"An Educational Leader's Journey Is of Passion & Purpose; Embrace the Opportunity & Make Profound Impact"
By: Vibhuti Taneja, Founder, EDceI Consulting | Tuesday, 8 August 2023
The Indian school education landscape has undergone massive evolution over the past few years. Teaching, learning and the business of education is vastly different from what it used to be couple of years ago.
Vibhuti Taneja is an education industry veteran with 15 years of experience in the industry. She is also the Founder of EDCel Consulting, an early-stage independent consulting firm for schools. Through her career journey she has assisted several school chains and learning institutes in various functions related to operations, academic and marketing and scale & expansion before she started her own independent consultancy.
Having started her career with Mothers Pride in 2008, Vibhuti quit her well established job in 2017 and started to work with educational institutions as a consultant as she wanted to provide her knowledge and utilize her experience in building more properties and bringing the best of the school chains to the ground. She has developed various education programs to provide learning and access to destitute children.
Speaking to the Women Entrepreneur India time, Vibhuti sheds light on the evolution of Indian school education and the effects of digitization on the field of learning. She also outlines the things educational institutions must be mindful of in the current scenario. Here are choice excerpts from the conversation.
Your professional journey spans across 15 years in the education sector. In your opinion how has the school education landscape in India evolving in this time?
I am a 36-year-old entrepreneur with an inherent and longstanding passion for education. I come from a family that’s highly focused on education. My parents instilled and reiterated the role of education and co-curricular activities throughout my childhood. They have been my primary inspiration and motivation for starting up in the education space.
My extensive journey in the education segment took me through several roles and experiences, but it was during my 10-year stint with Mother’s Pride and Presidium group that gained in-depth insights into the process of school development. Throughout my career, I have worked with diversified school chains like Shri Ram Global Group, Aravali International Schools, Imperio Schools, St. Xavier’s, The Learning Nest, Little Miracles, Head-start, Little Wings, and Regis Kids World as an independent consultant.
My entrepreneurial journey has been equal parts challenging and rewarding. I started EDcel with a drive and idea in place and amassed a pool of consultants and industry leaders who shared my vision to boost India’s educated population and had a knack for entrepreneurship.
Over the years I have seen the school education landscape evolve. In recent times, the school education landscape in India has been undergoing significant changes. One of the major shifts is the adoption of experiential learning as a dynamic approach to education. Moving beyond traditional teaching methods, this approach provides students with hands-on experiences to develop essential skills like critical thinking, leadership, and problem-solving abilities. The emphasis on experiential learning is seen as a way to equip students with practical skills alongside theoretical knowledge.
Technological advancements and modernization have also played a crucial role in transforming education in India. Smart classrooms are becoming more prevalent, integrating technology to enhance the learning experience. This shift has allowed for more interactive and engaging teaching methods, making education more appealing to students.
One pivotal development that has influenced the education landscape is the National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020. The NEP envisions an education system rooted in Indian ethos and aims to provide quality education to all, making India a global knowledge superpower. The policy highlights the significance of experiential learning and advocates for its integration across all levels of education. The concept of "learning by doing" has gained popularity, particularly in vocational and skill-based education.
The interest in seeking hands-on experiences and practical learning opportunities has been on the rise among students and educators alike. As a result, the Indian experiential learning market is projected to grow substantially, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.1% from 2021 to 2026.
Overall, the education landscape in India is evolving to cater to the changing needs of students and the demands of a rapidly advancing world. Experiential learning, technological integration, and the NEP's vision are driving forces behind this transformation, preparing students to become well-rounded individuals equipped with the skills necessary for their future endeavours.
What have been some of the most impactful trends that have played catalyst in the education sector’s evolution over the past few years?
Several impactful trends have played a catalyst role in the evolution of the education sector over the past few years in India. These trends are shaping the way students learn and educators teach, ensuring a more holistic and relevant education for the future generation.
Reforms in Teaching Methodologies: The shift away from traditional rote learning has been a significant trend in recent years. Instead, there is a greater emphasis on practical, activity-based, and project-based learning systems. This approach allows students to engage actively with the subject matter, promoting a deeper understanding and retention of knowledge. Additionally, education now focuses on developing creativity, critical thinking, and essential life skills among students, preparing them for real-world challenges.
Extensive Use of Technology: Technology has become an integral part of the education sector. The use of digital tools, online resources, and smart classrooms has transformed the way lessons are delivered and accessed. This integration of technology in teaching has made learning more interactive, engaging, and accessible, benefiting both students and teachers. Furthermore, the National Education Policy 2020's recommendation to provide instruction in regional languages has improved educational management and inclusivity.
Continuous Professional Development of Teachers: Recognizing the pivotal role of teachers in shaping students' futures, there has been a growing emphasis on continuous professional development for educators. Investments are being made at local and national levels to enhance teachers' skills, teaching methods, and subject matter knowledge. This helps teachers stay updated with the latest educational practices and empowers them to create dynamic and effective learning environments.
Emphasis on Skill Development: The NEP 2020 stressed the importance of skill development as an integral part of education. By promoting multidisciplinary learning and providing students with a strong foundation in technical skills, the education system aims to make students more employable and competitive in the job market. This focus on skill development is crucial for building a workforce that can contribute effectively to the economy and foster a stronger nation.
With the rise in popularity of digital mediums and the Internet, education as a whole has undergone a sea of change. Do you see the Internet as a boon or bane for the Indian schooling system and why?
The Internet has undoubtedly brought about a significant transformation in the Indian schooling system, and its impact can be viewed as both a boon and a potential bane.
Access to Information: The Internet has opened up a vast repository of information that is easily accessible to students and educators alike. It has democratized knowledge, allowing students from all corners of India to access high-quality educational resources, research materials, and online courses.
Enhanced Learning Experience: Educational technology, powered by the Internet, has revolutionized the learning experience. Interactive multimedia content, online assessments, and virtual simulations make learning engaging and effective. It enables personalized learning, catering to the diverse learning styles of students.
Global Connectivity: The Internet has connected Indian students with the global academic community. They can participate in international collaborations, engage in discussions with students from other countries, and gain exposure to diverse perspectives and cultures.
Professional Development for Teachers: The Internet has facilitated continuous professional development for teachers. They can access online workshops, training courses, and teaching resources, allowing them to upgrade their skills and stay updated with the latest pedagogical practices.
Digital Divide: Despite the increasing accessibility of the Internet, there remains a digital divide in India. Not all students have equal access to reliable internet connectivity and devices, leading to disparities in educational opportunities.
Information Overload and Misinformation: The abundance of information on the Internet can be overwhelming, making it challenging for students to discern reliable sources from misleading or false information. This can lead to misinformation and impact critical thinking.
Online Safety and Privacy Concerns: The Internet can expose students to potential risks, including online scams, cyberbullying, and privacy breaches. It is crucial for students to use the Internet mindfully and responsibly to protect their safety and data.
Distractions and Time Management: The Internet can be a source of distractions, diverting students' attention away from their studies. Social media, online gaming, and entertainment platforms can hamper students' time management and focus on academics.
Simply put, the Internet is undeniably a boon for the Indian schooling system due to its transformative potential in providing access to knowledge, enabling innovative learning experiences, and fostering global connectivity. However, it is essential to address the challenges and potential drawbacks, such as the digital divide, information overload, online safety concerns, and distractions. Responsible and mindful use of the Internet is necessary to ensure that its benefits are harnessed effectively while mitigating its potential downsides.
School education has massively evolved over the past few years. What are some pointers that you stress on while guiding educational institutions as an education consultant?
As an education consultant, when guiding educational institutions, I stress on the following key pointers:
Understanding Individual Needs: Every school is unique, with its own scale of operations and specific requirements. I emphasize the importance of thoroughly understanding each school's needs and objectives to provide tailored solutions. By taking into account the school's vision, goals, and challenges, we can offer effective guidance that aligns with their aspirations.
Continuous Guidance and Support: Educational institutions today seek comprehensive support that goes beyond one-time advice. I emphasize the value of providing end-to-end solutions that deliver continuous guidance in various areas, including operations, marketing, and development. A sustained partnership ensures long-term success and growth for the institution.
Modern Practices and Techniques: To stay relevant and competitive, schools need to adopt modern practices and techniques in their educational approach. As a consultant, I encourage schools to bridge the gap between traditional methodologies and contemporary educational opportunities. By incorporating innovative teaching methods, technology integration, and experiential learning, schools can offer a more dynamic and enriching experience to their students.
Market Research and Analysis: For newer school chains, thorough market research and analysis are essential. Understanding the target audience's preferences, local demographics, and educational demands can aid in designing effective strategies for growth and expansion. This ensures that the school is well-equipped to meet the needs of the community it serves.
Curriculum Planning and Academic Calendar: Developing a well-structured curriculum and academic calendar is crucial for educational institutions. I stress on the significance of creating a robust and comprehensive curriculum that aligns with the school's vision and fosters holistic development among students. An organized academic calendar ensures smooth operations and efficient utilization of time and resources.
Collaboration in Marketing Functions: Effective marketing plays a vital role in promoting the school and attracting students. I work closely with the school's marketing team to strategize and implement relevant marketing initiatives. This collaborative effort helps in reaching the target audience and showcasing the school's unique offerings effectively.
Continuous Improvement and Growth: As an education consultant, I advocate for continuous improvement and growth for established school chains. By identifying areas for enhancement, implementing best practices, and adopting innovative modules, schools can evolve and excel in their next phase of growth.
In your opinion, what are the most gratifying aspects of being in the field of education?
One of the most gratifying aspects of being in education is witnessing the growth and progress of students. Seeing children develop academically and as well-rounded individuals and future citizens is immensely satisfying. As a teacher, you play a significant role in shaping their minds and characters, and knowing that you are positively influencing their lives is incredibly fulfilling.
Teaching allows you to work with a diverse group of students, each with their unique backgrounds and experiences. This diversity provides opportunities for creativity in teaching methods and allows you to cater to the individual needs of each student.
As an educator, you never stop learning. Teaching provides ample opportunities to gain new knowledge, insights, and perspectives. You learn from your students, from colleagues, and through professional development opportunities. This continuous learning enriches your own understanding and keeps you intellectually engaged.
Making a positive impact on the lives of students and helping them overcome challenges brings a sense of personal fulfilment. Knowing that you are contributing to their growth, not only academically but also emotionally and socially, creates a deep sense of satisfaction and purpose in your work.
Teaching is a profession that truly makes a difference in society. Educators play a crucial role in shaping the future generation, imparting knowledge, and nurturing essential values. The impact of education extends beyond the classroom, influencing communities and contributing to the overall development of the nation.
What message would like to give out to aspiring leaders in the field of education?
Your journey as an educational leader is one of passion and purpose. Embrace this opportunity to make a profound impact. Keep students at the center of your leadership, understanding their needs and fostering their growth. Lead with empathy, collaboration, and empowerment, creating a supportive and inclusive environment. Continuously learn, stay resilient in the face of challenges, and advocate for education at all levels. With vision, strategy, and dedication, you have the power to shape lives and make a lasting positive impact on the education system and society.