Dr Manjula Pooja Shroff: Changing the Public Learning Systems

The Oxford English Dictionary defines knowledge as information and skill acquired through experience or education. Knowledge represents the theoretical part of understanding a subject and is an important part of Life. Man is different from all other animals only because of knowledge which can be easily achieved through education. Education is an important need to live in this modern era. The importance of education is seen by how much the governments around the globe spend on it. Nations are made not by wealth but by men, and men are made by education. The efficiency of a nation depends upon its investment on vocational education.
While many companies have strived hard to engrain their name in the education sector, Kalorex has committed itself to quality education right from its inception. It has always aimed to set the bar high and not compromise on its core value of Academic Excellence. Kalorex has opened projects to cater to all economic groups of students but the quality of service provided for all is the same without any discriminations.
Dr Manjula Pooja Shroff, MD and CEO, Kalorex Group shares her insight, she says, “Education has been my calling since a very young age where ‘studying’ was not a privilege enjoyed by all, especially girls. Belonging to a Royal family of Orissa, I got good education in a convent school, but was expected to take the regular course of marriage and family responsibilities. Since I was convinced about the liberation that comes with education and was determined to pursue higher studies, I could break the convention and go after my dreams. When I managed to get higher education, I decided not to confine myself by being a teacher but to open schools where this opportunity will be available for students of all backgrounds and needs. I envisaged a bigger landscape where I could make a difference to the society and that motivated me and gave me immense inner strength to establish a number of institutes over the years and carve out a niche for myself.
Kalorex started its operations in 1996, with the opening of Delhi Public School in a small premise. It is a matter of pride that over the years their name has been associated with quality education in Gujarat. Being the first DPS in Gujarat it was set up as a partnership school with DPS Society. Initially a school associated with Delhi was looked upon with some wariness but within no time all apprehensions were put to rest as people realized that this was what was missing in Gujarat – A good CBSE School – and gave it whole hearted welcome and acceptance. Within a couple of years the school shifted to a sprawling campus which today boasts of state of art facilities of sports, laboratories and smart classrooms. Today, Kalorex has set up a number of institutions catering to various educational needs. However, since its inception, Kalorex has focused its activities on K-12 education and has lived up to its commitment towards professionalism and excellence in schooling. Being pioneers in their operations, the company today has under its umbrella, two Delhi Public Schools (Bopal and East Ahmedabad), Calorx Olive International School at Ahmedabad and Calorx Public Schools at Rajula, Mundra, Ghatlodia (Ahmedabad), Bharuch and Jaipur.
Meanwhile, a study analyzed data from over 125 countries found that the corruption level was lower in governments and organizations where there were more women leaders. Hence, the group works towards uplifting the unskilled women by giving them vocational training under the institute VEDIC – Vocational Educational Development Institute of Calorx. With each endeavor that mirrors Kalorex‘s commitment towards their clients, the brand caters to all sections of the society. The concern for the marginalized students and those with special learning needs is evident through the Projects Visamo Kids Foundation and Prerna. Parallel to these projects, it believes in empowering children to succeed in all spheres of life. With 40 + institutions and growing, Kalorex follows a cradle to career approach- addressing the needs of all segments of the educational domain. ‘Shaping Glocal Learners’ – Think global and make the best of the local environment – is the Kalorex mantra.
As a female leader, few barriers in Dr.Manjula’s career have been the challenges of moving to a new city and starting a new venture. But the most significant hurdle was getting acceptance as a woman entrepreneur in a state where business runs in the DNA of the society. She explains, “The breaking of the parochial mindsets and managing to get in a voice of my own posed its own level of difficulties but were never significant enough not to be overcome finally. In fact they all added to my experiences and kept building up my resilience.” Talking about energy that the power of education gave her, Dr. Manjula says, “I used education as a tool to gain confidence and pursue my dreams. I felt that my passion would give me the strength to set up my own business even without having any experience in school systems and management. I was open to learning and also asking for help whenever required. Looking back today, I feel gratitude that I could get all the support I needed, be it from the government or my family.”

Achieving balance in our daily lives sometimes puts us in an overloaded state of mind. For a lot of people, the pursuit of a healthy work/life balance seems like an impossible goal.However, for Dr. Manjula nothing was impossible. One thing that she has cultivated within herself is discipline. She feels without discipline nothing great can be accomplished. Even with a busy schedule and extensive travelling, she has managed to balance her professional and personal life well. “I have never compromised on my family needs and responsibilities and have always found the time to give. The support of the family makes it easier for a dream to be pursued. I have been fortunate to enjoy that kind of unconditional love and whole hearted support by my family. I have always looked towards my husband for his guidance, given his vast experience as a businessman himself. I have also been able to pursue my personal goals of fitness and am a firm believer in paying attention the mind, body and soul in totality,” she adds.
The first reason that why people fail to achieve their goals is; they lack the clarity of vision about the life they want to live. For Dr. Manjula, she was always clear about her vision as an edupreneur. Over all these years the vision has remained intact and intentions have always been pure. She has pursued her passion through a lot of determination and hard work and that has paid off by the success of her ventures. She reveals, “I have received a lot of appreciation for my work over the years for which I am always grateful to the Almighty. I get satisfaction when I see my students doing well in life and fulfill their dreams. For me that is real success.” Everyone has dreams; things they desire for their life, goals they would love to complete. But most people do nothing about them. Most people consider dreams to be unattainable. But, for Dr.Manjul this is simply not true. She believes that, in every woman lies the potential to realize her dreams. So dare to dream and be passionate about turning that dream into a reality.
Tailored to the industry’s culture and best practices, Kalorex‘ after 23 years of laying its foundation, has under its banner, 40+ Institutions in 14 cities, catering to 12,000+ students from more than 24 nationalities and employing about 1300 qualified staff. “I feel leadership is about taking the team with you. I have always tried to align all my team members to own the Core values that we believe in. All our teachers are oriented with the organization’s Vision and continuous reinforcements for alignment are done through our training programmes. The percolation of the organization’s Vision happens through certain quality standards that we have set for each stakeholder and expect them to meet the same. It is a responsibility to live up to all that we have committed to our stake holders and also to ensure that each and every student, teacher and staff get the best experiences in Kalorex. There is a continuous effort made by our schools to take initiatives which help to fulfill our social and environmental responsibilities too. Be it through cleanliness drives, voter awareness campaigns, cyber bullying awareness drives, environment awareness through street plays and also through parenting workshops and home visits to give relevant tips to build parent – child relationships. As a large organization we aspire to be change agents and make a difference to the society,” she concludes.

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