Guardian 20 speaks to the Managing Director of G.D. Goenka schools, Nipun Goenka, who was recently selected as one of the 51 “new millennium edupreneurs” in India.
Q. You have been selected as one of the 51 new millennium “edupreneurs” in the country. How does that feel?
A. It feels great to be part of a group which is building a brand of education that stands for quality and excellence both in India and abroad.
Q. How did this business venture take place?
A. The group’s foray into innovative education began in 1994. The first school was started in Vasant Kunj to commemorate the memory of the late Gayatri Devi Goenka, mother of the Group’s Chairman, A.K. Goenka. It began with just 23 students. Today, the G.D. Goenka schools have more than 30,000 students.
Q. In what ways do you think, over the years, has the G.D. Goenka School competed with various other international schools, like Sri Ram International or Pathways, to rank as one of the top international schools in India?
A. Over the last 21 years, the network of G.D. Goenka schools has spread to over 50 locations across India and abroad. The group has also forayed into higher education and has set up the G.D. Goenka World Institute in collaboration with Lancaster University UK, and the G.D. Goenka University, which is recognised by the University Grants Commission. These institutions have emerged as symbols of quality education from kindergarten to doctoral level. They are driven by a passion for excellence in education and quality in life, where globalisation and internationalisation are the buzzwords. The group believes in equipping each institution with world-class infrastructure, well-maintained campuses, well-stocked libraries, hi-tech laboratories, and top-class sports and cultural facilities. Each institution is led by experienced academicians who are supported by highly qualified and dedicated faculty.
Q. What is your take on international boards like the IGCSE and IB coming to India? How will these international boards help reform the education system in India?
A. The international boards have developed several innovative methods of imparting education, which can add great value to existing systems. Leading universities in India and abroad recognise these boards. Students from these boards are likely to get into the Ivy League universities for higher education. A particularly strong point of these boards is delivering application-driven learning. That is why several leading Indian schools, including ours, offer their courses.
Q. What are the kinds of scholarships that are awarded to meritorious students, primary, secondary and higher level, at the G.D. Goenka? What is the procedure like?
A. We offer liberal scholarships in all our institutions. The criteria for the scholarships is primarily merit or need. Besides this, there are some scholarships which are both merit- and need-based. Each institution has a high-powered scholarship committee which awards
Q. How have you tried to improve and innovate the students’ exchange programme at G.D. Goenka? If you could provide some insight in this regard to our readers.
A. In higher education, we have tie-ups with several international universities and centres of learning to facilitate short-term student and faculty exchanges, curriculum development and joint research. Some of the international universities and organisations with which we have exchange arrangements are: University of Arkansas, USA; University of California Riverside, USA; University of Nottingham, UK; Oklahoma State University, USA; Politecnico Di Milano, Italy; Purdue University ,USA; Le Cordon Bleu, France; the Lancaster University, UK etc.
Besides this, we have tie-ups with several leading industry and industry bodies for knowledge enhancement. These include IBM, NDTV, Google, KPMG, Dassault Systems, IHG, CILT and BSI. The goal is to give the best possible international and industry exposure to our students.