Meet the man behind Green Valley Educational Institute

  • Mukeet Akmali
  • Publish Date: Feb 24 2019 3:30AM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Feb 24 2019 3:30AM
Meet the man behind Green Valley Educational InstitutePhoto: Kashmir Ink

Muhammad Yousuf Wani, chairman Green Valley Educational Institute Srinagar started from a scratch. In an interview with Special Correspondent Mukeet Akmali, Wani shares his journey and thoughts

 

 

Kashmir Ink: You started this institute at the beginning of turmoil about 30 years ago. Did you feel at that time it would be a successful venture?

 

Muhammad Yousuf Wani: I wanted to contribute something to my society. Education is something by which you can affect a change. My motive was to develop an institution which could provide best facilities to our students within Kashmir. When I established GVEI, it was the peak of turmoil, there was a vacuum in the education sector. Government schools were in disarray and missionary schools were out of bounds for common masses. I established Green Valley Education Institute on a small piece of land. I got tremendous support from educationists, people living in the vicinity of the school campus and friends. It was a daunting challenge. But with Allah’s help, today our school has a sprawling 80-kanal campus, with several buildings providing best infrastructure to students. My focus has always been on providing the best teaching to students. We have commissioned the latest technological interventions to make learning more diverse and at the same time enjoyable so that students can keep up with the pace of rest of the world.

 

KI: Take us through the early phase of your journey when the situation was not conducive.

 

MYW: I get nightmares recalling those days, but they paved way for success of the school. The area where our school is situated was the hotbed of armed conflict. I have so many times slept in school building without food and bedding. There were lots of challenges. I firmly believe that had there been any another person he would have sold his property and done some other thing. The only thing which kept me going was when students of our school go on to achieve great things in life. I believe that in their achievement there is a small contribution of our school which is our biggest achievement and biggest success.

 

KI: As most of the people nowadays prefer to enter in franchise business with outside brands, did you at any point of time think of joining hands with outside brands in education sector?

 

MYW: GVEI is the first and the only indigenous private educational institute in Kashmir with over 3600 students on roll. Be it academics, co-curricular activities or youth leadership, the school has created a niche. Unlike people who preferred to bring franchise of top schools to Kashmir, I believed in creating my own brand for the Valley because when you take the franchise of any brand you are simply doing business. But when you work hard to create your own brand from a scratch it gives you confidence, pride and most importantly love and respect among the people around you.

 

KI: What more can you tell us about GVEI?

 

MYW: GVEI was awarded by J&K government a green award for its contribution to environment. In the school campus polythene is banned and the students are taught never to use it at home or anywhere. We need to imbibe the true social and moral values among our children and that is our collective responsibility. We have a staff of over 500 including five principals, separate departments for Information Technology, Human Resources, co-curricular activities and science labs. GVEI is the first educational institute in the Valley which introduced Information Technology, be it smart classrooms, unique application to maintain the continuous interaction between teachers, students and their parents. In GVEI, we have full-fledged digital classrooms for kindergarten. We apply all the digital methods to teach them and immediately inform their parents about the homework of their kids, their status, etc. Employing IT is the need of time and we started this process way back in 2005 when I travelled to Tokyo and got inspired with same technology in schools there. In 2007, the GVEI got the best award for computer excellence for equipping the institute with digital gadgets for daily use. It is the first educational institute which installed CCTV cameras at the campus. The results of students are declared through a special application; attendance, performance and fee reports are also maintained digitally via this special in-house app. The moment student enters the school, their parents get informed through this app. Once they leave, parents are again updated through this app. It is to ensure complete transparency and accountability. The institute will soon set up a robotic laboratory to inculcate scientific temper among the students.

 

KI: Nowadays private schools are facing allegations that they over-charge fees. What do you have to say about it?

 

MYW: My take is that if you want quality one has to pay for it. See the salary of government teachers, when I hire a well-qualified teacher, I have to pay him accordingly. It is not possible for a private unaided school to provide quality education without charging good fee. If a private school charges Rs 2000 per student per month, in a class having 50 students, school will collect Rs 1 lakh a month. It has to employ services of at least 7 teachers, paying them an average Rs 12000, which means Rs 84000 is the cost of only teachers’ salary. Then there are other expenses such as wages of orderlies, electricity fee, upgradation cost. How on earth can private schools survive? It is a question which I ask everybody because we are not being aided by the government. Besides if private schools would not have been there, it would have meant that parents have to send their wards to outside places for good education. And a good school outside J&K charges Rs 20000 per month, which means a flight of capital.