A woman of multifarious capabilities, an educationist, a visionary and also a successful entrepreneur, Sudha Gupta, Chairperson of Mother’s Pride Pre-School and Presidium Senior Secondary School endeavoured to evolve a novel definition of education during her journey through life
By Sheena Joseph Cherian, Sharmila Das, and Mansi Bansal
Daughter of an NCERT professor, Sudha Gupta used to find solace in the NCERT campus libraries. The campus was her home for 17 long years. From there, the ardour for education came naturally to her. The entrepreneurial hat was not crown her until the year 1990, when to her chagrin she found that the standard of her son’s school was not up to the mark.
That is when she decided that she must do something in the early education space. She did some research and approached Vinita Kaul who was then heading the NCERT, Early Child Education Department. Benefiting hugely from the insights she got from Vinita Kaul, Sudha Gupta did her Nursery Teachers Training course and came up with Mother’s Pride in 1996.
Sudha Gupta pursued her B.Ed from Jamia Miliya Islamia (1987) and Post Graduation in Mathematics from Delhi University (1986).
Today an eminent personality in the education space, Sudha Gupta reminisces about her long journey with these words, “I started Mother’s Pride in Paschim Vihar in 1996 with a small setup of three rooms and a very few students. I stressed on the needs of this age group, their emotional, physical and social capabilities, how they learn, and so on. So I created something which was very different from what other play schools had”.
USP that sets Mother’s Pride apart
The present early child education domain is crowded with a slew of preschools in every nook and corner of the country, but Mother’s Pride has managed to carve niche for itself and endear itself to the community of discerning parents because of its unwavering focus on quality education. The school has a system in place for constantly upgrading the quality of learning. There is a customised teaching/ learning methodology in place and the teachers are highly trained and motivated.
Mrs. Gupta says, “Very early on I realised the importance of having an extraordinary manpower. You can have dreams, you can fix a target, but to make it a reality, you need to have a team of highly talented people. You have to develop, nurture and motivate the team. Basically you have to have the talent for managing people. We have 2500 people + 1500 helpers working at Mother’s Pride. Everybody is so well connected and we all are marching ahead together for the transformation and for the achievement of the goals of the organisation”.
To inspire its sizeable workforce of teachers iwith the school’s vision, Mother’s Pride designed The Knowledge Tree – an in-house training academy for teachers. Mother’s Pride is the first of its kind of school to introduce a ball room and a doll room for little ones. They were the first to bring computers or oddlers as well. 16 years back this was quite an innovation; people used to ask whether there is any need for computers for three year old kids. However Mrs Gupta could see the real benefit behind this and she recalls “Children used to enjoy a lot as what they used to learn in the classrooms, could now be done with computers.”
Besides computers, bright colours and cartoons in the classroom ambiance did its magic too. An interactive learning infrastructure was also put in place. Eventually parents too were delighted with the end result. For Sudha Gupta that was the initial milestone achieved. The ed-entrepreneur was getting wonderful responses from the parent community and by that time she knew that Mother’s Pride can expand its footprint further. With this vision they started looking for likeminded souls to partner with and become franchisees. The entire Mother’s Pride schools are operated by the Franchise Owned Company Operated (FOCO) model.
The three mantras
Mother’s Pride has three mechanisms in its curriculum. They are: life skills, academics, and talent. Mrs. Gupta believes that for the betterment of life these three components are critical for enabling the students to grow up into successful and happy individuals. She explains, “Who we are today as a successful, happy individual is not only because of the knowledge that we have, but because of the life skills as well. A positive attitude, courage, decision-making skills, good communication and expression – each element is more important than the academic knowledge that you might have.”
A journey is not acomplished if the traveller has not overcome any challenge. Sudha Gupta fought two such challenges. As she says in her words, “If I look back, there had been two challenges: firstly, finding the good manpower so that you are free to follow your own dreams. Second, aligning your own goals with that of the parents whose children you are teaching. Are we focusing on the score card of the children at the cost of neglecting the self expression of the child? Are we putting too much pressure on the child?Are we ensuring that the child does not feel depressed? We need to take all this into account and create a balance. Along with the training of teachers, I have created a parallel line – parenting. I created the concept of positive parenting and me and my team work closely with a lot with the parents”.
Presidium, the school for future leaders
Setting up Presidium, a school devoted to creating the leaders of tomorrow was a natural progression for Mrs. Sudha Gupta. Today in just five years, Presidium has five brances, more than 15,000 students and is the fastest- growing educational institution in Delhi-NCR.
Venturing into higher education
Already known as a trendsetter in the pre-school segment of the country, Mother’s Pride today wants to enter the higher education space too. Sudha Gupta says, “Education doesn’t endwith the 12th standard. Higher education is the natural progression. There are lots of institutions that are doing well. I don’t intend to compete with them;my dream is to set up an institute for creating entrepreneurs. As far as Presidium and Mothers Pride are concerned, I want to expand it to as much as I can in the country and way beyond”.
We wish all the best in her future endeavour.