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Last updated: 27 Sep, 2022  

Ajay.9.thmb.jpg SMEs in private school sector facing financing challenges: Ajay Gupta

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SME Times News Bureau | 27 Sep, 2022

In an exclusive interview with SME Times, Ajay Gupta, founder of Bachpan Play Schools and Academic Height Public Schools, said that majority of the millions of SMEs that are in the private sector in India are facing lack of financing.

Excerpts of the interview…

1. Please tell our readers about your organisation and its entrepreneurial journey.

Our CEO and Founder Mr. Ajay Gupta established S.K. Educations in the year 1999 and started out in the field of computer education. While he was looking for a preschool for his daughter, he came across the unstructured preschool segment which were not up to the mark. There were no age-appropriate learning aids and no systematic curriculum. Preschools were still seen as a luxury rather than a necessity. That's when he thought of Bachpan. Our entrepreneurial journey is marked by our relentless endeavours to demonstrate preschool education as vital to the foundation of every child's learning. We also ventured into formal education with Academic Heights Public Schools (AHPS) and college education with Rishihood University. It's been an adventurous ride for us from PG (playgroup) to PG (post-graduation).

2. Please tell us about your presence in India.

We have 1100+ Bachpan Play Schools across the nation and our play school chain is continuously growing. We have 110+ Academic Heights Public Schools that are also witnessing rapid growth. Our learning technologies (like Speak-O-Kit, VR Rooms, and Robotime) and teaching methodologies make us one of the leading preschool and formal school chains in India. Mr. Ajay Gupta, co-founded Rishihood University in 2015. It strengthens our nationwide presence to a remarkable extent as we complete the educational curve for students.

3. What is the current status of the education sector in India?

We believe that the education sector in India has not evolved with time. What students were taught decades ago is still being taught in schools with minimal use of modern learning aids and methodologies. The curriculum lacks upgradation and the co-curricular activities remain fundamental. Our education system needs a complete overhaul to meet the dynamic needs of 21st-century students. The students in our country need to go beyond academics and excel in skills such as communication, public speaking, and problem-solving. They need to move with the times and be aware of the vast opportunities that the world holds for them. With our Bachpan and AHPS schools, we are endeavouring to play a major part in that overhaul and improve the current status of the education sector in India.

4. Do you think more skill training should be added to curriculum of Indian schools? What is the present status?

Education is of no use if it does not equip students with knowledge and skills that help them achieve success in their life. Skill training is necessary for those 14+ years that students invest in school learning with devotion. Skill training does not ask for a separate time slot and a lecture. It needs to be made an integral part of learning in every subject. The curriculum should be adapted and upgraded to integrate these 21st-century requirements. Innovative extra-curricular activities should be designed. What we think is the role of education is to prepare students for the future. The Indian education system needs to be made worthwhile, and it should provide students with practical and experiential learning.

5. How many SMEs are there in private education sector? Are they getting enough financing?

There are millions of SMEs in the private sector in India. They form a major portion of our nation's economy and are vital to its progress. However, the lack of financing is an issue of concern when we talk about small and medium-sized enterprises. Family and friends are the largest sources of financing and that just does not suffice if we want our SMEs to grow and develop into big enterprises that contribute greatly to our economy. We think that the government needs to devise schemes and policies and reinforce them strictly to help SMEs lay the foundation for their immense growth and potential.

6. Please share your future plans.

We want to spread premium-quality preschool and formal school education in each and every corner of the nation. We already have 1100+ Bachpan Play Schools and 110+ Academic Heights Public Schools operating on the franchise model. Marching forward, we aspire to expand our presence and make every child achieve their full potential. We aim to go global. We also aim to make our philosophy and values a key part of international standards.

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