Beas Dev Ralhan – The Bold Visionary Who Shaped Next Education
Beas Dev Ralhan Co-founder & CEO Next Education India | the education magazine

‘Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make, makes you’ – This quote best describes Beas Dev Ralhan, the co-founder and CEO of Next Education India Private Limited. Hailing from Hoshiarpur in Punjab, from a very young age, Beas wanted to be a storyteller and was interested in comedy. However, his dreams started crumbling when his father’s once-prosperous business began to falter. He had to choose between his passion for storytelling and a stable job to support his family. He chose the latter because even at an early age, he understood that one should make the best use of available resources. Little did he know that this life lesson would help him chart a course in becoming a great leader and a successful businessman.

The Moulding of the Genius
During his days at the IIT Bombay, Mr Ralhan realized that to make an impact on modern society, one has to build companies supported by the latest technologies and utilize the power of the Internet. So, while pursuing an integrated Master’s course in chemistry at the IIT, he trained himself in computer science as well. He worked on projects for local cable operators to understand the mindset of technology entrepreneurs. The driving force to do something worthwhile for society led him to collaborate with several IIT alumni to work on numerous B2C ventures.
Mr Ralhan’s career took him to the US, where he worked for Infosys for three years and later for PartyGaming, an FTSE firm in Europe, as the Head of Research (Technology). His tenure at PartyGaming enabled him to gain an understanding of mergers and acquisitions, capital allocation discipline, and technology research. His desire to acquire more knowledge in business management led him to pursue an MBA from the London Business School.
Raveendranath Kamath, a friend, and colleague at PartyGaming shared the same vision as Mr Ralhan. Both of them desired to employ technology to make a social impact in India. In 2007, a focused market study helped both of them realize that the Indian education sector was least impacted by technology. With technology as their ally, they wanted to devise innovative methods to make education accessible and affordable for all. Thus, was born Next Education with a vision to transform education to suit the requirements of today’s learners.

Mr Ralhan’s Vision for the Education Sector
For Mr Ralhan, entrepreneurship in the education sector was never about money-making alone. Keeping an organic approach towards academics to make learners future-ready and not just well-equipped for competitive exams was all his aimed for which later has become the core USP of Next Education. Seamless integration of content for effective learning and instruction and smart administrative solutions for improved planning and reporting has made the company one of the finest end-to-end education solution providers in the country.
Mr Ralhan believes that the school environment ought to be conducive for the all-around development of students. Imparting just the subject matter knowledge through a traditional teaching-learning approach is not enough to make the new generation learner future-ready. According to him, schools today should have innovative pedagogies and cutting-edge technology to help learners handle the challenges of their future professional lives as well as to develop 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and problem-solving capabilities. Facilities such as a well-stocked library, extracurricular activities like sports, inter-school events, extempore, opportunities for peer interaction among others need to be incorporated for children as well.

Next Education: The Success Story of Mr Ralhan

Like other start-ups, Next Education faced multiple challenges in the course of its journey. But under the able guidance of Mr Ralhan and Mr Kamath, the company successfully navigated and got past those hurdles to become the premier education
solution provider in India.
Earlier, most academicians were unaware of the teaching methods suited for digital learning. But the trained and highly efficient subject matter experts of Next Education have successfully designed a robust curriculum to challenge this issue. In 2010, Next Education introduced its flagship product, TeachNext, a digital classroom solution that aims to enhance the learning experience. More than 66,000+ classrooms in India have been equipped with TeachNext and its carefully crafted and graphically enriched content. The company also launched the self-learning solution, LearnNext, with the aim of promoting new-age learning strategies to and enhancing learning outcomes in today’s students.
Next Education has delivered several forms of change and innovation via the K-12 business model. For instance, the multimedia content has short learning modules of 8-10 minutes each instead of lengthier book-like content so that they can be seamlessly incorporated into a class time of 45 minutes. This allows all other requisites of a classroom like discussion, teacher’s explanation, activities and assessments to be conducted within one period. Next Education also invests heavily in research and development to ensure that the content is of the highest quality. Besides the inclusion of traditional 2D and 3D animations, deployment of real-life videos makes the content more credible. The content has been crafted carefully as to be intelligible to Indian students who have learned English as a second language. The narration of our digital content is paced appropriately and delivered in a neutral accent.
Furthermore, whereas most players in the market use just a server mode to deploy their content, in the case of Next Education, the content can be accessed and played even on a local machine when the main server is down. The company is also committed to providing quality hardware support to all our clients. It has over 800 technical supportengineers placed all over India who address our clients’ tech-related problems within 5-7 business days. It has taken time to achieve the position of being the leading education services provider in the industry.
Mr Ralhan understood that merely developing good content is not enough; to enhance learning, educators need more time away from their myriad administrative responsibilities. Therefore, the company developed an integrated school management solution, NextERP, a one-stop solution for school administrators. Of late, the company has launched Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), initially in collaboration with IIT Bombay and now flying solo, to train K–12 educators on the best practices in teaching as a first-of-its-kind initiative in India. Over the years, a curriculum on the framework of the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) theory which defines the best teaching instructional strategies has been designed by Nextians.
The organization firmly believes in imbibing all relevant 21st-century skills in today’s learners and incorporating several innovative learning strategies in the products. Thus, after 12 years of tireless efforts towards fulfilling this vision, it provides a gamut of comprehensive solutions for all the major academic and administrative requirements today, which includes Augmented Reality products, NextLabs (hands-on approach to learning STEM subjects and language), KODA- a gamified coding solution, Adaptive Assessments, the Learning Management System, NextERP (the school management solution), MEER, Micro: Bit enabled educational robot and so forth.

Looking into the Future

Throughout the years, Next Education has maintained a personalized approach to education. With the gradual integration of robotics, artificial intelligence etc., the organization is now reaching new heights. It is spreading globally and looking forward to creating an impact on international education scenario as well. According to Mr Ralhan, the company now has made significant inroads in the Middle East education sector, one of the success stories being our academic partnership with Woodlem Park School in Ajman and Qatar.
Mr Ralhan once said, ‘Taking risks is necessary to reach great heights.’ His ventures always reflect what a big-time risk-taker he is. Whenever it comes to experimenting with new ideas, he has always gone ahead and taken up the challenge. Encouraging new ideas, trusting Nextians with their abilities, giving them the space to think independently and implement ideas to create something innovative and accepting results with an open mind has made him a great leader. Though he did not become a professional storyteller, his sincere attempts to improve the Indian education system is helping the next generation script a better future.

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