Making Indian education ‘student-friendly’: Meet the new-age Lord Macaulay

We all complain about the quality of teachers, school facilities and how Indian education needs to focus on learning. Each one of us is concerned about India’s future generation. We all know that there is an urgent need to bring in a revolution in the Indian Education System.

Here is a man who decided to make a difference rather than indulge in arm-chair discussions. Meet FRANCIS JOSEPH – Founder of The School Leader’s Network.

Francis Joseph
Francis Joseph – championing the cause of building student-friendly schools across India

His organization is backed by some of the biggest names in education, including Farzana DohadwalaDr. Swaroop Sampat Rawal, Sujay Jairaj, Ashok PandeyPremchand PaletyElsaMarie D’SilvaGVS PrasadDr. Shaji PrabhakaranDr. Reni FrancisPriya Samant.

School Leaders Network’s Mission:
To develop a positive & empathetic environment within a community of School Leaders; where they work for each other’s improvement; by learning from each other’s past, to sustain their present and be equipped for their future.

There are several articles that speak about his active contribution to school management, leadership development and his mission. I decided to introduce you to a lesser known facet of this magnanimous personality. Read on to know more about what makes FRANCIS JOSEPH an inspiration for us all.

What inspired you to start The School Leaders Network?
In 2011, when I stepped down from the role of a COO of one of India’s largest chain of schools, I was empathetic to the needs of the affordable private schools in the country as I believe India studies in these schools; and not in the 500+ international curriculum schools. This inspired me to start the School Leaders Network which aims to save such affordable private schools from being redundant and ordinary.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today, you are revolutionalizing school management and leadership. The readers are curious to know how your own school life was.
Being a shy and timid boy, I learnt from others and always wished to do tasks like others’. I hardly remember walking up to the stage for any performance or achievement. I was an average student till my college days.
When I became a teacher, my job compelled me to handle situations, people and children. They say circumstances make a man and that’s what happened to me. I had to break the ice of fear & failure every moment of the day. I never refused any opportunity and till today I maintain that stand. I firmly believe that opportunities come in a disguise and they should be handled as they come.

I never dreamed to be a teacher. After my schooling, I never believed that I would enter a school campus again. 

Tell us something about how you, an advertising professional, entered the field of education.
Immediately after my graduation, I joined a leading advertising agency in their creative team. But then the computer ‘bug’ bit me at a time when computers was just getting popular in India especially in education. That bug made me a school teacher. I never dreamt to be a teacher. After my schooling, I never believed that I would enter a school campus again. The not-so-inspiring experience of my schooling never encouraged me to be a teacher. Also, it was perceived as a very low career option. 

I learned that there a point when problems made you quit your career in education. What made you turn back?

Francis Joseph
Back to establishing schools at ground level in 2011 after leaving Ryan International.

The recession of end-1990’s affected the school industry and I moved to Kuwait in search of better opportunities in the area of HR & people management. Moving from school education to the corporate world was never easy. I almost felt like a fresher. I got back to wearing a tie; interviewing candidates and then slowly grew in my position as a specialist. I saw a ‘career low’ as a ‘opportunity’ and never allowed my previous days of glory in school education as a hurdle. That helped me to move faster up the ladder in my new HR profession. I waited for the right time and when the opportunity came up, I went back to my calling.

Moving from school education to a corporate world was never easy. I almost felt like a fresher. I waited for the right time and when the opportunity came up, I went back to my calling.

What kept you going through all the low phases of your life?

Francis Joseph parents
My parents with all their grandkids.

Having a vision and horizon of achievements has made me march ahead at all times. It is important to go through a low phase of life as they strengthen you every time you fail or fall down. My family stood with me when the world turned their back on me. I didn’t waste my time blaming the ‘reasons’; as they were a futile exercise. I just moved on jumping over failures in search of a better day.

I dream of a day when I can just disconnect from all my professional tasks; to be with my family as a whole being.

How different are you in your professional life from your personal life? Tell me something about your role as a husband, son, brother, friend.
Well, it’s so difficult being the same. I love to be pampered by my family; while as my professional I inspire others. I look for inspiration from my family as they are my biggest source of energy. They make me enjoy my profession. I am led by my partner at home. She is an awesome leader who curates me with all values and principles. Unfortunately, I waste a lot of my time completing my professional tasks during personal time; and always look at ways to improve my self in this area. I dream of a day when I can just disconnect from all my professional tasks; to be with my family as a whole being.

What does a typical day in your life look like?
13450071_10154274256819921_3739124342339730411_nI start my day reading the newspaper both online and print, with a sweet cup of tea. Then take time to wish all my kids off to school and college. I then watch over my schedule for the day and try to finish off few of my pending emails. I always schedule my meetings starting from 10.00 a.m. and then they continue right till evening. I always make it a point to avoid meetings beyond 7 p.m. and rush back to my family for a dinner time together. I usually wind off my day by 11 a.m.; after watching TV with the family.

Do you believe in God? What is your relationship with God?
I completely believe in God and trust that HE leads me in my work. I don’t plan what I would speak in any of my meetings or conferences; just pray for God’s presence to speak through me. And it works the best. God whispers and corrects my path all through the day. So, I am completely hand-in-hand with God. As a family, we ensure that we pray together in the morning and in the evening. And it happens by turn between us. Asking for forgiveness for any wrong actions, thoughts or deeds and thanking God for all the comforts won’t be missed in any of our prayers. I turn to God in times of adversities.

God whispers and corrects my path all through the day. So, I am completely hand-in-hand with God.

Who is your role model? What qualities of your role model did you apply in your real life?
I have several role models in my life. They kept adding upon over years. One of my key role model is St. Francis of Assisi a saint who served the poor. The life and teachings of St. Francis of Assisi have great relevance to the many problems that we face today.
Dr. Augustine Pinto and Madam Grace Pinto, the owners of the Ryan group were also instrumental in making me what I am today. Without their mentoring, I would have remained the same shy school boy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dr. Augustine Pinto and Madam Grace Pinto, the owners of the Ryan group were also instrumental in making me what I am today.

What does marriage mean to you? What is the role your spouse has played in your career journey?

11043055_10153109408959921_1351748985927118790_n
My wife Reni is the lighthouse in my life.

I can’t imagine not being married to my spouse Reni. Marriage is a beautiful opportunity to systemize one’s life. Reni has grown to be one of my strongest and most inspiring mentor. I believe that she has a better capability of ‘seeing through” life and that’s a big plus for me. I land up trusting wrong situations; and her advice is a like a lighthouse for me. She has supported the growth of my family and children considering that I am compelled to travel so much for work. She never lets them feel my absence and is a bonding force within our family. I thank God for planting her in our life.

 

Marriage is a beautiful opportunity to systemize one’s life. Reni has grown to be one of my strongest and most inspiring mentor.

Is there something you would like to tell the readers? A message that would help them achieve the acme of success just like you did?
Understand one’s purpose in life and work tirelessly for it.  Learn to remain busy always; without worrying about your gain. That just follows at the right juncture. 

Here is where you can reach Francis Joseph:

School Leaders Network: +91 98219 49722 | Ph: 022 – 2522 0884 | Email: info@slnindia.com | Facebook

—As told to Mayura Amarkant

Is there a question or a message that you wish to convey to Francis Joseph? Let me know in the comments section. If you felt this post will make a difference to the education system in India, please help by sharing the post.
—-
This is my Day 19 post for Ultimate Blogging Challenge  #DailyChatter through the amazing @BlogChatter community of bloggers

—–
This is the nineth interview in the #StayInspired series. Here are the rest:

  1. #StayInspired – 1: Dreams keep people alive
  2. #StayInspired: Marriage is a warm & intimate cocoon
  3. #StayInspired: Born today, 4 Inspiring people
  4. #StayInspired: When I was 13, my grandma wanted to marry me off
  5. #StayInspired: God rejected my death
  6. #StayInspired: Meet the Dhoni of Indian Corp Comm & PR
  7. #StayInspired: He is the original TaxiMan of India.

  8. #StayInspired: The ‘Vamana’ of Alternative Medicine
Advertisements

48 comments

  1. Francis Joseph’s humility is evident in just one statement that he makes “God whispers and corrects my path all through the day”. I have had the privilege of meeting him at Riverside, and he truly is an inspirational Educationist. God Bless him, and may he succeed in his mission to save affordable private schools from becoming redundant and ordinary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Francis Sir what an inspiring self pportrait story. I actually had a goose bumps while I was reading. Hats off to your dedication and vision. You are true role models for Educators , Teachers who always strive to do something different in field of edu. May God bless you with long life so that in coming years we can actually see a revolution in field of edu sector for betterment.

    Like

  3. Francis has an inner eye for connecting to goodness. He draws out the best in the people , he interacts with. Always full of respect for all, he is a people’s person. I also enjoy the subtle sense of humour and an acute sharpness in assessing situations. He seems to have big dreams now, an example to the idea of , you are never too old to dream. Nita Arora, Sri VIS, Sector 18, Dwarka, New Delhi

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Francis has the ability to motivate people to look at possibilities. ..He has a vision for education and has been a source of inspiration to many of us educators. The article gave a clear picture of this leader among leaders.

  5. It was so very nice to read about Mr. Francis. I am curious of what his philosophies and ways are all about? And what is his vision for education systems? What does he think is going wrong and what is the solution? What is one thinh he would he like to tell teachers of schools around India? Also making quality education affordable, would he like share mire thoughts on that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Prerna, Thanks for your comment. I personally believe that there has to be equal involvement of a teacher and a parent to make “learning” happen. Both of these stakeholders need to work together. I aim to bring this closer as a improvement area. Secondly, none of the school leaders collaborate or work together to rise together. and Finally to ensure that we build on our past to develop our future. Every school has to remain connected to their roots in search of best practices. They are all hidden within.

      I always the teachers to role model and be a “parent” to the child. Schools are all about relationships and we should create it as a space which nurtures relationships.

      To make education affordable, we need to bring policies which crash down the rates of reserved lands for schools; and fix a “fee band” as per the money invested. Fees shouldn’t be allowed to increase without any valid data point and should not vary as per their pincode. Write to me on my email and we can chat further

      Liked by 1 person

What do you think of this post? Leave a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s