The 21st century places an emphasis on children to have a strong education base that equips them with the abilities and expertise needed to flourish in a world that is changing rapidly and becoming more complex. Along with literacy of the regular education curriculum, the capacity for critical thought, problem-solving, and teamwork, are all components essential for a strong education.
For children to learn and develop the aforementioned qualities, it is recommended for them to start as early as possible to polish their talents at a good school that offers a secure and caring atmosphere. Without this grounding, students could encounter adversities while adjusting to new technology, compete in the global workforce, and understand the social and political challenges of the day.
With a sincere desire to give every child a solid foundation, Tijay Gupta, provides facilities for children that prepares them for the evolving dynamics of the contemporary world as Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Bachpan Play Schools.
Tijay demonstrates sheer tenacity to bridge the gap between students and high-quality education, resulting in futuristic learning objectives.
To know more about Tijay’s pursuit to enhance the modern pedagogical scenario of India, The Education View had a brief interview with him.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Please tell us about the inception story of your Edupreneur journey.
I belong to a family of entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurship came naturally to me. What transformed me from an entrepreneur to an edupreneur, however, was my deep desire to provide every kid with a strong foundation that prepared them for the changing dynamics of the 21st century. That’s how the journey of Bachpan Play School started in 2004. When we came across disorganisation and obsoleteness in the context of preschool curriculum, books, teaching methods, learning aids, uniforms, and such, in addition to a lack of awareness about the vital role of preschool education, the inception of Bachpan seemed inevitable. The journey of Bachpan is all about bridging the gap, as most meaningful journeys are.
Tell us about the school’s mission, vision, and core values.
Bachpan Play School was founded with the vision of imparting high-quality preschool education to every kid in the country. We envision futuristic learning outcomes for kids which would help them stay advanced in making their way to success. We aim to create more and more technological tools for making our vision come true and facilitate learning for kids. Our Speak-O-Kit, Robotime, Virtual Reality, and Smart Classes are efforts in this direction, and then there is our 360° Support App too. Bachpan greatly values the qualities of commitment, innovation, and excellence. We make sure that all Bachpan schools and students imbibe these qualities.
Being a prominent Edupreneur, what significant contribution have you made in education space for societal upliftment?
We make ultra-advanced learning technologies like Speak-O-Kit (a set of talking pens and talking books which is based on nanotechnology) available at very affordable prices in all our Bachpan Play Schools. We design school uniforms, books, and admission kits as well as Speak-O-Kit in-house to ensure that the best of every school-related need is available to all kids in the best quality at minimum prices. This initiative helps us contribute to the educational space by making education accessible and inclusive. We are also working on making our Bachpan Play Schools disabled-friendly so as to provide equal opportunities for one and all.
What challenges did you face in your Edupreneur journey, and how did you overcome them?
Every new journey is marked with challenges. While making a mark on the preschool education segment with our Bachpan Play School chain, challenges were both internal and external. Building a highly dedicated team that indulged in research and development from scratch—from working on the integrated curriculum to establishing a wide franchise network to keeping everything ready for every kind of corporate support (academic, training, marketing, and more), was not easy. There were challenges, but our relentless commitment to quality education helped us overcome them. We succeeded in making the general public aware of the significance of a preschool for a child’s best future. Our innovative learning methods and technologies had a significant role to play in that.
Being an influential Edupreneur, how do you ensure that educational space copes with emerging technologies?
The best thing is that technology is an integral part of our learning ecosystem at Bachpan Play School. So, there is nothing like ‘coping with emerging technologies’ for us. Rather, we embrace emerging technologies and keep moving with the times as advanced as ever. Virtual Reality, for example, was not used much in education earlier, but it has begun to be used now by many prestigious national and international schools. Not only at our Bachpan Play Schools but also at our Academic Heights Public Schools, we have been making complete use of this technology to increase learning outcomes in students. And we have been using Virtual Reality for years now. Our distinctive learning tool—Speak-O-Kit—is also based on technology. That said, we are receptive as ever to creating and adopting new technologies
Despite all challenges, what are the major factors that keep motivating you towards success, and how does it inspire the students for their bright future?
Generally, I would say that playing my part in our country’s progress keeps me motivated to achieve success. While that is obviously true, I do not think that there is only one factor or some ‘major factors’ for our motivation. There have to be many different little things to help us stay motivated. For me, that would be rising up early on time with determination, seeing the curious smiles on our students’ faces, coming up with new ideas and executing them successfully, meeting like-minded edupreneurs, and constantly upgrading our educational methods and endeavours. If I say it in one line, perhaps it would be my never-fading enthusiasm for life that keeps me motivated for success. I recognise that for every person, there is a different inspiration. But first, I believe ‘never-fading enthusiasm’ is needed to get that inspiration for a bright future. Our schools aim to cultivate that enthusiasm in children.
As an influential Edupreneur, what do you think are the skills that the school and colleges should incorporate in the upcoming generation of youth?
The future is going to be dynamic. So many dynamic changes have already taken place in just a few decades which hadn’t taken place in centuries! So, we may only wonder what the future holds for us. The best we can do is to predict the requirements of the future and also be instrumental in creating that. I think our students need to develop skills that help them do this for themselves. 21st-century skills need to equip students with future readiness. Problem-solving skills, communication skills, financial skills, decision-making skills, creative thinking skills, entrepreneurial skills, and social skills are all a part of the revolution that our education system needs to accept with optimism.
How do you meet the emerging needs of the youth?
Continuous research and development are our mantra for meeting the new needs of the new generation. We invest in researching new pedagogy and curriculum, new learning technologies, and new ‘everything’ that can ensure the best learning experience for our students. We come up with interesting extracurricular activities that help them develop 21st-century skills. We come up with innovative teaching-learning methods that help them develop their knowledge base in the best way. At Academic Heights Public Schools, we have even launched contemporary programs like Decode Startups and Knowledge Exchange Program for students. Moving with the times is how we meet the emerging needs of students.
Please mention your major achievements, accolades, and recognitions, so far.
I have been a speaker/panellist at major events like Global K-12 Summit, Brainfeed’s National Conference on Teaching, Learning, and Leadership, Education Excellence Conclave, Education Leadership Summit & Awards, ELDROK India K-12 Summit 2022, International Education Conclave 2022, 3rd EduLeaders Summit 2022, Zee TV Education Sammelan, and India Digital Learning Virtual Summit 2022 among many others.
Recently, I was awarded the prestigious IDA Grand Jury Award for Education 2022 in the category ‘Leader with a Heart in Early Childhood Learning’. Also, I was the recipient of BW’s 40 Under 40 Award in 2020.
Being an influential Edupreneur, what would be your advice for the future Edupreneur?
Entrepreneurship is all about taking calculated risks and innovating competitively, no matter the field. There might come a time when you might even think about what’s next because you already would have upgraded yourself to the very best. But believe me, innovation is never-ending, and we can only strive towards perfection. There is a big, a vast ocean of opportunities and innovative possibilities out there for you. Go and never stop exploring what suits you best.
How do you envision the future endeavour of the education space?
Digitalisation is going to revolutionise the whole educational space. The countless ways in which digitalisation can bring about a transformation in our education system are overwhelming, to say the least. When I envision the future, nearly every child has access to educational opportunities. There is rich diversity and inclusivity besides unity in classrooms. Technology, rather than distancing us from nature, would bring us closer to it. It will also permeate every aspect of life, and yet students will not lose touch with traditions. That’s how I envision the future educational space for students.