Education Plus

Ensure quality through certification

Anuraag Saxena at a conference in Delhi. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Going from Vizag to Singapore via Texas isn’t a gruelling route to a rewarding career if you possess a positive attitude, confident demeanour and focussed diligence. I realised this during my interactions with Anuraag Saxena, regional head, south Asia and ASEAN, World Education Foundation (WEF), U.K. Headquartered in London, the office of WEF in Asia operates from Singapore, from where it runs education programmes for India.

I met Anuraag at the BETT Asia Conference in Singapore where he was a panellist in the discussion, ‘21st Century Education in India – Confronting the Challenges Facing the Next Generation’. He’s a chartered accountant from India, holds an MBA (Hons.) degree from the University of Texas, and a NPM (Non-Profit Management) qualification from the National University of Singapore (NUS). Anuraag, who went to Timpany School in Visakhapatnam, says, “I guess I’m a living proof of the positive impact a school can make on an average child.”

Anuraag also actively takes part in his ‘India Pride Project’, a volunteer network that works on recovering India’s stolen heritage from across the world. It’s intriguing that after working in hardcore finance sectors with GE Capital, Deutsche Bank and other companies, and heading strategy and change teams across the U.S., Europe and Asia at Credit Suisse, Anuraag Saxena shifted to education. “I don’t see a dichotomy here,” he says.

“Being posted in different parts of the world has imbued me with a broad perspective. I believe that skills, toolsets and techniques from academia and corporate life can help scale social and ecological challenges as well as financial ones. Also, education, as a sector, has always interested me.”

Anuraag avers that education is an antibiotic to poverty, particularly in the Indian context. “And a career in it can be lucrative too.”

WEF – purpose and plan

“School owners and administrators want to run the best schools. But the problem with some of them is that they don’t know how and where to begin,” opines Anuraag, as he dwells on the K-12 segment in Asia as a whole.

“It is here that the WEF assessment and school-rating methodology is relevant. We empower school leaders with an assessment and a report card, which enables them to invest more smartly in facilities and features to improve learning outcomes. It also helps parents to know where a school stands in the competition scale, compared to other schools.”

With its school-ratings and certification model, WEF is redefining the way schools operate in India, says Anuraag. He is confident that a decade from now, all schools across India will perceive the importance of WEF’s school-ratings.

“Well-structured and unbiased, the WEF Star-Ratings help parents comprehend the worthiness of a school choice,” he explains. WEF primarily operates in the K-12 space and helps build schools that provide training for making a student life-ready. WEF is also working on making quality tools more accessible to APS (Affordable Private Schools) and to the rural school segment.

“Simply put, our acronym stands for Trust. With the kind of information onslaught around us, it is imperative that schools work harder on gaining parents’ trust and sustaining it. WEF’s assessments are one such way of building that trust,” says Anuraag.

Anuraag Saxena can be contacted at anuraag.saxena2@gmail.com

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 12:03:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/Ensure-quality-through-certification/article14492689.ece

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