Question 1: Could you briefly tell us about yourself?

I am the Education Advisor to the State of African Diaspora and is well known for being humble, dedicated, and God-fearing. Committing to encouraging the global movement that inspires to turn consciousness into action at the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development is a few of my objectives. A belief to treat all living beings with respect and consideration prevails to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living is what I preach.

Apart from being Indian Peace Ambassador for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, I am a server on board of one dozen global firms in the academic sector and have collaborated for years with many international educational organizations to develop specialized programs being run for the uplifting of the African people. I have marked milestones with the pedestals of rich academic and professional experience and a young budding intellectual scholar in the education service industry. Also, Swadeshi’s business and products are what I support falling in nexus with the thought process of our Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji.

Question 2: What attracted you to Africa and her educational system? 

Africa ! Feels like home and I have loved the way Africa has always hosted me. The cost of living in Africa is considerably lower than developed nations. The remuneration packages are quite attractive. For a business person like me as an investor, there is a huge scope of growth as many of the african countries are rich in natural resources.

On the other hand, being an educationist , the good news on education in Africa is that out-of-school numbers have fallen dramatically over the past decade.  The elimination of school fees, increased investment in school infrastructure, and increased teacher recruitment have all contributed to the change. I want to flow with the change and become a part of development is what I would like to add.

Question 3: In your role as an Education Advisor to the State of African Diaspora. What are your major achievements since your appointment? 

I as a member and education advisor of the African Diaspora and We, all ministers and MP together as a part of the constitution working on all initiatives of the Parliament in all sectors of activities ranging from agriculture, education, healthcare, cultural and human rights, economy and social issues, etc believe towards Africa’s empowerment especially with respect to education, skill development and employment.

While working on a  project named “Cyber future academy” in Africa, I have promoted education through various programmes in the most remote and marginalized areas of Africa. We ensure and strongly believe that the benefits of the Right to Education reach the most deprived children.

Also,  focus on the most important aspect to boost the spread of education is to spread awareness amongst the parents and the communities and every child needs education.

I also feel proud to announce the latest update (Groundbreaking initiative) – launch of New Diaspora ID on African Liberation Day by the State of the African Diaspora (SOAD) and the Economic Community of the 6th Region (ECO-6). This new ID is to create a new citizenship and common unity for the Afro-descendant members of the African Diaspora.

With me , the real aim of education is  to enable the students to learn HOW TO THINK and not just WHAT TO THINK. They are trained to focus not on the problem but on the solution.

Success of a country depends upon the success of its people and People can succeed

only if they are able to get the exposure required to become competitive.

Question 4: How are you enabling innovators to revolutionize education especially in Africa? 
First small step already taken includes changing the definition of classroom based training to online sessions and webinars. An approach towards technological innovations  (traditional to smart learning environment) using digitalisation  technology is the path adopted. Here teachers can now engage their students in a more personalized, individual manner rather than the traditional, one-size-fits-all approach.

And to promote education and help the African youth take concrete steps towards their dreams, I, in the capacity of Vice President- On Sky Global is extremely happy to announce 100% Scholarship Scheme for 200 Students, no fee will be charged except for the registration fee and they will be given support & ample guidance to complete our courses and enhance their CV with international qualification. I also believe and am contributing to make Education should be the top development agenda.

Question 5: Could you mention some of your projects in Africa and its impacts? 

In May 2014, I volunteered to go to Kigali, Rwanda (East Africa) leaving USA (California) to help a new University and agreed to hold the post as Director and later a year, promoted as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration and Finance), as the principal administrative officer of the University. When I was in Africa, I continued to manage the foundation using ICT and communicating to all stakeholders online.

I served as an independent consultant and program content developer (and mostly pro bono) and organized capacity building training programs to governments and private organizations in the area of (a) education, skills training (b) public administration (c) good governance, and (d) leadership. I traveled to many countries to provide various workshops and seminars.

Have also developed the School of Postgraduate Studies Vision and Mission (Curriculum Statements, Prospectus and 2 year Strategic plan, 2014 for an university. Being in Africa also includes conducting training on “Developing Institutional Corporate and Strategic Work Plans”, Rwanda, Uganda & Nigeria , 2015-2016. I have also established a presence and promoted programs under scholarship schemes to many nations in the East, West, Central and Southern African region . I would also like to mention that I had participated and presented an ICT strategic plan in five days Quality Improvement Program of Entrepreneurship Development sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education in  Kigali, 20th – 24th July 2015. (Rwanda – ICT plan)

Question 6: The current global crisis is changing the face of education especially in Africa. What adaptive solution will you proffer?
The world of education is threatened and is at a juncture. One path leads back to where things were before the COVID-19 crisis, a system that, by and large, has been in place for the last 200 years. The other path concentrates on much more investment in education but also on student wellness while doing whatever can be done to ensure that learning is happening not just through test scores and output but by being more closely connected to the psychological and emotional realities of learners. Let us aim for the path of wisdom. As the ancient proverb says: the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now. It’s not too late.

Question 7: What is the future of education in Africa post Covid-19?
It is clear that technological innovations such as content management systems (CMS), learning management systems (LMS), and internet use have become a part of the DNA of higher education in Africa. These innovations, like COVID-19, have come to alter teaching and learning pedagogies.

Question 8: What advice would you give African leaders (political and business) on why education is a critical component to Africa’s development?
The future of education must seek to amplify humanity’s greatest evolutionary advantage: its ability to collaborate flexibly in very large numbers across time and place. Both biology and history teach us that we cannot solve problems and flourish alone and in isolation. Enhancing social cohesion both at the local and global levels must become a core objective of education particularly if, as seems likely, internationalism and global collaboration end up as casualties of the current crisis. Our education future must include active steps to bring the world together across all forms of the divide—political, cultural, social, and economic. This will require us to once again put ethics and values at

the core of the education enterprise.

Question 9: What is your advice to African youths and entrepreneurs?   

A famous proverb says, " if the cow gives milk as healthy food, why ask

whether she is black or white;

Our skills should become our identity. We should encourage the youth to keep on

learning new skills and implementing the same in their career. bcos we will be known for our skill & the value we will be able to derive to the nation. It will not be about who we are, but it will be then what we are;

I think in Africa there are a lot of young entrepreneurs who have great ideas but never get noticed or past the small-scale level. I think one reason is that they poorly position themselves and the organization. They don’t know how to tell their story. They don’t know how to create their brand. And I think that is also very important

Question 10: Kindly tell us one of your favorite destinations in Africa? Why? 

Oh Yes! With no doubt it’s Rwanda – The Land of Thousand Hills where I lived and spent 3 years. Many beautiful memories associated, I consider it as my second home. I love this country and its people to the core.  After traveling to more than 20  countries in Africa, I find this is the safest country to live and quite easy to do business. Also stable, good governance (inspired and touched by the good governance of the His Excellency President Paul Kagame who inherited Rwanda that had been torn apart by Geonicide. Under his leadership, the country is now very stable, prosperous, unified and in large part, reconciled. Social services, such as education, healthcare, housing and livestock are provided to the needy, with no distinction of ethnicity or region of origin . More power to the country and its people.

There are infinite reasons to love Rwanda. I have plans to spend my retirement in presigitious Rwanda and look forward to visiting them soon.

Bio : 

Dr. Varun Gupta is an Education Advisor to the State of African Diaspora. Apart from being Peace Ambassador – for UN SUSTAINABLE GOALS, he is an Executive Director – VQENA (an NGO that is working on the 4th principle of the UNITED NATIONS – Quality Education). Being an educator as well as being the  Vice president OSG, he offers Scholarships with a belief in educating everyone everywhere.