Teachers Key To Solve Education Puzzle: Suraasa
With an aim to provide same level of growth and success to teachers in their careers as other professionals Suraasa came into existence in 2017. A platform that is building the community of successful and motivated teachers recognises the vital role teachers play in shaping future generations and while teachers do that, the platform ensures they have the skills, resources, and support they need to excel at it.
Suraasa is empowering educators to grow in their careers by providing them with upskilling, mentoring and employability support with premium schools. Speaking to Opportunity India, Rishabh Khanna, Founder and CEO of Suraasa discusses challenges and trends in the education sector.
When Did The Idea Strike To Start A Teacher Training Company?
Rishabh Khanna: Suraasa’s parent company, ‘Les Transformations’ has been around for almost 15 years now. After extensive research and work in the education system, we felt that we could do a lot more for teachers and scale that globally to impact millions of teachers.
We arrived at two burning questions: “Why do teachers not experience the same level of growth and success in their careers as other professionals?” and “Why is there such a significant shortage of highly skilled teachers?” That’s when we decided to completely flip the way we look at teachers training.
How Did You Start Your Journey? What Was The First Step?
Rishabh Khanna: Our team spent seven years in training and researching teachers’ education across the world. We discovered critical deficiencies in the education system, holding back the growth and satisfaction of educators.
Inspired to make a difference at a much larger level, we founded Suraasa in 2017. The simple idea was to deliver the highest quality of teachers’ education globally in a way that is relevant for all stages of a teacher’s career.
Our first step was to demonstrate that teachers who undergo transformative and relevant upskilling experience remarkable career growth. To do so, we launched our flagship programme, the Professional Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning (PgCTL). This 10-month online qualification equips teachers with the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed by international schools. The results spoke for themselves, as our teachers gained multi-fold growth in their careers.
What Challenges Did You Face In Terms Of Executing The Ideas, Funding, And Management?
Rishabh Khanna: We faced two key challenges. First, finding the right team, dedicated to make the task a reality. Second, teachers focused on embracing the idea of growth and online qualification. The industry had been stagnant for way too long, and that had pushed our audience into a certain comfort zone and mindset. So, the most important step was to build trust and credibility among teachers and schools who were sceptical about online learning and qualifications.
How Are These Programmes That You Are Running Helping Teachers And Schools?
Rishabh Khanna: Over the years, Suraasa has become a trusted partner for schools and teachers alike. Hundreds of thousands of teachers have trusted Suraasa to be their companion while they succeed in teaching. Many schools globally now consider the quality of Suraasa teachers as a benchmark while they recruit teachers.
Our teachers have experienced multiple promotions, job offers, massive pay hikes, and classroom successes within their journeys. Schools across all curricula have seen improved classroom outcomes with Suraasa teachers in their schools. We have created the largest community of successful and motivated teachers, and we are proud to say that over 3,50,000 teachers from more than 90 countries are currently on our platform.
Could You Tell Us About Your New Plans And Initiatives You Are Working On, Which Will Help Both Teachers And Schools?
Rishabh Khanna: One of the key initiatives we have been working on these days is International Teachers’ Olympiad. We already have thousands of teachers globally joining the initiative. It’s an assessment that teachers take. After that, they receive performance reports, certificates, cash prizes, and a lot of other benefits as well.
Another major initiative has been the launch of our online community platform for teachers on our Suraasa app. This platform enables teachers to connect with one another, share their experiences, and support each other in their professional journeys. We’ve already gotten a warm response from our teachers about the community, and we see some great exchanges happening on a daily basis. There are many other things we are working on, and we will announce them publicly very soon.
Advice You Would Like To Give To Someone Who Wants To Foray Into This Sector.
Rishabh Khanna: My advice would be to do your homework. Research the market, the needs, the trends, and the gaps in the sector. The teaching community is difficult to convince. You need to create a lot of value for them so that they can trust you. But once they are able to trust you, they are also one of the most welcoming and warm audiences you’ll come across.
From a solution perspective, have a clear vision and mission for what you want to achieve and why. Be driven by your passion for education and social impact. We are very excited to have more people and companies in the sector. Let’s all transform teaching together for the better.
How Much Investment Does One Need To Start An Online Professional Training Programme?
Rishabh Khanna: The investment required to start an online professional training programme depends on various factors like the programme’s scope, duration, level, and quality. You also need to research your target market’s size, location, profile, and preferences. Once that is done, you'll be investing in content, delivery, technology, marketing, branding and distribution. Depending on these factors, the investment can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to several million dollars.
What Have You Learnt So Far From Your Own Journey?
Rishabh Khanna: One learning I have had from my journey is that teachers are the most important stakeholders in education. They are the key to solve the education puzzle. They are the ones who directly deal day in and day out with students, the beneficiaries of the education system. They deserve all kinds and magnitudes of respect, recognition, support, and empowerment.
Another one from the perspective of life and business has been keeping a very strong inner circle of people around me. At work, while my door is open for anyone and everyone, I majorly interact with my inner circle of 8-10 people whom I trust with my eyes closed to get anything done with the highest level of detail and quality. Having such people helps me focus on the core areas of growth and vision planning for the company while they go out there and do their magic.
What Are The Trends In The Education Sector Now? How Can One Monetise The Available Opportunities?
Rishabh Khanna: One of the trends in the education sector right now is the rise of blended learning (online and offline combined) - it has been around for some time now. The next biggest trend is the adoption and integration of AI in different parts of education - whether that’s how students learn or how teachers teach. The key to monetise this opportunity is to understand the current underlying processes and systems very strongly so that you can find opportunities at the core of the processes.