Education: can it help India fulfil its potential?

Anshul Arora, founder and CEO of Edvance Group, talks to Relocate Global about the impact education can have on the economic situation - and the lives of children - in India and Southeast Asia.

The following is a partial transcript of Relocate Global's conversation with Anshul Arora, at the 36th annual COBIS conference, in London in early May 2017.  Click on the image above to watch the complete video.

Anshul Arora explains Edvance Group’s mission

"We run a chain of early education centres in a joint venture with Eton House based out of Singapore. We run about 50 early education centres which are modelled around what you’d see in this part of the world (UK) which are really child-centric preschools which are experiential and holistic based."

Why India is a hotspot

"India is at a certain growth trajectory right now. I think there is a very large young population, a significant middle class that is emerging, a pretty significant growth rate, a stable government. From a macroeconomic position, India is on a very good growth trajectory."If India is going to reach its potential given this context, we really need a very high quality of human capital so education is very fundamental to developing young people. Whether organisations or the country as a whole is going to reach its potential is really going to be based on the quality of human capital that we develop, so education fundamental overall."We tend to have more traditional models of education historically in India, so I think getting that right balance between rigorous teaching and learning and a broad education – which many British schools are known for – I think there’s great scope for collaboration."

Tell us about education in India

"In early education we are Reggio Emilia inspired, in terms of the philosophy of education. It’s a curriculum we have developed in our joint venture. It does follow an enquiry method of education, so some similarity to the framework that an IBPYP would use. In India there is state board curriculum. There are a local curricula – which are called ICSC and CBSE. There are also international curricula. Obviously IGSCEs are becoming increasingly popular."
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Challenges for young graduates

"I’m a big believer in having both a rigorous teaching and learning experience as well as a holistic broad-minded – what we call 21st century education – things like critical thinking, creativity, collaboration. I think getting that balance, along with a focus on character development and having a positive education experience – I think if we can get those things right, that will serve children and young people much better."
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Opportunities in Southeast Asia

"I do think there are some interesting opportunities across Southeast Asia. Malaysia – as with many other countries – has been hit by lower oil prices. They are making efforts to try and develop new industries or push further new industries. The Malaysian government is fairly well known for trying to push such initiatives together in a kind of PPP – public/private partnerships – so hopefully we will start to see that rebound of the macroeconomy.Certainly I think international schools have seen slight reductions in enrolments given that there are fewer expats present both in Malaysia and in certain other parts of southeast Asia. I think it also gives a great opportunity for us to think about how we serve the local clientele in these different geographies, and local people who also have interests in international education and could benefit from international education. I think that’s an interesting opportunity for school groups to explore. I think there is a great social impact that can come with that as well."Click on the video link above to hear more about:
  • The situation for female students in India
  • The intersection between education and the corporate world

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