade-focused education is the bane of our academic system'
    "No doubt, Aatmanirbhar Bharat has emphasised the need to be self-reliant particularly in the context of technology, but I think corporate India needs to appreciate the importance of being self-reliant in terms of technology know-how," he says, "The need of the hour is to inculcate a spirit that lets boys and girls want to get familiar with knowing how an electric fan or a motorcycle works. This is what needs to be instilled at the school level instead of endless exams and grades."
    Sridhar Vembu.
    Vembu adds, "We are focused on grades and that is the bane of our education today. We are wasting human hours and talent in the endless pursuit of grades, and the onus also lies on the private sector to change this, since it determines how candidates are hired."
    Founded by Vembu and Tony Thomas among others, in 1996, Zoho was initially set up in Pleasanton, California, before the company became, for all practical purposes, a Chennai-based firm in 2009. By this time, it had registered as Zoho Corp.
    Going head-to-head with Microsoft
    Today, there’s a Zoho software product to rival offerings from big names like Microsoft. Zoho Meetings has taken on the likes of MS Teams and Zoom, while Zoho Books has attained popularity ever since the GST regime came to be. In the light of recent privacy concerns surrounding WhatsApp, Zoho launched Arattai, as an alternative, Indian-made messaging platform. Zoho’s next big products though, Vembu believes, could come from India’s rural heartland.
    "We have already opened 15 rural offices in towns like Tenkasi. By this year, we will have 25 to 30 in rural centres all over the South," says Vembu, "In five years, 50 percent of our employees will work from smaller rural centres. So, we want to keep people rooted to their towns and villages, and provide world class jobs in these places."
    Check out our in-depth Market Coverage, Business News & get real-time Stock Market Updates on CNBC-TV18. Also, Watch our channels CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz and CNBC Bajar Live on-the-go!
    arrow down

      Most Read

      Market Movers

      View All
      CompanyPriceChng%Chng