Hey folks!

India’s maths teachers are in trouble. Thanks to a recent study by Ei, an EdTech company, which has revealed that most school maths teachers across the country struggle with basic equations.

For context, Ei conducted a skill assessment test for about 1,300 teachers to check how well they understood basic concepts like ratio, proportions, algebra and logical reasoning. And guess what they found out?

While, just a quarter of them could answer 25% of all the questions correctly, a whopping majority or three fourth of these teachers struggled to give right answers to 50% of the questions.

That’s not even the worst part because 80% of these teachers were Indian.

Now sure, you can’t paint all school maths teachers with the same brush because this survey represents a very tiny percentage, even less than 0.5% of all school maths teachers in the country.

But it could still be a subtle clue that the Indian education system is based on memorising or cramming up concepts rather than actually understanding the basics. And this is exactly what gets passed on as generations stack up. The end result is that we end up applying nothing we learn in school to real life situations and lose our ability to creatively solve problems.

Funnily, this week a Jefferies report pointed out that the average Indian spends twice as much on a wedding as compared to on education. Seems like the perfect timing for us to think about bringing a change in our education system, no?

Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵

Khudi by The Local Train

You can thank our reader Harsh Bafna for this lovely rec.

A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀

Pizzas winning against burgers?

Burger chains are feeling the heat!

According to an industry report by Prabhudas Lilladher, while pizza joints in India have doubled since 2020, burger spots have only grown by 50%. So, what’s cooking, you ask?

Burger chains were thriving until the first half of FY24. But recently, competition from local burger joints like Burger Singh, Burgrill and Hello Burger has eaten into the demand for global chains like McDonald’s and Burger King. These local folks have been able to offer exciting new flavours at cheaper prices, thanks to lower development costs and local supply chains. This made it tough for burger chains to grow, allowing pizza chains to easily overtake them.

But here's the thing. Not too long ago, pizza chains faced a similar challenge. Regional and gourmet players grabbed nearly a third of the Indian pizza market. Chains like Domino’s responded by halving prices, expanding their gourmet range and focusing on faster deliveries, helping the pizza business thrive and expand.

So the burger industry might have to adopt similar strategies or rather, go the pizza way if it wants to challenge its regional rivals. But will these moves end up squeezing their profits? We’ll have to wait and see.


The rise and rise of AC prices

AC (Air Conditioner) prices have skyrocketed and could climb even higher. Thinking of buying one? It might cost you more than ever. So, what’s going on?

See, India has witnessed scorching summer temperatures this year. And more people rushed to buy ACs. As the demand rose, manufacturers found it hard to keep up and they had to quickly meet this surge with new stocks. But the “Make in India”-led import restrictions on ACs and parts, translated into a shortage of components too. And that meant that sellers were short of nearly 5,00,000 ACs or lost close to ₹1,500 crores worth of business.

The only way to bridge the gap was to transport stocks from southern regions where temperatures are slowly getting better. This naturally increases their input and transportation costs. And the end result is that AC prices are up by at least 6% compared to last year.

But that’s not the end of it. AC prices might rise even further due to another problem — AC capacities.

About 80% of residential ACs in India operate efficiently only at temperatures of 35℃ or lower. But with temperatures soaring 4-6℃ higher this year, many households struggled to keep their homes cool.

And that has nudged manufacturers like Voltas, Daikin and Godrej Appliances to invest in technology and create ACs that can handle temperatures as high as 50℃ in India. The high-grade compressors these models need could push costs up by another 5-10% in the future.

So, whether you own an AC or not, prices are rising. With your AC running at only 60% efficiency due to the extreme heat, you’ll face higher electricity bills and regular maintenance costs. In short, AC prices are heating up, just like the weather.

Jargon of the day ✏️

This Day in Financial History 📜

26th of June, 1974 ― A barcode gets scanned for the first time

On this day, exactly 50 years ago, a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum became the first product ever to be scanned with a UPC (Universal Product Code) barcode at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio. But the journey to creating and popularising this shopping revolution wasn’t as easy as scanning a barcode itself.

Nearly 25 years before the barcode came into existence, a stressed supermarket manager requested the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia to come up with a way of getting shoppers through his store more quickly. Although the institute paid no heed, the idea interested Joe Woodland, who was an alumnus turned inventor.

One day, after a couple of years of brainstorming about how to go about it, Woodland literally drew four lines on sand while sitting along the beachside. Apparently, it was a design he created, inspired by the Morse Code (a code used to communicate with dots and dashes). He then imagined using thick and thin lines in concentric circles to modify it. That got him to then file for a patent, which only got approved in 1952. But it wasn't until lasers and affordable computers emerged that his idea could become reality.

But the adoption of barcodes wasn’t smooth even after the first barcode was scanned. Some people thought the lines and numbers went against their religious beliefs because they seemed to look like a "mark of the beast,". On the other hand, others protested against barcodes believing that they would let stores cheat customers. That meant that only 1% of stores in the US adopted barcodes by the late 1970s. But with awareness, the use of barcode slowly inched up too.

Today, barcodes are scanned 10 billion times a day or what translates into more than 1,15,000 scans per second across the world.

So yeah, from a sandy sketch to simplifying everything from retail to logistics, the barcode has come a long way. Who knew a pack of chewing gum could make history?

Readers Recommend 🗒️

This week our reader Harshit Nayyar recommends reading How Big Things Get Done by Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner.

The book tells you why some of the biggest projects in history succeeded and why the seemingly simpler ones failed.

Thanks for this interesting rec Harshit!

Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩

It’s time to announce the winner of our previous weekly quiz. And the winner is…🥁

Winoi Dorai! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch. And for the rest of you, we’ve moved the quiz to our weekly wrapup. So make sure you answer all the questions correctly and tune in here next week to check if you got lucky.

That’s it from us this week. We’ll see you next Sunday.

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