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Teacher training evangelist: Rishabh Khanna

EducationWorld May 2021 | People

Rishab Khanna is the founder-CEO of surasaa.com, an edtech platform providing internationally benchmarked teacher development programmes in India and abroad. Designed and developed by Les Transformations Learning Pvt. Ltd, a company registered in Karnal, Haryana, surasaa.com was launched in 2018 and provides online teacher training and professional development programs to aspiring and in-service educators in India, Dubai and the UK.

Newspeg. After a hiatus of three years during which the company proved the efficacy of its suraasa.com platform in Dubai and the UK, Les Transformations established its first India teacher development centre in Bengaluru in early 2021. Simultaneously, the company has launched two new India specific programs — Certificate in Teaching (Assessment and Evaluation) and Award in Teaching (Online Teaching & Learning) — customised to meet the objectives of the recently released National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

History. A mechanical engineering graduate of the privately-promoted Manav Rachna University, Faridabad, Khanna began his professional career in 2008 as a software development professional with the bluechip ICT multinational, HCL Ltd. However, his entrepreneurial instinct led him to search a “more fulfilling option”. He went solo and promoted Les Transformations in 2010.

In 2013-14, the company was selected by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) — India’s largest national school-leaving exams board — for a capacity building programme of teachers. Under this project, Les Transformations trained around 20,000 teachers. This assignment, along with experience of training over 50,000 teachers across India, provided his team with valuable insights into the skill deficits of teachers and prompted him to rope in his brother Ankit, an engineering alumnus of NIT, Jalandhar, to jointly design and develop a sophisticated online teacher training and development platform christened surasaa. com, in early 2018.

Direct talk. “My investigative study of education systems around the world over five years indicated that while in developed OECD countries governments and school managements ensured that teachers received 100-150 hours of training per year to acquaint them with new teaching-learning technologies and pedagogies, in India teachers averaged a mere 6-10 hours of formal training annually. In 2018, after working with over 1,200 schools in India, we discerned an opportunity in Dubai where early acceptance of our teacher education programs by school managements, teachers and the Knowledge & Human Development Authority (KHDA) prompted us to shift our training delivery operations to Dubai. Later we forayed into the UK market and initiated our operations in London. However, our interest in the huge, high-potential Indian market for professional development of educators has been re-ignited after release of the new National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 which accords high importance to teacher training,” says Khanna.

Currently, Les Transformations employs 50 full-time and an equal number of gig employees and faculty on its muster rolls and has trained over 100,000 teachers around the world. Prices range from Rs.10,000 for short-term two-weeks programmes to Rs.3 lakh for annual courses.

Future plans. Having acquired valuable expertise and experience in quality-conscious and demanding markets abroad, Khanna has refocused his attention on India’s 9.8 million K-12 teachers who in his opinion urgently need to update and upgrade their professional skills.

“Two important developments in Indian education are finalisation of NEP 2020 and a renewed interest within the teachers’ community to develop their skills and competencies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our teacher-growth focussed professional development programmes, designed to help them shed fear of online education and new pedagogies, are perfectly positioned to be accepted and appreciated by the teachers. Therefore, the future is bright for us and India’s teachers to dramatically improve learning outcomes in K-12 education,” says Khanna.

Fair winds! 

Autar Nehru (Delhi)

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