Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. B.P. Gupta is currently the Chairman of Turnaround Educational and Consultancy Services, Hoshiarpur. He has done B.Tech, MBA, and Ph.D. and holds more than 20 years of teaching and training experience. He is fond of cooking, poetry writing and photography.
Dr. Gupta has worked as Director Management Education, CT Group of Institutions, Jalandhar; Deputy Director, AIMT, Ambala City; Vice Principal, LIM, Phagwara; Director & Principal, RBIM, Hoshiarpur; Head Takshashila, Trident Ltd. Barnala.
Dr. Gupta has conducted Training on Leadership Skills, Communication Skills, Creativity, and Innovation at Mahavir Spinning Mills, Hoshiarpur, SEL India Limited at Rahon, Oswal Woolen Mills, and Trident Limited, Barnala, EH1 Infotech Mohali. He has also attended many conferences and seminars and been a visiting and guest faculty at various business schools.
Tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?
I’ve been in the industry education for about 21 years. The education industry is the backbone of any developed nation. If India needs to develop, they should promote the education industry much more. As far as my experience is concerned, everything was going well before 2011, I loved this education industry as students were also very responsive. After 2011, due to government policies, the education standards have come down. I don’t know much about other states, but if I talk about Punjab, the primary education is in shambles as far as government schools are concerned. If primary education is in shambles, then the backbone is not strong. It’s not helping the cause of education as far as Punjab is concerned and we know that what kind of problems we are facing here. After 2011, it has not been really satisfying to work in the education sector. I tried to change my organization also but it did not work because of how we view education as a whole. Today, learning is missing from education. Though qualifications are increasing, a lot of certifications are there but learning is missing, the real education is missing.
We are becoming literate, we know how to read and write but are not becoming educated. Awareness, understanding and especially when we talk about moral education, social skills, general social behavior, it is totally absent from education today. One of the reasons behind this is that parenting level has come down. Today, parents are not guides to the child. In our times, our parents used to be a lot more aware. Today, parents are not giving much time to the children, they put all the responsibilities towards the school. If you look at the school, they are more into focusing on activities and other such things but they are not focused on learning. There are no reading competitions, no reading seminars, no reading classes and there is no promotion of reading activities.
If we talk about learning, learning is basically through two inputs: listening and reading. Writing and speaking are outputs of these two inputs. At input level, we have failed somehow at the education level. Though, this needs to be looked at by the government. If we look at the budgets also, education doesn’t have much budget. Although some private sector organizations have very good schools, universities, and institutes. They are doing very well but we are far behind.
Dr. Gupta’s philosophy of leadership
Leadership is not bossism. A leader today is more of a facilitator giving freedom to the team and developing the team and looking after the emotions of the team also. I think a leader has to be emotionally very intelligent. A leader should be able to handhold, guide, experiment and take risks himself and show the way to the team. As far is my leadership style is concerned, I’m more of a participative sort of leadership. I take a lot of risks and experimentation is also my leadership style. Those who have worked with me have possibly learned a lot.
Dr. Gupta on his journey so far as he has been a part of Management Team of many big Institutions in India and has now moved into Startup world and running an Educational Service and Consultancy Services
As far as my startup is concerned, it is a 3 or 4-month old baby. Yes, the initial stage is always tough. Sometimes there a lot of butterflies in the stomach also because of finances and because you don’t get the clients easily. The day I decided to stop doing a job, and I resigned and got relieved, I slept very well. It was like that I don’t have to report anybody, there is no boss and responsibilities. I slept very well and woke up at 5 in the morning and took a cycle ride. I enjoyed my ride and from that day onwards, I have been very happy, I do what I want to do and I’m getting a lot of support from my friends and well-wishers. The journey is quite satisfying from the angle.
As far as finances are concerned, the trend is towards the increasing line. There are challenges like to be persistent and to be patient, to build a collaboration, build a team and to behave in a very patient manner. We should not be in a hurry to succeed. We should not run after everybody for our success. We should identify who our well-wishers are and who can really support us. We should not demand support from everybody. It will not come as everybody is not capable to provide it. I’m enjoying my life now and I don’t need anybody’s permission to sit.
Goals in your mind for TURNAROUND Tutorials for the next few years
The first and foremost goal is that it should be a good brand with quality in mind. The motto is that “money should not be a barrier to education”. We are already floating some scholarships for the needy students. If somebody is fatherless or parentless, we are providing 15% scholarship. Even if somebody is needy and talented, we have told our people that they can bring him/her to us and we are not going to say to him/her. We have a project with Vardhaman, I have taught the kids there for almost free of cost. In the coming 5 or 6 years, I’m looking at opening up some school or facility for downtrodden people and provide them free education if I can provide it. I don’t look at turnaround into a university or something like that, my goal is to provide education to the people who want to get educated. This is one thing in my mind at the point of time but obviously, your goals keep on changing with time.
Suggestions to the current youth and the aspiring students
For youth, experiencing is very important. Today, if you look at the youth, they don’t have common experiences of life. They don’t come out of their houses, they don’t go to the playgrounds, they don’t live in the hostels. They are not street-smart. Parenting is one issue regarding this as parents put their children into a cocoon, they don’t let them fly. It is very important for the youth to observe what is happening around the world.
The youth don’t read newspapers much, don’t read many books. If you look at the successful people like Sundar Pichai or anybody, the success comes for those who read a lot. Without reading, I don’t know how they can come to know about what is happening in the world, what are the other people doing and what are the experiences of other people. Without experience, they will not be able to learn common experiences and develop themselves. That is a common problem and it leads to other problems like drug addiction and other such things.