Srinagar: Mehreen, a 19-year-old student from a far-flung village of Tangmarg had always dreamt of being a doctor. However, her dreams of qualifying NEET received a serious jolt post abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year. Not only was her coaching center at Parraypora shut, but in the absence of the internet, she struggled with her concepts.

“COVID lockdown seemed to be the final nail in the coffin because the internet speed was too slow to avail of video lectures online. She had given up all hope when on the suggestion of a friend she installed a doubt solving app `FILO’. For her, it was a godsend opportunity and all her doubts were clarified within no time,” said Mohammad Athar, 21, an IITian who doubles up as a tutor and project coordinator in Kashmir for the application.

Similarly, Umar an 18-year-old NEET aspirant from Palhalan had lost all hope to clear the exam. While he was reasonably confident about biology and chemistry, he was unsure of qualifying Physics.

 “Twenty days before the examination, he was still at sea on how to approach the test. However, in the two weeks of tutoring and guidance, we helped him to improve his time management and focus on areas where he could score better to compensate for her weaker areas.” Athar said.

Students in Kashmir face a lot of doubts either in understanding concepts or solving questions which are not cleared in real-time because they don’t have access to teachers at home. They either have to wait for their next class or search online. Moreover, frequent lockdowns and internet slow-downs in Kashmir further affect their education.

To overcome this issue, IIT Kharagpur alumni have developed FILO, an app which enables students to get answers to any questions related to their subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Biology) in real-time from experts over a video call for free. These experts are a team of undergrads from best institutions like IITs, NITs, Medical Colleges, and some professionals.

Mohammad Athar, Faisal and Huzaib

“This app was much needed in the valley where education becomes the first casualty due to lockdowns. Also, the platform will not just assist students to score well but will also help in keeping track of progress, daily assessment, personal feedback and constant tips from toppers and motivational mentors to keep trying for better,” Athar said.

Athar is joined by two other young Kashmiri IITans, cum project coordinators — Faisal Rafiq and Huzaib-ul-Hassan — in popularizing the app to cater to a wide base of students in Kashmir.

“We are a team of three working online to develop and manage the entire supply chain of the process to give a smooth experience to all the students and tutors on the app and we are subject specialists on FILO as well. Currently, students can ask questions at any time from 10 AM to 6 PM and we will extend this timing till 10 PM from Monday onwards,” Athar said.

In the last one week,  over 500 students enrolled in the app and the majority of them are from Kashmir.

 “Till now more than 1000 questions have been asked.  Further, this app ensures complete anonymity of students and the camera from the student side remains off by default to ensure that shy students feel comfortable. It’s completely secure and encrypted with no ad in between,” he said.

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About the Author

When the world fails to make sense, Hirra Azmat seeks solace in words. Both worlds, literary and the physical lend color to her journalism.

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