NAT 200720 Team WorldClass-1596880276349
L to R : Shiyana Maxsood, Anjana Arun, Rahma Zuhair, Archana Arun and Rana Fathyma from a government school in Kerala making it to the top 8 list in an App creation contest in US. Image Credit:

Dubai: Five Indian girls from a government vocational school in the South Indian state of Kerala that was revived by Dubai philanthropists have made it to the shortlist in an international online app competition held in Seattle, USA. They created an app called WorldClass, which has secured a spot in the finals for the team.

This is the first time that students from a government school in India have been able to qualify for such a competition of this scale.

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The Government Vocational Senior Secondary school in Kozhikode was revived by Dubai-based philanthropists Faizal and Shabana Kottikolon under their charity foundation a few years ago. The Faizal and Shabana Foundation not only renovated the school, but provided state-of-the-art computer labs, nutritious food and a large playground.

The five-member team of Rahma Zuhair, Rana Fathyma, Shiyana Maxsood, Archana Arun and Anjana Arun studying in grade 12 at the Government Vocational Senior Secondary School, Nadakavvu, Kozhikode, were shortlisted out of 23 internationally competing teams. The girls could have travelled to participate in person, but owing to the pandemic and lockdown, they managed their entries online.

About the app

WorldClass was created by the group and it seeks to connect students across boundaries and help them share and learn from each other. Speaking to Gulf News, Zuhair, one of the team members, said: “This app will provide students around the globe to have a safe and secure meeting place, with areas of their choice to discuss, live video conferencing and study materials too. Bypassing racial and cultural divides, World Class will connect students internationally and provide a digital platform for healthy exchange of ideas, dialogue and allow sharing of study resources and technology.”

Providing more details about the app, Maxsood, another team member added: “We developed World Class as part of the TYE [The Young Entrepreneurs] development programme, which is part of the The Inidus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Kerala. TiE Young Entrepreneurs is a Global programme aimed at fostering the future generation of entrepreneurs; with focus on teaching entrepreneurship to high school students and helping them discover the rewards and challenges of becoming an industry leader.”

Fathyma, another participant team member, said: “We received training from the best of the industry mentors arranged by TiE since September 2019. When we were asked for developing an idea we realised there was no app only for students to connect and hence WorldClass,” she said.

Family support

The girls are grateful for the support extended by their parents in their journey. Anjana and Archana Arun, two more team members said: “We were lucky to have supportive parents who let us work on our idea. The school was our meeting place and all of us were careful and we got ample support from our teachers and mentors, Shaju sir and Roshan Ma’am.”

Once the app actually wins the competition, the organisers will finance its creation. The team worked out its financials and presented to the organisers. The creation and development will involve steep costs — $91,500 (Dh335,805), HR costs $24,000 and other costs that totalled to $19,500. But the advantage of the app is principles are high scalability, high performance, high flexibility, open source and high availability, they explained. “It will be available on android and iOS. We will be making both the app and mobile app simultaneously.” said Maxsood.

After making it to the top 8 list, the girls are hopeful of winning the contest. “It’s an honour to be shortlisted as we are representing every girl and government schools across India. There are various cash awards and we want to start our company soon,” Zuhair said.