“Life Is Never Going To Be Easy. If Somebody Tells You A Fairy Tale, Believe Me It Is A Lie.” — Arpit Dugar
Last week, we met ed-tech consultant Arpit Dugar. He is an absolutely phenomenal gentleman with enormous talents. He is a public speaker, author, and co-founder of Practice Guru.
He’s a person who never stops learning. He’s innately motivated to take on new challenges and become successful.
We asked Arpit several questions for this interview, and he honestly answered all our queries with full explanations. He also explained the nitty-gritty of the ed-tech revolution in India to us. He also suggested various ways how we can take advantage of it.
We hope our readers will find it insightful and motivating. We also want to thank Arpit for finding out some spare time from his busy schedule for this exclusive interview.
Here are the excerpts!
Welcome to TheCheckerNews. Please introduce yourself.
Ans: I am an extremely inquisitive person who wishes to know about everything that comes on the way. I am always curious, hungry and excited to learn new stuff. I am an avid reader and a writer. Reading gives me pleasure and writing gives me solace. I am passionate about education and have been contributing to the education sector for the last 12 years. I love to travel, I love to socialize and make new friends, I always challenge myself to try adventure sports. I thoroughly enjoy my ‘me’ time and I love being thoughtful while talking to myself.
How has been your professional journey so far?
Ans: It has been incredibly challenging. I had a modest start after my graduation and struggled making a difference at my first job in New Delhi at MREL Solar Technologies. Realizing the fact that it isn’t the right fit for me, I resigned and planned to join my father in his business of electronic items distribution in Rajasthan. It didn’t interest me much and within a month I decided to quit and start something of my own. But neither I had an idea nor I had the money to do that. My elder brother was working on an idea of providing an online assessment system for engineering and MBA aspirants. It was much ahead of its time in 2009. But with a vision of providing an affordable assessments platform and across the remotest corners of the country we founded Practice Guru. We invested 7 years with it and scaled it up to 100,000+ active users and more than 200 exams across all categories. But with the growing competition, updates and advancement in technology, we could not match up to the pace and thus it started to fall.
Subsequently, I joined Next Education as an Academic Consultant in 2017 and started to work with schools. With my consultancy, I could make a considerable difference in a few schools in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat which led to my first promotion, making me the Regional Manager for Academics & Operations. The scope of work increased and I had 1000 schools in my region to be serviced. The experience with these schools led to my another promotion and I took the charge of the Learning & Development department at the Head Office in Hyderabad. After almost spending a year heading this department, I was able to explore offshore business for the company and I shifted to Dubai. I started the Dubai operations and from here reached out to the gulf countries, the middle east countries and African nations.
How do you see the growth of the education sector and ED-TECH in India in the coming years?
Ans: Ed-tech has tremendous scope not just in India but across the globe. We have not even touched the tip of the iceberg till now. There is so much to do and so less done. Schools have to be on-boarded on technology platforms where the academic and administrative operations get automated. That’s the first step. Then the role of data analytics, artificial intelligence comes into picture. Teaching staff need to be trained immensely. Students need to be exposed to the right set of tools, use and misuse of technology. Massive innovation has to sweep in from all ends to see a 360 degree holistic growth of the future generation.
What is this “Next Education India PVT Ltd” all about? Please explain what it does?
Ans: Next Education is one of its kind k-12 solution providers that takes care of end-to-end services for a school ecosystem. It houses a team of 2500+ employees scattered across the country and abroad. It is a strategic partner to forward looking schools who wish to provide quality products and services at an affordable cost. From the School Management Systems, Learning Management Systems, Assessment Solutions, Digital Content, Digitisation of Classrooms, Hands-on-activities kits for Maths & Science, Language Learning Labs, Robotics Lab, Curriculum Solutions, Books, Academic Consultancy, Academic Partnership, it is a one-stop solution for all the requirements of a school.
Do you also love writing? Explain.
Ans: Writing gives me solace. It gives me time to reflect upon myself and life around me. I have written three books till now which are available in physical stores and on online stores. ‘Nothing For You My Dear’ was my debut work released in 2009, ‘Not Yet To Be Disclosed’ was released in 2014 and ‘Half-Life’ was released in 2020.
The education sector was badly hit due to COVID-19 in India and abroad. Do you feel things are slowly returning to normalcy now?
Ans: Indeed we bled during the covid situation. But now, it is not a slow return but the ed-tech has bounced back aggressively with schools realizing the importance of technology platforms and innovation in their ecosystems. For the very first time, the world is seeing governments releasing tenders for Learning Management Systems, for Digital Content, for Student Information Systems, etc. Big data analytics is going to be a change maker in the education sector as well and government and private machinery are preparing themselves to cope up with the rapid transformation.
How did you spend your time at home during COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns?
Ans: Lockdown taught me cooking, experimenting with cooking, photography and video editing. My wife is a passionate dancer, I had to be the camera person for all her performances whether in the house or at the venues outside. We had great fun hunting for the locations, shooting outdoors and then spending time editing and posting the videos for audience’s feedback. This helped me explore the photography techniques, knowing about lighting effects, camera handling, aerial shots, panoramic shots, video editing, etc.
I could also read a lot of books during that time.
Can you please speak a few words of motivation and inspiration for our readers?
Ans: Life is never going to be easy. If somebody tells you a fairy tale, believe me it is a lie. Yes, with your consistent efforts and non-quitting attitude, you will be able to make a big difference and add happiness and luxury to your and your loved ones lives. Our planet itself has endless places to travel, people to meet, learn new skills, make new friends, understand different societies, face challenges and work on solutions. The world opens up with infinite options to gather knowledge and utilize it back to serve society. Never feel down, there is so much to look upto.
Finally, please suggest some mental and fitness tips to readers for the wellbeing of their mind, body, and health.
Ans: This is a tough one as I, myself, struggle with maintaining it. However, the most I could learn and improve from my experiences is, all of us need to go out to play sports or do some exercise for at least 5 hours a week. All of us require 7-8 hrs of sleep. All of us should eat a healthy and rich breakfast. All of us should keep ourselves away from all digital devices for at least 2 hrs before going to bed. All of us should read for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. And most important of all, be grateful to the tiniest thing around.
(We wish Arpit Dugar the very best in his life and future endeavors. All the best! It was pleasure talking to you.)