One of the key trends to emerge in 2020 is the changing role of Teachers. Fighting the health crisis of COVID-19, teachers and educators are tasked with the responsibility to ensure that education is not interrupted despite the challenges around us. Incidentally, the changing role of the teacher is intrinsically linked to the next big trend of 2020- the emergence of hybrid home-schooling. “After the initial resistance, teachers and parents are unconsciously beginning to place a structure to home-schooling. The benefits will begin to show in some months as the dust settles on the pandemic”, says Prajodh Rajan, Co-founder and Group CEO, EuroKids International.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the near-total closures of schools, universities, and colleges. Most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread. To adapt to the changes COVID-19 has brought about to economies and people’s lives, some changes would be essential in India’s education system for today’s and future students.
Firstly, with a rapidly changing world, education must move away from rote-learning of dated concepts and evolve towards the holistic development of children by providing them with exposure to myriad experiences at schools. This change will help children comprehend their inherent strengths, discover their likes and preferences, and enhance their abilities for the future. Second, we must move from being focused on inputs to staying focused on outcomes. This will enable us to find out if children are learning as an outcome of going to schools. “While school infrastructure, number of teachers are essential as inputs, ultimately we need to measure whether children are learning inside the classrooms. Also the New Education Policy announced after 34 years has many steps in the positive direction, that are expected to transform the Indian education system,” says Prajodh.
Giving Traditional Education a Twist
Aspiring to offer students a joyful learning experience, EuroKids International has been offering a classroom structure that combines traditional education with a digital medium. It helped them to seamlessly transition from a physical classroom to a digital environment with minimal glitches when the lockdown was announced. Receiving extraordinary support from their teachers and parents who adapted to the ‘New Normal’ quickly, EuroKids received successful integration in the student and parent’s feedback, which helped them to a great extent. “We also worked closely with our parent community to ensure that children were able to reconnect with their classmates and teachers as soon as possible, through digital channels. So even as there were learnings, there were rewards in terms of designing a wholesome experience that made learning fun and enjoyable”, adds Prajodh.
Adopting a CHILD FIRST policy, EuroKids International thinks, plans, and does everything with this guiding principle at all times. This very ideology is what differentiates EuroKids from others, leading them to innovate and upgrade their student’s learning experience. “Our team of experts has dedicated years towards understanding the needs of young children and have refined the delivery of curriculum at our pre-schools, to make it new-age and engaging. Our curriculum – Eunoia, which is in its seventh upgrade has been carefully curated keeping in mind practices such as Attention, Resilience, and Kindness that will form the basis of a strong foundation to imbibe 21st-century skills” quips Prajodh.
Partnering with leading international certification agencies to co-create Safety Protocols for Pre-Schools and ensuring the same was applied at their centres, EuroKids was the first to take up this kind of initiative, which has kept them ahead of the curve and competition.
Transforming from a children’s book publishing company into an education company focused on early childhood education and K-12 education, EuroKids faced significant challenges in the initial years. One was to create a sense of awareness for the benefit of a structured pre-schooling experience for the child and to show parents how child-centric all their efforts are. Prajodh says, “Back in the day, most parents were comfortable sending their child to the nearest pre-school or the most popular pre-school in the vicinity. However, as we spread our network of pre-schools, we had to put in a lot of effort and resources towards presenting our pre-schools to parents. Soon, most parents started to realise the benefits of high-quality early childhood education at EuroKids.”
EuroKids has been continuously evolving its identity and experience to provide both the children and parents an excellent pre-school experience. In this journey, they were fortunate to find people who were equally passionate to partner along with them as EuroKids Franchise Partners. Currently working with more than 1,000 partners across India, EuroKids has people in their organisation who are aligned to their mission of providing a nurturing environment for children, thereby aiding the cause of learning.
A journey filled with learning and unlearning, Prajodh faced a lot of challenges at each stage in setting up and managing operations. “One of the most significant challenges we faced was at the onset to create a sense of awareness for the benefits of a structured pre-schooling experience. In the early years when we were growing, partner selection was not stringent as today, and we arrived at it only after learning from our mistakes in the selection of partners we have made. Also, the most unexpected lesson is leading to growth has been the fact that we will be successful only if our franchise partners are successful first”, opines Prajodh.
A Family of Passionate Educators
Coming from a family of educators, Prajodh is highly passionate and committed to the cause of reinventing education in the Pre-school and K12 Education space in India. A management graduate from the University of Madras, he is a first-generation entrepreneur who is genuinely interested in science, technology, and passionate about learning and spreading the joy of learning to young children. Being brought up in an environment where the value of education was most pronounced, and the profession of teaching was looked up as a service to humanity, Prajodh has carried some of those values as he built EuroKids, including a strong work ethic which he gets from his parents.
There is no one right way to get inspiration. It is profoundly personal and derives from what is important to and what drives you. But no matter where you find it, it is often an integral part of what keeps you going when times get tough. Though Prajodh has been inspired by many, one name that stands out is his grandfather, K. M. Mammen. “He was a social worker and he, along with few friends, founded an orphanage, school and vocational training centre in Kerala. The institution till today serves as a beacon of hope for many young children who without the care, security and help would have been otherwise severely disadvantaged. His dedication towards his cause has always been an inspiration for me”, says Prajodh.
Starting their journey in early childhood education in 2001 with just 2 pre-schools in Mumbai, Prajodh has crossed many milestones and taken significant steps towards making EuroKids the top pre-schooling partner for many young parents. “When we started, the idea was to create a fun learning experience for young learners with our ‘Child First’ philosophy. A pre-school is the child’s first experience away from home, it was, therefore, essential to create a nurturing home-like environment for the child, wherein this transition between home and pre-school is made comfortable”, opines Prajodh.
EuroKids tried to bring science and learning with developmental milestones in the early years. Learning that went beyond the regular alphabets or counting, it was about allowing young learners to explore more and have fun with the structured and multi-exposure curriculum. 0-5 years are critical years to a child’s development & learning, we used age-appropriate stimulation for children this year to ensure that they make a maximum of it. “Back in 2001, organised pre-schooling did not exist as it does today. The need for quality pre-schooling has risen from parents who are looking for quality education that offers learning outcomes for each developmental milestone of a child”, adds Prajodh.
Consciously attracting talent from diverse sectors, EuroKids has the best and most diverse talent pool for an education company in India. In their journey of 19 years, EuroKids has evolved as a brand and company that has kept themselves updated with the changing needs of the child and society, except one thing, that is the ‘Child First’ ideology, which has remained constant over these years. Prajodh adds, “When we forayed into the K-12 segment we on-boarded the right mix of team members who had expertise in this segment, and we also strengthened our team to include specialists with direct delivery experience since EuroSchools were directly owned and managed by us.”
Continuing to keep their mission ‘Child First’, EuroKids is rolling out the next academic year curriculum through digital classrooms and move towards a blended learning model to ensure continuity for their students once the school reopens. “One key focus for us will be to build models for creating a Personalised learning experience which will create Engaged, Self-motivated and Independent Learners for life”, concludes Prajodh.