Education Stalwarts 2021 | Manas Mehrotra Trustee of Greenwood High International School, Chief Mentor of Kara4Kids | Leaders in Education

Manas Mehrotra Trustee of Greenwood High International School, Chief Mentor of Kara4Kids, one of the top Leaders in Education is with EducationToday sharing his experience.

A qualified member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, I completed Law from Mumbai and also possesses an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Babson College (USA). In the past, I have worked with E&Y (Mumbai), handling MNCs inbound and outbound tax advisory. 

I started my journey in the field of education in 2008. Coming a long way from there, I believe that there is no better learning than starting a school – from an architect’s sketch to the actual structure that stands today; building the team to the multi-talented students, everything has been a great erudition for me. When you start with 1 team member and reach to a team of 1100 members with 6000+ students of varied cultures, you can imagine the enormous gratification one gets, but it surely does not come easy.  In this fast-moving and dynamic world, you have to be on your toes if you really wish to create a name, a brand, extend high quality deliverables and then sustain it, for years and set a benchmark for the years to come. Every year there is so much to add when you match up to the global trends, foster innovation in your academic and non-academic curriculum and also the administrative process as a whole. 

The world today has entered into the digital stage, and technology has touched every part of our life. I strongly believe that a digitized education sector has the ability to transform a country through development of human resources and increased productivity. Today, the concept of digitalization has allowed the educational institutions to focus on their core expertise of imparting education. The automation of repetitive and mundane tasks such as collecting, handling, processing and tracking of fees, etc., enables your staff members to focus on more productive areas, thereby improving the quality of education. 

Leaders in Education
Manas Mehrotra Trustee of Greenwood High International School, Chief Mentor of Kara4Kids, Leaders in Education

Any change will have resistance in the beginning. People tend to be reluctant to step outside their comfort zone, resulting in stunted growth and progress. When adapting to a new technology, culture or mindset, many in my teams also feared failures and seemed reluctant to acquire new skill sets or processes. However, it’s important to understand the benefits of digital transformation in education and communicate this to your key stakeholders – the educators and the parents. Understanding and communicating value is the key to success, so prioritizing that was most essential for me. Once that is done, your battle is half won. Then to ensure a smooth and effective digital transformation, I looked for a narrow pool of talent to adopt new approaches to drive my institutions forward, fostering a culture of continuous learning within the business, upskilling my team helped me make the most of available talent.

Our traditional education system is based on the teacher taught knowledge transfer relationship. With that in the minds of all my stakeholders, the teachers and the parents, came across as a delivery challenge during the Covid times.

One thing I kept myself abreast with at all times was the fact that while the digital wave has and shall continue to radically redefine traditional learning, the institution of the teacher would always continue to remain central to any education system. I was sure to have my teachers to reach out to their students and play catalysts for converting information into knowledge. Application of academic concepts in real life situations, ensuring universal assimilation and creating a healthy and conducive learning environment though was a challenge, but with the newer technologies and a blend of the traditional methods, we could overcome most of it.

I believe that any significant change or even an internal innovation starts with the development of a strategy that not only works in principle, but everyone within the organization understands and can work towards. And for me, my teachers and parents had to be convinced and had to work in collaboration.

To create this digital transformation strategy, I was sure that as a team we need to work collaboratively, identifying our core business aims and goals, as well as the technologies, methodologies and innovations that we would need to achieve them. And as we worked on that, we created a step-by-step plan of action and communicated the same with all the key stakeholders. While the human element would remain the primary driver for inculcating values, critical thinking and life skills, the social element of an education institution has to be focused on. 

Both conventional and digital systems have their unique strengths and true progress will invariably come from constructive and collaborative approach. Teaching in the digital age not only requires the teacher to acquaint and harness modern aids, but also has to infuse age old and time-tested virtues of social, physical and mental well-being in an increasingly cluttered and a highly competitive environment. 

Ensuring the safety of students and the staff requires developing a plan with different modalities. We did a thorough risk analysis of the opportunities to improve hygiene on the measures. All our administrative staff and teachers are now trained on physical distancing, school hygiene practices and recognition of flu-like symptoms to be able to mitigate any probable risks. 

To ensure the practices adopted were in line with the need of the hour, I got my institutions evaluated and audited by the British Safety Council. I am happy to share that all my associated institutions are now BSC certified for their preparedness and safety measures for prevention of Covid-19 in our schools. 

The pandemic was undoubtedly a stressful period for parents and teachers while trying to juggle work and other responsibilities. Keeping this in mind, we opened a helpline for all to be able to speak with our psychologists and seek any help. We even had a dedicated email channel for parents, teachers to communicate and seek guidance. Workshops for teachers, parents and active social, moral and emotional discussions were promoted. We even involved our international partners to discuss these as a panel and have people speak about their mental health and well-being. 

This journey has been quite eventful and I credit my family and my team of extremely talented educators, administrators and support staff, who have stood by me as pillars of support and have been a key to make it endearing.

My institutions have been rated #1 by Times of India, Education Today, Education World, Economic Times, IDA, and various other platforms. We have international partnerships for cross cultural experiences for both teachers and children. 

I have been a humble recipient of being an Education Icon/Stalwart from Education Today (2018, 19, 20); one of the 50 Visionary Leading Icons in Education; Asia One’s 40 under most 40 influential Leaders and an active speaker at various National Level Conferences on K-12 Leadership.

I look forward to harnessing the power of technology and education to the benefit of all prospective students and learners so that they can steer themselves on the right path towards success and prosperity.

Do check out experiences shared by our top 50 leaders in education. All of the Leaders in education who have shared their experience with us have been motivating and life changing.

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