Education For A Better India
We should not let our vision end at the horizon. We need to look beyond. The vision to the horizon is visible to everyone
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Prashant Jain talks about his tenure in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), New Delhi and how his forum in EO helped him realise his dream of bringing the best education in the country to reality.
Successful entrepreneurs are those who set the trends instead of following them. We are generally enamoured with what is happening around us. Many times we do this just because we think it must be a profitable business since everyone is doing it. But this “herd mentality” may not take us anywhere. We need to take the road not taken, thereby becoming pioneers and gaining the first-movers’ advantage.
In 2000, as part of our family business, we thought of venturing into education. We studied the education landscape that was present in the country and also in the developed world. The easiest path to take would have been to replicate any of the successful models. But then these institutions were built in the past for the present, and we were building an institution in the present for the future.
We should not let our vision end at the horizon. We need to look beyond. The vision to the horizon is visible to everyone. If one needs to really excel and be highly successful, one needs to think beyond the obvious. This will bring new ideas and innovation. This is the only way for the world to develop further. If all of the scientists and technologists were contained in their vision for what is available, new inventions would never have occurred.
Since we decided to build something for the future, we had to think about how the world would evolve in the future. The rapid pace of development is bringing in new requirements and knowledge is getting obsolete. In our lives, we have seen technological innovations that last only a few years. With this in mind, the task was to design an educational system that prepared students for jobs that don’t exist today.
“Disruption” is a buzzword these days. Yes, one must challenge the status quo and look for innovative ideas that can provide better solutions. That is how we take mankind forward. Being disruptive gives an entrepreneur a competitive edge over his peers. Having said that, one does not have to be disruptive just for the sake of being disruptive. It should provide a better solution.
In our study, we found that the school education landscape in the country was derived by the Victorian system of education that we got as a legacy of 200 years of British rule. The education system propagates the mentality that “one size fits all,” although in reality, every child is wired differently. Hence, we developed an education model that was “student centric” and not “teacher centric.”
We have discussed the importance of treading a new path, having a vision and having a disruptive idea. When we are captivated by an idea, we always think with a mental state of sitting “inside” the idea, and at times, we get carried away. Before moving forward, we need to do some sincere research and brainstorming. This must be done both inwards and outwards. And then we must detach ourselves from the idea and determine from the “outside” whether it really makes sense or not.
While we were studying the education model, we visited many institutions in India and abroad, and we spoke to many educationists, mentors and thinkers about the future of education. We were able to discuss such topics with some very thoughtful brains, some of who joined us as advisors.
You need to have a strong conviction, as during the entrepreneurial journey, one will face many distractions and hindrances, as well as experience times when one may become unsure of the success. During such testing times, it is important to stay firm and believe in oneself. This came to me naturally, as I have been a part of a dynamic mentorship program offered through EO. I have participated as a mentor to a fellow peer, as well as learnt the nuances of how other entrepreneurs or mentors think and manage their businesses.
The Entrepreneur’s Organization is now an integral part of my life. Listening to influential people has many times given me the ratification I needed. And the single most “value add” that I have received from EO has been my forum. Forum is a close group of local peers where support is prevalent and confidentiality is paramount. I can share all of my vulnerabilities as an entrepreneur openly and always without the fear of being judged. As a business owner, that’s invaluable.
Prashant Jain is the Promoter of Pathways World Schools, as well as a member leader of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s New Delhi Chapter.
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