The 'Edupreneur'

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Ryan Pinto, the CEO of Ryan International Group of Institutions, talks about the pleasures and responsibilities of running and managing schools in India

* How did you become CEO of Ryan International Group of Institutions?
I want to firstly thank Jesus Christ for His blessing and for giving me the opportunity of being in education and helping to positively impact the nation. I have completed my undergraduate studies from Aston Business School and did my postgraduation from Cass Business School, London. Additionally, I have other professional qualifications form Harvard University. However, closely working with my parents and taking on responsibility with passion and commitment has really helped me fit in the role of being the CEO of the countrywide network of the Ryan International Group of Institutions.

* What skills would you say are necessary in an educational entrepreneur
Firstly, the vision and the drive to serve children. One needs to recognise that it is not just another job or career but a calling that requires a lot of commitment and sacrifice. You are not dealing with products; instead, you are building a relationship with your students, parents and co-workers. Hence your interpersonal skills play a major role. Also, as you are dealing with young children you need to be patient, willing to understand their challenges and help them overcome their shortcomings. You also need to be able to continuously upgrade and update yourself as things like technology are rapidly changing the entire learning experience.

* What are the ups and downs of being an educational entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge I face is time management, as I travel extensively due to which coordinating schedules across time zones can pose a challenge sometimes. I often feel that I practically live out of my suitcases. However, I do enjoy the travel and the biggest perk is that I regularly meet people from various backgrounds with rich experiences. This helps me keep updated with the latest trends and innovative thinking.

* What are your responsibilities at work?
At this moment my focus is on expanding our presence within India and abroad, especially the Middle East and South Asia. I’m also involved in implementing new aspects of technology both inside and outside the classroom, in order to enrich the learning experience of the students, give a greater level of connectivity amongst all the stakeholders of the school and bring in greater levels of efficiency in the administration process. Furthermore, I regularly look at opportunities of building partnerships with other educational institutions.

* What do you love most about your job?
Opportunity to be amongst the youth all the time
Seeing the transformation of children growing into young adults
Playing an important role in nation building

* How difficult is it to become an educational entrepreneur in India?
As in all sectors of the economy, education also has its challenges. Those who are attempting to enter this segment in India have to be aware that there are various issues ranging from inadequate funds, shortage of qualified and trained teachers, lack of awareness for the importance of quality education, to the usage of nonrelevant curricula and methodology and so forth. These are obvious issues and there may be other factors which contribute to the problems of Indian education, but with the promise it holds, there cannot be any problem too big to resolve, although it does require persistence and passion to follow it through and realise the potential the country holds.

* Where do you see the education industry in the next 5 years?
First, the impact and presence of technology is getting more pervasive. Interactive learning, tablet based education, etc are increasingly being adapted within the classroom. As technology gets cheaper it will increase accessibility and penetration. The overall eco-system is encouraging more entrepreneurship, especially in the support services. A number of new organisations (mostly start-ups) arecoming up which are addressing specific aspects of education. Second, the marking system, where the be-all and end-all of the examination system was marks, is slowly giving way to a more healthy assessment criterion which focuses on other intelligences. There is also a slow but sure shift to streams other than engineering and medicine, more so in urban areas.

* What can future educators do to raise the standard of Indian education?
The key points are to ensure that education becomes more engaging and relevant. Children are really eager learners. Anything that can be done to make sure that children enjoy the process of learning will transform the school experience. The problem with defining ‘standards’ is that it becomes a numbers game. We need to understand that education defines and forms the character of the children and through them the nation.

* Do you have any advice for those planning on taking up a position such as yours?
The motive for which one enters this field has to be clarified at the outset. If the motive is not clear than the entire purpose of entry into this field is in vain. The ground realities do indicate the need for more educational institutions to meet the demands of the growing population. India needs a breed of progressive leaders in education who could be the trailblazers of quality education in the country. I do believe there are many who are willing to invest in the field for various reasons, but more importantly, the aim should be of providing accessible, quality education to the youth of our nation.

“One needs to recognise that educational entrepreneurship is not just another job or career but a calling that requires a lot of commitment and sacrifice”

 

Volume 3 Issue 6