Stalwarts 2022

Education Stalwarts 2022 | Reekrit Serai , Managing Director of Satluj Group of Schools | Leaders in Education

Coming from a family of educationists, I have seen my grandfather, father, mother and uncle be exceptional educationists and create a niche of their own in the education sector. My grandfather started Satluj Public School in a one room apartment with only three kids and now, the Satluj Group of Schools has 12 schools under its umbrella with over 30000 students and 700 faculty members. Satluj has come a long way, and so have I.

I have always been academically inclined and as I grew up, I wanted to incorporate my ideas on education into the system. I started off as a teacher and gradually climbed up the ladder.

I believe in perseverance, hard work, passion and innovation. As an educator, I strongly believe that we need to aspire to work on improving ourselves every day. Keeping up with the children of the current generation requires us to keep ourselves updated. There is no way education can be made fun and interesting without incorporating innovation and creativity. Learning has to be made sensible and fun for the students. Without passion and love for education, you cannot be a good educator; this thought has been my constant driving force.

Being born in a family of educationists did not mean I did not have to prove myself. I had to work my way up just like everyone else. I started my professional journey at a very young age. I had been working full-time since college. My career started off as a life insurance salesman, selling door-to-door polices and getting the door slammed on my face almost every few minutes. This experience however, taught me resilience, determination, and gave me immense courage.

I have learnt from my experiences of my early days that when you’re young, people only trust your enthusiasm and not your work ethics. It’s important to prove yourself with consistent results. I always made it a point to contribute substantially before leaving any job.

I then went on to work with industries like Media, Pharma, IT, and financial services before stepping into the Education sector as a teaching assistant. After a few years, I moved to the role of a Communications and Academics Manager, responsible for policy formulation and implementation. I was eventually appointed the Vice-Principal of one of the branches, where I was responsible for administration and academics. Today, I am the Managing Director of Satluj Group of Schools.

My journey has been roller coaster and honestly, I am glad that I had to go through the struggle as I have learnt a lot from my mistakes.

Under my leadership, Satluj has been catapulted into the Top 5 CBSE & Day/Day-Boarding Schools of India (awarded by EducationToday), Future50 Schools of India (awarded by Fortune Magazine and Univariety), felicitated at a glittering ceremony as ‘Great Place to Study’ in the world at the House of Commons (London, Uk) amongst other national and international felicitations. I have been instrumental in introducing innovative educational practices in the region, and I have been recognized by esteemed media houses for the same.

I am also the Co-Founder and Director of Rumour Books India, one of India’s largest and reputed English-language trade publishing houses; and the official publisher of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s, Mann Ki Baat. In 2013, I co-founded the Panchkula Art and Literary Festival (PALF), one of upper north India’s largest and most recognized literary and art festivals. I am currently the Co-Chair for Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Young Indians (Yi), Chandigarh region. 

Specializing in investing in and advising early and growth-stage startups, I also serve on the boards of successful EdTech (Educational Technology or EduTech), PubTech (Publishing Technology), Small-Cap and Mid-Cap companies as an Advisor; and I am a Trustee and Board Member of reputed Non-Profit organizations.
 
At Satluj, we have worked tirelessly to achieve success, and we are still growing. Satluj has made quite a revolutionary mark in the education sector with our state-of-the-art use of technology like 3D Printing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), etc. We have also conducted several outreach programs for underprivileged kids many of whom study at Satluj. Children from a local orphanage have been given opportunities to study here as well. We also have several scholarship programs for the students. Our school students and staff take active participation in maintenance of eco-sustainability around the place. We organize tours to the local old-age home and enable our students to spend some time there with the elderly.

Believing in a more practical approach towards learning, we provide each and every student with opportunities to discover their talent and enhance it. We have various activities like Applied Learning (AL), SAD (Subject Awareness Drive), CDKS (Cross Domain Knowledge Sharing) and BTCL (Beyond the Classroom Learning) to enable students to participate and learn to be street-smart. Additionally, we conduct personality development workshops, career workshops and innumerable other cultural and sports activities that enable each student to put their best foot forward. We strongly believe that that and every student is born with a talent, and we try to provide them with an environment in which they can come out of their shell and be the leader in their art. 

Given the current scenario in the education system, students are not intrinsically trained for the skills that are required to hold jobs in the future. Looking at the newer technologies like, Digitization, Artificial Intelligence and Automation makes us realize the flaws of the traditional methodologies of education. Despite various measures being taken, the implementation is often inefficient due to lack of infrastructure and adequate funds.

At our group, we have opened our doors to collaborate with like-minded edu-preneurs and make Satluj a household name with franchises of Satluj World School and Little Satluj Pre-schools. We aspire to make a revolutionary mark in the Indian education sector. As stated by Alfie Kohn, an American educationist, “The way a child learns how to make decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions.” My family, without a doubt has been my constant inspiration and support system. I have learnt how to make the impossible possible from my grandfather. My father’s passion towards his work has greatly inspired me. My mother taught me to never stop learning, while my wife has inspired me with her innovative bent of mind. My daughter teaches me every day how to make things fun and have a smile on my face even during the toughest of times. A memory I often recall is that of when my Grandfather woke me up on my 10th birthday and after wishing me, said, ‘We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.’ These words, said by Winston Churchill, and shared with me by Grandfather, have shaped my worldview.

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