Lifteime Achievement in Education Leadership Award 2019: Sanjeev Bolia

EducationWorld October 2019 | Pictorial Essay


Sanjeev Bolia is the promoter-managing director of the Kolkata-based Afairs Exhibitions & Media Pvt. Ltd (AEM, estb.1994), India’s premier education expositions company. During the past 25 years, he has curated 700-plus education expositions in India and over 150 abroad, to showcase India’s top-ranked vintage boarding, international day-cum-boarding and wholly residential schools in 27 metros and cities across India and 12 countries in the Middle East and South Asia. It is no exaggeration to state that over 25 percent of the foreign students enrolled in India’s legacy boarding and international schools have been sourced by AEM. Currently, AEM’s clients list includes 525 schools, 510 undergrad colleges and 155 universities in India and abroad.

One of three sons of Tej Singh Bolia, a Kolkata-based self-employed supplier of hardware and engineering equipment to education institutions, after graduating from Calcutta University in 1994, Sanjeev resisted family pressure to join an accountancy firm and organised the City of Joy’s first computer exhibition-cum-seminar. After this innovative education expo received excellent public response, Bolia orchestrated a series of expositions to showcase private professional and higher education institutions to enable school-leavers to make informed admission choices. In 2004, Afairs staged its first Premier Schools Exhibition in New Delhi and Mumbai, innovating a new forum for K-12 schools to showcase their institutions to enable SEC (socio-economic category) ‘A’ households to select aptitudinally suitable, internationally benchmarked primary-secondary schools for their children. Taking this sellers-meet-buyers initiative a step further, in 2008 AEM organised its first India International Premier Schools Exhibition showcasing 25 top-ranked boarding and international schools of India in Bangkok. The expo was a resounding success and since then, AEM has staged 108 Premier Schools Exhibitions in 12 countries abroad.

“It’s not well-known abroad that India hosts dozens of high-quality private schools offering the advantages of English-medium education, excellent infrastructure and climatic conditions for year-round sports and games, at one-fifth the price of private school education in Western countries. My objective was to help educate parents of the Indian diaspora about the advantages of India’s best and brightest schools through well-organised education exhibitions and conferences. Thanks to Afairs’ Exhibitions, India’s best schools have been able to admit students from across India and 12 countries abroad,” says Bolia.

During his 25-year distinguished career in the education expositions industry, Bolia has received many awards and encomiums including the International Star Award at the Exhibitions Excellence Award, New Delhi (2019) and the Entrepreneur Award 2017 of the India-Thai Business Association, Bangkok.

For his extraordinary innovation of education expositions to showcase India’s best education institutions in India and abroad, and for impacting India’s islands of education excellence upon discerning domestic and international publics, the Board of Directors and Editors of EducationWorld are privileged to present Sanjeev Bolia the EW Extraordinary Achievement in Education Leadership Award 2019 and induct him into the EW Hall of Fame of Indian Education.

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