Ajay Gupta is a serial entrepreneur having 34 years of business experience in diverse segments like Education, Edtech, Retail, Healthcare and Multimedia. He is the Founder CEO of leading educational brands—Bachpan play school (in the pre-primary segment having 1200 schools PAN India) and Academic Heights Public School (in the formal school segment having 110 schools PAN India). Interestingly, they don’t have their own play and formal school as they work on FOFO (Franchise owned Franchise Operated) Model. He is also the co-founder of Rishihood University at Sonepat Delhi NCR. He has created a technical arm-Prismart that meets 21st century educational and edutainment needs of children in K-12 segment with digital home and classroom-based learning solutions. Apart from this, he is also a Business Coach and Writer by passion.
What are the steps your schools are taking to complement NEP 2020?
To complement NEP 2020, Academic Heights Public Schools (AHPS) are taking steps like designing curricular and pedagogical structure as (5+3+3+4) for replacing 10+2 system; introduction of vocational education; Reforms in our existing assessment system; building equitable and inclusive education for socially and economically disadvantaged segments; Teacher training programs so that teaching and learning involves multilingualism (relatable language of instruction i.e. mother tongue/regional language) and teachers learn new ways of building foundational literacy and numeracy in children. Additionally, we are planning to add Grade 1 and 2 in Bachpan schools by mapping curriculum and associating them with formal schools.
What are the changes, do you think have taken place on the academic and operational side of school after the pandemic?
After the pandemic, our teachers, students and administrative staff are more prepared and feel empowered. We have recommended our Bachpan and Academic Heights Public Schools to accept the new Phygital (physical +digital) world and they continue to evolve and adapt with change. We strongly believe that technology is the future and operations must involve digital component wherever feasible. In academics ratio of 80-20 can work for digital and physical schooling. In administration, increasing role of Enterprise resource software (ERP) and digital safety tools in security have made operations easier with combination of manpower and technology to the tune of 50-50.
What are the benefits of digital media during online classes?
Digital media has undoubtedly empowered and facilitated our school leaders to provide uninterrupted learning to our students through online classes. Teaching and learning has become more interactive on digital platforms and given easy-to-use tools to engage students for their holistic development. Flexibility of these modes enable teachers to impart structured and integrated learning experience, share subject related videos, day-to-day assignments and projects. Digital media is not only a bridge between teacher and learner but also a great source of information and edutainment. Students feel free to discuss queries in the class and able to openly interact with teacher.
What initiatives did your prestigious schools carry out to enhance teaching training to deal with learning in the new normal?
Bachpan and Academic Heights Public School time to time organize online and offline teacher training programs to create awareness and give them new insights on the new normal. After pandemic, these knowledge sessions have transformed in webinars and online workshops to groom teachers on latest in education with technology. We believe in futuristic education and conduct these trainings in association with leading academicians, subject matter experts and educationists. Teachers get the required academic guidance and are encouraged to participate and discuss the challenges faced in teaching and learning process, prepared to conduct online events and workshops for parents confidently.
What are the long-term objectives that you have planned for your schools?
Our long term objectives include good quality education and holistic development of children. At Bachpan, all efforts aim at children’s physical growth, mental development and making them formal school ready with technology in education.
However, in AHPS, larger vision is to teach life (providing experiential learning, teaching values, life skills and providing platform to showcase talent) to students and make them future ready before they step in the university segment. Traditionally career goals were made after class 12th or even after pressure from peers & family. We have bigger responsibility to help our students in filtering their early career goals.