KALOREX, FOR EQUALITY IN EDUCATION ABOVE ALL!
While growing up in pitiable conditions in a family of farmers, who would have thought that a boy from the farmlands of Surendranagar, Gujrat, would grow up to be a successfully employed civil engineer.
But to your surprise, this is the story of Ashish Bhadania, a farmer’s son who spent his early years of education in a small Shala (School), now well settled in Bangalore with a promising future. Let’s take a tour of his overwhelming journey where you will meet the person who reformed his destiny with her vision and guidance, Dr. Manjula Pooja Shroff.
How Did It All Start?
Since he had been a bright student all through his academic career, scoring excellent grades each time, the suggestion of pushing his education further came from a very dear friend and mentor of his father. He told Ashish’s father about Visamo Kids Foundation (VKF), Kalorex, based in Ahmedabad, which caters to underprivileged kids’ educational needs and also provides a foster home to them. The founder Dr. Manjula Pooja Shroff had been involved in improving the lives of countless kids from needy families by offering them quality education for their entire school life in the best English medium schools and equipping them with skills to aim for better professional careers ahead.
In a country where the cumulative literacy rate is around 74%, the priority stands to incline the chief concern of the entire society to introduce any visible improvement in a short span of time. And for any changes to be made they have to be started at ground levels i.e. schools.
Dr. Shroff has fairly understood that schools play the most vital role in reshaping a person personally and professionally for better growth. She personally focuses on nurturing the children to face the competitive world outside. If we start to dig deeper into the roots we’ll realize how the situation isn’t very impressive taking into consideration the state literacy figures. Most of us have always been aware of this dismal state but when it comes to bringing some positive change, only a handful of people like Dr. Shroff have comprehended the urgent need to recuperate this worsening condition by bringing changes in the system with schools like Visamo Kids Foundation, Kalorex, who try to polish the future of the coming generation unbiased.
Presently in a scenario so politically charged and authoritative, educational reforms are moving very sluggishly which consecutively gives rise to a negative attitude among the people. Hence, even a pinch of positivity coming through the right source is enough to work wonders. And one such source he strongly believe is the organization Kalorex, making a mark and bringing positive changes in the educational scenario. The inspirational leadership of the Chairperson, Dr. Shroff, has been contributory for many a success stories of VKF and Prerna, a similar venture, as well.
Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
In the likes of Ashish Bhadania, there are a number of underprivileged students who have gone on to bring glories to the organization making their families proud at the same time. “Like an Oscar-winning movie in my head, I clearly remember the twinkle of joy and pride that I saw in my parents’ eyes when they were invited as guests for VKF Scholarships and Award distributions. There is no gratitude enough to show how privileged I feel for the opportunity provided to me by Dr. Shroff and almighty’s grace” said Ashish.
A plethora of VKF alumni are working in esteemed corporations and making a mark through their hard work and determination. The alumni from the other similar venture Prerna, are making the best of their abilities as well, through the able guidance and support of their teachers and are chasing their dreams in their best potential. He believes, as a successful alumnus today, if ever in future he gets the opportunity to revert his humble services to VKF, it’ll be an honor for him to volunteer.
About the visionary
These values have been induced in him through his guiding light, Dr. Manjula Pooja Shroff who steered him right through the journey of his education. She is a living example of the core values she encourages and strongly lives by. Dr. Shroff, MD, and CEO of Kalorex is the driving force of the Group. Her zeal and enthusiasm motivates and encourages every member of the Kalorex family to invest their best and always stay in the learning mode.
She holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from Commonwealth University, London. An IIM Ahmedabad alumni, she is an Entrepreneur with dedicated and diverse experience in the field of education. A postgraduate from York University and executive alumni from London School of Economics, her educational institutes, and social projects are persistently making noteworthy contributions to the Society. She has proven her ability to operate educational institutions with innovative ideas and hands-on management. Dr. Shroff is bestowed with a number of National and International awards conferred in the career spanning over two decades including the ‘Secular India Harmony Award’ by the President of India.
This humble lady has managed to shape a number of futures with her bright vision and personal indulgence to each. Ashish educates us about his journey and how fortunate he feels to be a part of this overwhelming passage of a decade. If not for VFK’s education and Dr. Shroff’s enlightenment, a boy from a tiny farmland would never have been polished so well. Even today, when he travels back to his homeland and sees the others still struggling for a better future or basic facilities, he realizes how lucky he has been. While they are still looking to lay foundations of their life, he is envisioning a successful professional career. There is no end to the gratitude he holds for VFK and Dr. Shroff for giving wings to his dreams.
Methods and Strategies Implemented
In the 10 fruitful years he spent in VFK he gained generous knowledge about the Kalorex Group and how it has been promoting progressive education in a number of other cities in India magnificently since two decades now. Within the conversation, Ashish educated us about The Kalorex Group and how faithfully it has dedicated itself in creating educational programs for an entire spectrum of learners from a variety of educational grounds like IB World School, the 2 Delhi Public Schools and 5 Calorx Public Schools following the CBSE curriculum and the Kalorex Pre- School chain of schools.
The special initiatives of Kalorex are Prerna – offering interventions for students with special needs, Visamo Kids Foundation – catering to the educational needs of the underprivileged students and VEDIC institute of Kalorex – offering skill development courses for girls.
Here the teachers implement curriculum methods and strategies that use technology to maximize student knowledge by means of Blended and Flipped class strategies. These are the new age global classroom methods which are being implemented in the schools keeping in mind the huge variety of online resources that are accessible. A more skillful future awaits the kids at Kalorex, with the newly proposed Budget of 2018 -19, the focus majorly is bestowed on technology-enabled classrooms with smart boards replacing blackboards. The students of Kalorex will have the luxury to be exposed to the progressive methods of teaching and learning since the very beginning.
Whatever time Ashish had spent in the classes, student engagement and classroom management was promoted the most in the teacher training activities. Feedback was scientifically captured through the school portals and appropriate action was taken. Teachers and students were exposed to world-class training and practices and an effort was made to provide technical and physical resources for an effective teaching and learning process. The best part about this process is that it continues to be positively followed till date.
The technological Intervention
The bright alumni talks about the involvement of technology as well. He adds how we all come from families believing smartphones, laptops, internet etc. is only a medium of social connection. It’s a task to convince parents that it could be otherwise. “Dr. Shroff at Kalorex ensures that this task is commanded well and parents are induced with positive confidence about the same. A number of workshops are held continuously to orient them towards the new trends in technology to ensure understanding of the changing times and their cooperation. Technological innovations are influencing the way students learn and the experts here are doing their bit to keep abreast with the fast-moving technological advancements” said Ashish.
They also apply technology to facilitate a variety of assessment and evaluation strategies using the ERPs even to communicate with students and parents. There are mobile apps accessible by the parents to know the learning outcomes whenever they require.
Quality and Innovation
Over the span of 6 years, the Group has expanded from 12 institutes to more than 40 institutes. With a focus on quality teaching and bringing in the latest training inside the classrooms, Kalorex teachers are known for their innovative teaching styles. The group is strong on systems and processes and promotes a collaborative culture. Talent is recognized through rewards and recognition and teachers and staff are encouraged to take on professional development programs to upgrade their skills and knowledge through in-house or external training and workshops.
The indigenously designed Kalorex categorization aims at developing skills like goal setting and communication in the students and all teaching plans are designed keeping that in mind. The teaching quality is kept in check with regular academic and quality audits conducted by the Learning Development and Quality Department.
Ingesting Core Values
Regardless of who you are,a student or a member of the staff, if you are a part of this esteemed organization you will be ingested with the strong core values followed by the company at large. All Kalorexians are full of dynamism, humanistic approach, ownership, and speed with accuracy. These values are percolated to the whole team through planned orientations and training. Visual displays across the campus also reinforce the same for teachers, students, and parents. Standardized processes and activities are monitored through quality and academic audits which are conducted annually by internal and external sources. Apart from meeting Kalorex standards, the schools must comply with 10 quality ethics equal for all and mandated policies of the respective Boards, CBSE, IB, IGCSE or State as the case may be.
Ashish is not the only one who boasts of a bright future, thanks to Dr. Shroff, there are innumerable success stories of its alumni spread across the globe. They stay connected to their roots and continue giving their valuable inputs and professional guidance to the rest if and when needed.
“Today, when I have completed more than two years as a Civil Engineer in JMC, Bangalore, I am proud of my own achievements. At the same time, I am also consumed with a feeling of immense gratefulness towards Dr. Shroff and VKF. Dr. Shroff’s personal involvement in my wellbeing gave me a sense of security. She was always there to hold my hand and guide me for my personal and professional decisions and constantly offered paramount advice. She always made sure she had the necessary time for guiding me, in spite of the demanding schedules she had, there was not one time when I felt neglected or unsupervised” further added Ashish.
Ashish or all the other kids studying with him were presented with the right support at all times. And this was only possible because Dr. Shroff has tremendous zeal and enthusiasm for life and this rubs on to everyone who she connects with. With her progressive vision, she could see what the city of Ahmedabad needed as far as educational initiatives were concerned. She ensured that her institutes catered to a cosmopolitan population. With the advent of Kalorex, the landscape of the city changed with yellow school buses carrying students to and fro. This was a new concept for Ahmedabad and several institutes followed the path carved by Dr. Shroff.
Apart from her hands-on involvement in all her institutes, she also advocates a healthy lifestyle for all. An avid practitioner of Aerial Yoga herself, her Forever Young YouTube videos (shroffim.com) have touched people from all walks of life and are highly popular. Her love for the outdoors has made her to try her hand in adventure sports like skydiving, parasailing, snorkeling, skiing, trekking, and white water rafting. She has participated in a few running marathons, is an enthusiastic cyclist and has attempted cross-country rides. Besides her participating in cylothons, she also has been promoting the cause of green earth by encouraging young riders from ages 3 -16 years to pick up their cycles and ride.
Today Kalorex has plans to expand further as well, towards the western part of the country in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. It is also looking to explore southern states in order to reach Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. As well as central India in the next two years. Once it starts operating in these states, it plans to expand to North India. In short term, it is Rajasthan and Maharashtra where the focus is concentrated.
Ashish stated “Kalorex has more than 40 + institutes running under its banner, but VKF has always held a special place in Dr. Shroff’s heart. She made sure that it became a home away from home for us. The love and care we received and the fun times that we had with movies, parties, picnics, and tours have left me with such fond and bright memories that may not have been possible otherwise. I can confidently assure any student of VKF that their life and career will definitely see success after my personal experience there. I feel privileged that I came in such close contact with Dr. Shroff and was personally mentored by her and the VKF volunteers”.
The alum also conveyed that she has always lived by Gandhi’s philosophy of “be the change you want to see’. Praying for her welfare, he wishes that in the long run, other institutions also join her in this moral cause.
We surely do need a lot more people like Dr. Manjula Pooja Shroff, who are keen on working towards the betterment of education in the society and are eager to handhold the unbiased idea of spreading knowledge to each sector and the needy.