Tell us more about the 40 under 40 achievement? What are your feelings on being included in such an impressive panel?
“It is humbling, to say the least. I have never aspired to be a part of any achievers list, as I have tried to stay away from titles as much as I can and focus only on work. Education is in my blood. It is who I am. Furthermore, I’m grateful to BW BusinessWorld for recognising my work in education and for including me in ’40 Under 40′ Clubs of Achievers in Education.”
You say that the education system needs to change. What makes you think that, and how do you imagine the future to be?
“Education in India is assessment-oriented as the education system has not changed for the last century and a half. It needs to be skills and future-oriented, if we are to increase India’s global competitiveness.
We need to focus on employability, entrepreneurship and innovation at the school level, and make our students future-ready.”
You are an alumnus of Fraser Valley India. Do you think your college was able to prepare you for the real world?
“I’m thankful to my professors and management at FVI for the outstanding educational experience during my college days. The training given by them was superb, and I enjoyed researching and presenting my findings during lectures.”
Tell us more about your school. How did you build your current team, and how do you plan on building on your vision?
“Satluj Public School was founded in a one-room rented apartment in 1976 in Sector 36-D, Chandigarh, making it the region’s first private, independent school. Our Founders, Late S. Pritam Singh Serai and Sdr. Jagdish Kaur Serai, my Grandparents, returned from extensive travels in the USA, UK, Europe, and Singapore on the behest of the CM of Punjab to open a school in Chandigarh, which they did.
Since then, we’ve grown to 13 campuses across North India and three states; 30,000+ students, 1000+ faculty and 35,000+ alumni based in different parts of the world. Satluj, ranked No. 1 in Haryana, No. 1 in Panchkula and No. 5 in India by reputed agencies such as EducationToday, DigitalLEARNING and EducationWorld and a ‘Great Place to Study’ in India and the world, amongst many other felicitations.
It is a blessing to be work with the best Educators in India and across the world at Satluj. So, it’s not about me building the team, but my team giving me the space to focus on continually improving academic standards so that we can deliver an exceptional educational experience to Satlujians.
For me, the ultimate aim is to spread world-class education to students across the country by connecting them with the world and ensuring that they are future-ready so that India improves upon its global competitiveness. Moreover, I’m precisely focused on this by continuously improving upon the academic standards within the Satluj Group of Schools, the various EdTech startups I have invested in and mentor, and by expanding the Satluj footprint across India by opening more schools via franchising and direct investment.”
With the ever-evolving pandemic situation, uncertainties and stress have gripped every student alike. What would be your advice to a student who finds these times challenging and never-ending, considering they stand at a pivotal juncture?
“During these unprecedented times, students shouldn’t worry about the outcome of their effort. Flip through any history book and you’ll find that global similar catastrophic events—the Spanish flu, the World Wars, the Great Depression, the 2008 recession—don’t have a lasting effect. People move on; the economy grows. Such is the human spirit.
The pandemic caught everyone off guard. During times like these, we need to develop skills such as resilience, patience, optimism. Everything will be alright. Some of the world’s best inventions and startups were built during times like these.
A new phenomenon has arisen—WFH (work from home). Given the digital revolution we’re going through, you can practically create a business of your dreams or work with a company of your choice, all in the comfort of your room! Was this possible before?”
Now that you have been a part of the elite 40 under 40 club, what’s next in the bag?
“We are working on expanding the footprint of Satluj across India. We aim to open 75 schools in addition to the 13 schools (12 Satluj Public Schools and 1 Satluj World School) we currently operate across Haryana, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) by 2025. This will be 50 pre-schools (Little Satluj Pre-Schools) and 25 K-12 schools (Satluj World Schools). These schools will be in the form of direct investment and franchising (FOFO—franchise owned company operation—and FOCO—franchise owned company operated—models).
I am trying to balance my professional and personal life by not only spending more time at home but also contributing more.”