Prem Kumar on How Technology Can Transform India’s Rural Education


Prem Kumar is the founder of Kalvi40, a mobile educational technology app that is transforming the way education is imparted to over 750 Government schools across 26 districts in Tamil Nadu. 

A seasoned IT delivery Manager with a career that spanned 19 years across companies like HCL and TCS, Prem Kumar took a leap of faith in creating Kalvi40 when he observed gaps in the way education was reaching school children in Tamil Nadu’s Hinterland.

With a global collaborative volunteer network which helps Kalvi40 create content for the kids, Prem Kumar today has managed to reach over 750 Government schools across 26 districts in Tamil Nadu.

Listen to Prem’s fascinating journey in this podcast where Swami delves deep into the what, why and how of Kalvi40, including:

  • How Prem was inspired to start Kalvi40
  • What made Prem take the ultimate leap of faith
  • Understanding what “rural India” really means
  • How Prem built the platform from scratch
  • Discovering the difference between Corporate Outsourcing and Social Outsourcing
  • The distinction between Purpose and Process in Social Startups
  • The challenges of running a social startup

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Anchor | Google Podcasts

Listen to the episode

Selected Links

Connect with Prem Kumar

The BumbleB Trust and Kalvi40

Government Schools in Tamil Nadu

Understanding Rural India

Jawadhu Hills

Tribal zones in Tamil Nadu

Retailers and organic farming

Single Teacher Schools

A Single Teacher School (YouTube video in Tamil)

Government Schools Infrastructure in India

Process Vs. Purpose in Social Enterprises

The Kalvi40 Volunteers Experience (YouTube video in Tamil)

Thiruvalluvar and Thirukkural

Thirukkural, Chapter 40

The United Nations Report o 1948

Personalities Mentioned

R Kannan, UN Political Leader

Kovai Sadasivam, Environmentalist

Show Notes

Prem Kumar’s Formative Years

How Prem Kumar’s childhood influenced the idea of Kalvi40

Government Schools Vs Private Schools – in the eyes of a young Prem Kumar

Have Government Schools changed in the past two decades?

Tamil Nadu Government Schools

The life of a rural school teacher

The daily journey a rural school teacher endures

Understanding Rural India

Prem Kumar and his parents influence on his life and career

What kind of infrastructure does a rural school have?

Single Teacher Schools

Prem Kumar’s groundwork with agriculture to understand the rural lifestyle

How Prem converted a hobby into a lifegoal

Biggest unlearning from being a tech leader to being a social startup founder

Team Kalvi40 and what keeps them motivated

Corporate Outsourcing Vs. Social Enterprise Outsourcing

What does Kalvi40 mean?

The Kalvi40 platform

The Kalvi40 content framework

Project Management & the Kalvi40 Global Volunteer Network

Balancing Purpose and Process in Social Enterprises

Adapting to schools with poor infrastructure

How we can support the cause of Kalvi40

Corporate support for Kalvi40

Success Stories at Kalvi40

The reach and impact Kalvi40 has had

Effort Vs. Outcome

Scaling Kalvi40 nationwide

Life as a social entrepreneur

What is success?

Best piece of advice Prem has ever recieved

Prem’s advice to corporate employees

Prem’s advice to an 18-year old at University

Prem’s dream dinner guests

What Prem believes that others seldom do

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