Business for good: Sydney’s Gopal Garg on helping teachers in rural India

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For Sydney entrepreneur Gopal Garg, education, charity, and business have all come together in a recent project that is seeing many thousands of lives directly impacted. 

By partnering up with Indian corporates that invest in educating underprivileged children, and Australian tutoring institutions, Mr Garg is responsible for training hundreds of Indian teachers in pedagogical methods and English-speaking skills.  

Speaking with Indian Link, Gopal Garg revealed that during his business trips to India he saw multiple big corporates deeply invested in changing the lives of underprivileged children, primarily girls in rural areas. 

 “While researching the charities that educate these young children, I found that the teachers who were mentoring and teaching the students needed to upskill, especially in their English language skills,” Mr Garg described. “These teachers working in rural and remote areas have limited or no access to international resources to learn teaching techniques in English. I had a clear objective which was to equip teachers in India with contemporary teaching techniques, a deeper understanding of teaching methodologies which they can put into practice in diverse classrooms.”  

Training sessions for the Indian teachers included recent topics like COVID-19, OTT platforms and the like. Source: Canva
Training sessions for the Indian teachers included recent topics like COVID-19, OTT platforms and the like. Source: Canva

To achieve this feat, Mr Garg’s company TruBizSol Academy tied up with the Mahindra Group’s charity foundation Nanhi Kali that supports the education of over 150,000 girls in India, and Deepalaya, an organisation that is deeply engaged in fighting illiteracy among underprivileged children all over northern India 

“The teachers from [Nanhi Kali] are all women from local communities who facilitate learning and mentoring students through their schooling, and also engage with parents and community stakeholders to create girl-friendly ecosystems,” Mr Garg said.  

“I then researched and selected one of the top English language institutes of Australia to provide teaching services, the Language Training institute (LTi). They are leaders in training teachers to teach English to non-English speakers and have been teaching English for 25 years in Australia and overseas,” he added. 

TruBizSol Academy invited seniors from Nanhi Kali and Deepalaya to become familiar with teaching formats and standards. Then, groups of 8-10 teachers were formed to create interactive learning environments. The classes conducted by LTi teachers focused on Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing, and Grammar skills divided into 6 one-hour sessions. 

Bharti Foundation (by Airtel group), have also approached Mr Garg to upskill over 500 teachers associated with their foundation school for the girl child. Source: Canva

READ ALSO: Meet the Aussie architects building anganwadis in India

While Mr Garg had a clear plan in mind, he faced challenges in executing the ambitious partnership.  

The fact that most of the teachers were based in remote areas exposed the major lack of personal digital devices and high-speed internet connectivity.  

“Eventually, we spoke to the executives at Nanhi Kali and asked if they could organise and permit the teachers to login and attend the sessions from the nearest Mahindra dealer office,” he said. 

Even arranging to pay teachers and staff coordinating with the Indian companies proved to be a hurdle. 

“Another big challenge was also that the organisations in India, even though they welcome the idea, found it hard to believe that we would provide these classes pro bono,” a surprised Mr Garg remarked. 

Teachers at Deepalaya who successfully completed their training. Image supplied.
Teachers at Deepalaya who successfully completed their training. Image supplied.

Although Gopal Garg had left India over two decades ago for a fresh start in New Zealand and then here in Australia, he still felt something lacking in his purpose. 

“Over the years, I have always wanted to help my community and country that has given me so much but never found the right channel,” Mr Garg mused.  

A great believer in using technology solutions for charitable purposes, Mr Garg finds these invaluable partnerships especially rewarding when he receives heartfelt ‘Thank you’ notes from teachers who have successfully completed their training.  

“I am overwhelmed to know that a small step towards education has turned into a big project, upskilling tutors and educators that have the most important job of supporting the education of about 500,000 underprovided children,” he said.  

READ ALSO: Aussie social worker struggles to keep Pune school afloat

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Bageshri Savyasachi
Truth-telling, tree-hugging journalist.

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