Tell us about yourself and your background
I did my primary schooling in England before moving to Australia, where I acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Melbourne’s Victoria College. In 1991, I came to India on a year-long sabbatical from college.
While connecting with my roots, I landed a teaching job in suburban Mumbai, an experience that changed my life. Back then the education system in India was still grappling with a straitjacketed approach, leaving no scope for an overall development of the child. This was a complete contrast to milieu of what I had studied. I chose to stay back in India to change the antiquated approach to education that existed then.
We at KKEL have since been promoting and practicing ‘topic based learning’ since 2002, something that the Indian media lauded the Finland education system for very recently.
Tell us about the company you have set up
My conviction to offer an education, which sets the child as its centre, led me to start the first preschool in Bandra, Mumbai in 1993 with 25 students. The journey from one Kangaroo Kids Preschool to a network of Kangaroo Kids Preschools and Billabong High International Schools across 29 different cities in India as well as in Dubai, Maldives and Qatar has been a phenomenal one. Our unique approach, injection of potent and noted solutions and radical processes to ensure that the quality of education is improved was instantaneously well received
Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd now run pre-schools called Kangaroo Kids, high schools called Billabong High International School, early childhood care and education courses and on-going teacher trainings.
Why did you set up the company? / What drove you to become an Entrepreneur?
I have been extremely passionate about creating a purpose of learning and allowing children to be thinkers, innovators, and problem solvers and to orchestrate experiences that will result in their overall development. With an intention to spark human greatness in every student, we were the first in the Indian education industry to introduce a learner centric methodology and introduce innovative ways of learning by providing an integrated activity and theme based learning.
I come from a family of entrepreneurs and was naturally inclined to start something on my own.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
We faced a world of resistance at the time from everyone in the field of education. We started with very few students, as most parents did not understand this new style of teaching and learning. However, when parents saw the results we grew leaps and bounds.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
We are setting benchmarks in child friendly education – education that will value;
• Aspiration over ambition
• Spirituality over religion
• Wisdom over knowledge
• A united world over a divided one
• Individual creative thought over rote memory
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
This has been my calling since I was a child. I was born to be a teacher.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
Every 15 days I travel to my house in Goa and zone out, as the best ideas for work come from outside of work.
What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
The purpose of any business should be strong. All decisions, actions, business models should be in line with achieving purpose, then success and satisfaction is guaranteed.
Can you recommend any organizations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
The media has been a great help in highlighting our USPs.
If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
Government freedom to implement innovative schooling methods without interference.
What does the future hold for you?
As an organization and as a person, we always want to be better and keep growing.