Great institutions are built upon the foundation of strong values. The path to becoming the finest organization has always been strewn with bigger and bolder challenges. The responsibility falls upon leaders to immerse their staff, team members and stakeholders in the institutional values that deeply define who they are and what they stand for.
There are countless enterprises around the world that are doing amazing things and among them is a remarkable group whose main purpose is to nurture and educate young minds. Within this small band, only a select few are able to create and sustain organizational environments that resonate with their values and permeate the lives of those who they provide service to. Visionary leaders are able to drive their organizations forward on this challenging yet rewarding path. It is not often that we witness the rise of individuals who are so focused on their purpose that they shake up the status quo, especially in the area of education. One such individual who has constantly striven and still on a crusade to transform the scholastic sphere is Dato’ Nelson Renganathan.
Dato’ Nelson is the Founder of Regent International Schools in Malaysia. He opened his first school in 2011, which pioneered in providing affordable quality international education to primary and secondary school students. Dato’ Nelson is convinced that excellent world-class education must be made available to families at a very reasonable cost without sacrificing quality. 8 years and 4 more schools later, this fascinating trailblazer has made an indelible mark in the field of education in Malaysia and beyond.
This is Dato’ Nelson’s story in his own words:
A Symbol for Being an Admirable Educationist
“I have always seen my life and success in my career as a journey. It often happened that things did not work out the way I thought they should or the path that I imagined would lead me straight to my destination actually took many twists and turns. However, I did not consider these experiences as failures, but always moments of great learning. As I look back at the more than three decades of my career as an educator and founder of learning institutions, what I gained from the journey, the steps I have taken and the wisdom I have acquired along the way amounted to something greater than the goal itself.”
“It was during my work as a young research assistant when I realized where my heart belongs. I understood then that the pursuit of knowledge coupled with the guidance of able mentors could unleash powerful desires, creativity, and initiatives in people, especially idealistic and energetic young people. The power to change the course of our lives and influence the dynamics of our society is in our hands. I decided to be a teacher and pursue a life-long career in education. So I quit my job and taught in a school, and the rest is history.”
Institute with its Defining Morals
“Regent International School’s unique value proposition hinges on the “affordability” of the international education we provide and a the same time nurturing of values that are fundamental to families and communities we serve. As a Cambridge International School, we share the same curriculum as the other Cambridge accredited schools, and cost effectiveness is not a reason for us to compromise on quality. Over the years, our consistent successful results in internationally moderated examinations, specifically IGCSE assessments, bear testimony to our commitment to quality instruction and personalized learning.”
“Our goal is to prepare our students to be multi-dimensional individuals and equip them with the necessary skills sets and values intrinsic to global citizens. We set our students on a journey towards the destination they have defined for themselves and it deeply matters to us HOW they achieve their goals.”
“Regent students are profoundly shaped and defined by the twelve virtues we inculcate in them throughout their education with us. When they graduate from our schools, our students are recognized as global citizens who are well prepared to take on challenges and are known for their value systems. We expect every Regent student to be adaptable, compassionate, confident, courteous, creative, diligent, just, responsible, understanding, and a person of integrity and moderation.”
Enlightening its Students to be Next Leaders
“Everyone is a leader in his or her own right. The word “Regent” bears this conviction as it stands for “leader-in-waiting”. As we journey with our students, we work with them to draw out their giftedness and strengths. These qualities and abilities empower and impel them to get involved in matters of consequence that are bigger than themselves.”
“Schools are great socialization agents where students are constantly immersed in contexts where they are encouraged to OWN their personal progress and, at the same time, actively participate in a communal effort to grow together. Our schools are largely composed of students and teaching staff who come from different nations. This experience of diversity and at the same time belonging to one Regent family brings to fore the importance of tolerance and respect for one another. It is only by being in a community will our students be able to embrace their individuality and uniqueness, and those very same distinguishing qualities are what enriches everyone else.”
Instilling Positive Work Culture
“Our educators are crucial agents of change and perhaps the most important formators of young people after their families. A deep sense of ownership and pride in the institution among Regent educators and staff are essential to fostering deep bonds in educative community. A positive work culture is naturally formed when people in the organization share the same vision and values. When our partners believe that they have a stake in the company, when they feel valued and recognized for their contributions, they start to construct their future around the school and take initiatives that impact the growth and development of the organization. This climate will boost morale, heighten job satisfaction, and encourage collaboration and teamwork which then translate into increased efficiency and productivity.”
“In order to maintain this culture across all Regent International Schools, I created the Regent Advocacy for Identity and Mission (Regent AIM). Its primary objective is to deepen the awareness and understanding of the vision and mission of the organization among all stakeholders of the schools. It is to immerse them deeply and persistently in the core values of the organization so that everyone increasingly feels part of the Regent family.”
“In meetings and sessions I had with my educators, I would always emphasize the fundamental truth that teaching is not just a job; it must be seen as, and it truly is, a vocation. It is a profound life-choice that is deeper and bigger than ourselves. The mission of an educator is unlike any other profession. Educators are actively engaged in the present, but their eyes are locked firmly in the future. It requires our total commitment and devotion to mould young people into exemplary citizens of our nation and the world.
Perspective on Education Sector
“We are already at the beginning of a revolution. Dramatic changes are happening all around us and it is affecting how we live our lives, do our work, learn, communicate and relate with others. Our world is being fundamentally reshaped at an unimaginable speed, and the way we imagine our lives and our world is being disrupted. The main driver to all these is the rise of a range of new technologies that are fusing together almost all aspects of our lives. We have a term for this
and we call it the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). However we see this, whether it is a time of great peril or promise, the truth remains: change is upon us and we must adapt or perish.”
“The education sector, because of its monolithic character, experiences an inertia when it comes to changing with the times. We must move quickly to understand our changing world. Schools must be bold enough to embrace this world and prepare our students to be at home in it.”
A Message for Young Minds
“Love learning about our world and do not tire of searching for what is true, good and beautiful. Seek that which you love, find where your heart belongs and everything else will follow. You must have the tenacity to forge on despite the obstacles thrown at you along your journey. Dig deep into your being and get in touch with what is beautiful in your humanity and share it. Work to better yourselves at all times and help others to do the same. Avoid mediocrity.”
“Be mindful that while reaching your goal is important, how you get there shapes the kind of person you turn out to be. Be guided by the virtues of adaptability, compassion, confidence, courtesy, creativity, diligence, integrity, justice, moderation, perseverance, responsibility, and understanding. Be involved and interested in every aspect of life, our nation, and the world which in time you will inherit.”