Mr. Naveen Gupta took up the mantle of leading the IEC Group. Throughout he has been a business leader extraordinaire. Born in a Business Class family Mr. Naveen Gupta aspired to surpass the achievement of his father, whom he idolizes. “My father is a self-made, highly motivated personality. I definitely want to scale more heights than him in business. He has given me a launch-pad and now it up to me to soar high and add new dimensions to the existing business. He began his stint with strong commitment to quest for excellence in the field of education. As an alumnus of St. Stephens, he values what he has learnt.
The group was built on the simple vision “Foundation of VALUES”. The venture was started with Software Development projects, IT Services, and promotion of Export of Computer Software. As Wordsworth has said, “Child is the Father of the Man” it is on the foundation early in life, that a human being builds his future. The Group under the patronage of Mr. Naveen Gupta is dedicated to build society intelligent, informed, socially responsible and well-groomed citizens by imparting quality education early in life.
IEC Group has made significant contribution in the field of Education for almost 3 decades and has established professional institutions of higher learning that reflects the efforts to disseminate modern education through the latest techniques and methodologies. The company is listed in Bombay Stock Exchange and various other regional exchanges. In sync with the vision and considering the expansive set-up of Indian Education Industry, the promoters have decided to spread its identity further by entering into the role of providing education from KG to PG which would encompass Vocational Education, Engineering and Management Colleges, obtaining University status, e-learning, and various other education related activities to imbibe complete education services.
“SUCCESS MANTRA – ABILITY TO MEET CHALLENGES HEAD-ON”
Over the years Mr. Naveen Gupta has received many honors and accolades, which he believes are recognitions for each person who has contributed to IEC. He firmly believes that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things and the key to this is to create highly charges teams of employees. He takes personal interest in developing teams and team leaders. He also invests quality time for Leadership Development Programs in IEC.
Ques 1: Kindly tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?
Ans. It has been now three decades of working in the Education sector and I feel this is one of the happiest and most progressive sectors to work in. India holds an important place in the global education industry. The country has more than 1.4 million schools with over 227 million students enrolled and more than 36,000 higher education institutes. India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world. However, there is still a lot of potential for further development in the education system. India has become the second largest market for e-learning after the US. The sector is currently pegged at US$ 2-3 billion, and is expected to touch US$ 40 billion by 2017. The distance education market in India is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 34 per cent during 2013-14 to 2017-18. Moreover, the aim of the government to raise its current gross enrolment ratio to 30 per cent by 2020 will also boost the growth of the distance education in India. The education sector in India is poised to witness major growth in the years to come as India will have world’s largest tertiary-age population and second largest graduate talent pipeline globally by the end of 2020. Currently, higher education contributes 59.7 per cent of the market size, school education 38.1 per cent, pre-school segment 1.6 per cent, and technology and multi-media the remaining 0.6 per cent. Higher education system in India has undergone rapid expansion. Currently, India’s higher education system is the largest in the world enrolling over 70 million students while in less than two decades, India has managed to create additional capacity for over 40 million students. At present, higher education sector witnesses spending of over INR 46,200 crore (US$ 6.93 billion), and it is expected to grow at an average annual rate of over 18 per cent to reach INR 232,500 crore (US$ 34.87 billion) in next 10 years. Education sector has seen a host of reforms and improved financial outlays in recent years that could possibly transform the country into a knowledge haven. With human resource increasingly gaining significance in the overall development of the country, development of education infrastructure is expected to remain the key focus in the current decade. In this scenario, infrastructure investment in the education sector is likely to see a considerable increase in the current decade.
Ques 2: What are significant challenges that you are facing in bringing out the real vision of the Organization?
Ans. Bringing individuals together in a workplace and getting them to work together as an effective team is a challenge. Developing and deploying talent is another major challenge in bringing out the real vision. In a business, it’s difficult or impossible to agree on strategic or even tactical decisions if everyone in the business owners, managers, family members, employee are not all headed in the same direction, toward the same mission and vision. If a family, a business, or a team doesn’t have a common direction, mission, vision and core values arguments will occur surrounding nearly every decision and agreements may be impossible. Developing shared mission, vision and values is the first step in laying a foundation for making strategic and tactical decisions that will move the business forward. Having them in place won’t eliminate arguments and disagreements, but at least the disagreement will be about how to best get to the same endpoint as opposed to heading in opposite directions.
Ques 3: Tell us about some of your experiences and how does your curriculum ensure the best practices of the industry?
Ans. Our curriculum is designed and reviewed keeping in mind the demands of the Industry. Not only the curriculum but also the teaching practices are aligned to make the students industry ready. The faculty undertakes the following to prepare the students for the industry: Seminars, Tutorials, Research Seminars, Exercise classes or courses, Workshops, Laboratory teaching, Work based practices, conducting re-searches for relevant materials on-line, conducts increasingly complex even if small scale research, Research and write papers, reports. They help the students to develop professional portfolios, fieldwork reports and make them industry ready. We try our best that the course is given a practical angle—to apply the theory onto practice is what IEC aims at. It goes without saying that almost any form of assessment can have a diagnostic function for both lecturer and student. By seeing what has not been achieved with little effort, what is excellent and so on, both the teacher and the person taught know where more work is required. All the above-mentioned needs a lot of patience to practice and apply—this is my personal experience of three decades in the Education Industry
Ques 4: What goals do you have in your mind for IEC?
Ans. The focus of IEC is to create prepared minds, and research and development is a great way to enrich the education of future engineers. IEC will see that the greater focus for a student is on career development also. The preparation of the mind of the students to be successful in the corporate sector is the immediate goal and will take the center stage. I see that it becomes even more urgent in an economy where unemployment is high and everyone is seeking to improve their economic situation. If the individuals i.e. our students are prepared—these minds will convert the innovations created by engineers and scientists into economic prosperity. If aspiring students know that the Institution where they are studying is innovation and entrepreneurship they would not only come to study in our colleges and universities but would stay to develop new businesses and enrich us all with their talent and industry.
Ques 5: There have been talks of IEC Group of Institutions having very different plans of delivering educational expertise to every aspirant, kindly elaborate on it more?
Ans. IEC has always been innovative—we are planning to bring the following in the main-stream teaching and learning pedagogy:
- Online Platform- Blended learning, either video or instructor based or a combination of both
- Case study methodology
- Simple language, easy to understand
- Resource based learning- students given access to lots of additional reading material, guides and e-books
- Access to virtual lab
- Live chat with instructors/mentors, students can contact mentors by email, skype and other platforms to discuss assignments and doubts
- E-paathshala which is already in place and helps the students to re-call lectures if he/she is absent and get in touch with the subject teacher
Ques 6: How do you plan to build a positive school culture or climate in IEC?
Ans. The following is extremely necessary to build a positive school culture or climate in IEC—apart from ambience and good infrastructure:
- Foster the emotional connections and relationships within your class. Create opportunities to be physical proximity to your students and for students to work closely with one another. Give students opportunities to engage in positive interactions with each other.
- Engage in social conversation. Let students know you are genuinely interested in them and care about them. Keep track of what they tell you so you can refer to them later and even integrate them into lessons. Take time to listen when your students share their concerns or tell you something exciting that happened to them.
- Enjoy time with students. Let students know you enjoy being with them. Share in fun, relaxing moments with students. Join in discussions with them. Find ways to integrate these into your classroom activities.
- Communicate genuine optimism. We must let the students know what your expectations are from them and that you are confident in their abilities to successfully meet these expectations. Give your students genuine praise and acknowledge their contributions.
- Respect begets respect. Be polite and respectful in your interactions with all students. Students turn off quickly if they sense even a tiny bit of disrespect. Make sure your tone and body language are positive and consistent with your words. Use a warm and calm voice when talking with or addressing students. Use their names. Try to make eye contact with each student repeatedly during class. Teach and model the importance of civility, helping others, listening, and giving constructive feedback, etc. so that your students can use these strategies in interactions with their peers.
Ques 7: What is your philosophy of leadership? How would you describe your leadership style?
Ans. I believe that leadership is a privilege. It is a privilege that carries with it responsibility to inspire others and to direct them to attain the vision and goals of an organization. I believe in Leadership by example. I welcome opportunities to work side by side with employees throughout the organization. I enjoy working on projects with staff, but also realize that each one of us have unique roles in the organization that are not interchangeable. I encourage creativity, freedom of action and innovation as long as they are consistent with the mission and values of the organization. I believe that I have a responsibility to recognize and reward contributions throughout the organization. The more often i can say “good job”, the more good jobs will be accomplished. I want every department in the organization to feel proud of what they do, understand how their job contributes to the overall organization and feel in some way they too can provide leadership.
Ques 8: What would be your ideal school environment, and how would you encourage that kind of culture?
Ans. My ideal school environment would include:
- Making the students learn in small groups.
- Democratic characteristics: Students are involved in the day-to- day management of the school through mutual students + teachers Parliament and committees.
- Open characteristics: Students may select their curriculum, including free hours; topic based learning centers (math, language, history, art, music) where students may study at their own pace through access to books and materials, with assistance from a teacher when they get “stuck” or require guidance.
- Learning is personalized by a variety of criteria: Personalized learning is likely the future, but for now the onus for routing students is almost entirely on the shoulders of the classroom teacher. This makes personalization—and even consistent differentiation—a challenge. One response is to personalize learning—to whatever extent you plan for—by a variety of criteria—not just assessment results or reading level, but interest, readiness-for- content, and others as well.
- Assessment is persistent, authentic, transparent, and never punitive Assessment is just an (often ham-fisted) attempt to get at what a learner understands. The more infrequent, clinical, murky, or threatening it is, the more you’re going to separate the “good students” from the “good thinkers.” And the “clinical” idea has less to do with the format of the test, and more to do with the tone and emotion of the classroom in general. Why are students being tested? What’s in it for them, and their future opportunities to improve? And feedback is quick even when the “grading” may not be.
- Criteria for success is balanced and transparent: Students should not have to guess what “success” in a highly-effective classroom looks like. It should also not be entirely weighted on “participation,” assessment results, attitude, or other individual factors, but rather meaningfully melted into a cohesive framework that makes sense—not to you, your colleagues, or the expert book on your shelf, but the students themselves.
- Learning habits are constantly modeled: Cognitive, meta-cognitive, and behavioral “good stuff” is constantly modeled. Curiosity, persistence, flexibility, priority, creativity, collaboration, revision, and even the classic Habits of Mind are all great places to start. So often what students learn from those around them is less directly didactic, and more indirect and observational.
- There are constant opportunities for practice: Old thinking is revisited. Old errors are reflected on. Complex ideas are re-approached from new angles. Divergent concepts are contrasted. Bloom’s taxonomy is constantly traveled up and down, from the simple to the complex in an effort to maximize a student’s opportunities to learn—and demonstrate understanding—of content.