Suraj Khatri: A Transcendental Visionary Transforming UAE’s EdTech via Tutor Doctor

Suraj Khatri | Tutor Doctor UAE

Transformation happens to educate the present generation and successfully solve real-life problems of their future. All that revolution need is an awe-inspiring, far-sighted leader like Suraj Khatri, the Head of Operations at Tutor Doctor UAEan EdTech academy revamping UAE’s educational environment. He’s had a long and burgeoning career in India, UAE, and other countries working at the top levels of several global ventures. He was formerly the UAE CEO of Water and Shark–a decade old – an international consulting firm.

He has helped several companies design and revolutionizes their systems and operations.

He is a dynamic leader with adept entrepreneurial skills, an appetite for learning, and a bent for social progress. After helping several companies transform and redefine their business models, he decided to take his skills to EdTech to help revitalize the industry.

Since joining Tutor Doctor UAE, Suraj has brought on board numerous educators who share the same vision as him. He has been working on gradually positioning Tutor Doctor as the primary alternative education firm in the UAE.

On the Quest of Life-Long Learning

When asked what professional qualities and values he thinks his clients, colleagues, and employees admire in him the most, Suraj reflects his humblest self, “I think that’s a question you should ask them. It may be conceited to speak for my clients or colleagues. But based on the dynamics I share with both groups, I’d like to believe that we’re peers made from the same cloth.

I like to work with people who aren’t just in the industry because they’re educators by default, but because they’re learners by personality. And I think that’s the quality that they like and admire in me the most. My taste for life-long learning and desire to impart education is something both me and my colleagues take pride in.”

Present and Future’s Educational Bridge

While briefing on the USPs of the firm, Suraj says that Tutor Doctor’s primary purpose is to bridge the gap between the current education system and the future of education. He feels, “We believe that the future of learning is highly personalized and self-paced.”

Rather than expecting students to study theory from a textbook, at Tutor Doctor, they are encouraged to understand the practicality of the concepts they’re learning. Suraj says, “A textbook will teach you what a semiconductor is and how to make a computer chip, but it won’t tell you how to apply that knowledge in the wake of an overt chip shortage and the need to reduce chip sizes. To crack this, you need critical thinking skills, which have to be developed. Education needs to train students’ minds to be solution-oriented rather than plain pencil pushers.”

Open-Minded Learning via Virtual Gamification

And so, when teaching them, team Tutor Doctor also uses a lot of open-ended systems like CK12, Khan Academy, Crash Course, etc. There are also a lot of open platforms for gamification that convert topics into visually attractive games to help students with retention. Tutor Doctor uses a lot of these games and competitions to teach students.

“Every student benefit from personalized learning and our tailor-made program. Our process gets real results that the child will be thrilled about. Our Processes and systems are what position us to become market leaders in the EdTech industry,” expresses Suraj.

Elaborating further on Tutor Doctor’s distinctive brand offerings that make it stand out in the UAE’s knowledge economy, Suraj says, “Our firm offers in-person and online education services to students and young professionals. Our mission is to positively impact a student’s career trajectory.”

Controlling Advantage to Gen Z

According to Suraj, the demand and interest in formal education are falling worldwide due to student loan debt worries, rising school-tuition costs, and a strained job market. There are numerous surveys by Microsoft and Harvard Business Review discussing how ‘Gen Z’ doesn’t find a college degree integral to its success anymore.

Apart from the obvious economic factors, a lot of this degree-aversion is also coming from the tedium of standardized curriculum in schools that leave students overworked and over-burdened with projects and tests in subjects that they have little interest in.

Tutor Doctor’s goal is to bring back this waning demand for education by letting students choose their subjects and learning hours. “It’s about giving back control of their education to them,” states Suraj.

Tech-Targeted Personalized Pedagogy

As an experienced leader, sharing his opinion on how adopting modern technologies like AI and ML impacts the EdTech industry and how Tutor Doctor is adapting to the change, Suraj shares that modern technology has made it possible to provide targeted and personalized education. Industries such as healthcare and education were earlier designed on a one-scheme-fits-all system. Schools and universities were expected to strictly follow the curriculum planned out for each class irrespective of students’ learning capabilities and Caliber’s. Suraj adds, “Of course, this standardized form of teaching held merit back then because we needed a more labor-intensive workforce for development.” And schools were a great way to supply the growing economy with disciplined and uniformed workers.

But now situations have changed. “As I mentioned earlier, we need professionals who can think on their toes, not just lug around work like conformist machines.

As a result, in the past decade or so, we have seen a lot of alternative education institutes prop up around the globe,” informs Suraj, adding that these institutes, like Tutor Doctor, are all about bringing personalized learning to students to create well-groomed people for the future of work.

He says, “For this, AI and ML have worked in our favor. Tutor Doctor has been able to adapt to it quite well, in fact. We use adaptive assessment tools to understand student Calibre and potential, and plot scattered graphs of average scores across the globe.” With embedded machine learning, the LMS can create personalized study plans for students and adapt the difficulty levels of questions and chapters based on their performance.

Solving Problems by Evolving Parallelly

While their paths and plans are well laid out, Suraj accepts that it would be vain to say that they don’t face challenges. Embedding new technology in learning systems and finding the right balance between human tutoring and AI testing is always onerous. He puts, “It’s not like we can say let’s have one-on-one tutors for 75% of the course and AI tests for 25%.” Because that would defeat the very purpose of personalization.  Every student needs different levels and hours of interaction plus testing. So the challenge lies in correctly identifying the needs of each student. This is a continuous process. “Every time we think we’re able to safely predict what most students need, there comes one kid with a surprisingly different Calibre that throws us back to the drawing board,” reveals Suraj.

According to him, the only way to overcome these challenges is to constantly evaluate and redraw learning systems. “We need to make sure the type of teaching, testing, and technology that we provide is evolving parallelly with student Calibres and macro tech,” he proposes.

Basically, a format designed to provide specific training to each kid.

An Enduring Wisdom Loop

His advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the EdTech space is futuristic. He says, “I believe in the ‘learning cycle’.” It implies that whatever you learn as a child and as a young adult, you should pass on to future generations. Just like your seniors and elders passed their knowledge to you, you pay it further to your juniors and heirs. And when they grow up and reach leadership positions, they will do the same. When the future is educated, it creates resources and systems that help the older generations in return. That completes the cycle.

“I advise all budding entrepreneurs, leaders of tomorrow, and my peers to be a part of this cycle. To be a lifelong learner. Give opportunities to younger generations to learn more. By helping them advance their future we are in turn preparing them to look after our future,” feels Suraj.

Inculcating Skills of Tomorrow

For the future, Suraj envisions bringing every student in the UAE under the personalized learning system. Tutor Doctor has already brought thousands of kids under its wing and it want to expand that number to millions in the coming months and years. Currently, a lot of the UAE learning systems are also self-paced. “And we want to make sure that we are thoroughly aligned with the new-age systems of the country,” he furthers.

And adds, “While we scale our business, we plan to multiply our offerings to cover as many subjects and skills as possible so that we can provide our students with all the tools they need to learn the skills of tomorrow.”

The Enlightening Winds of Passion

Finally, when probed about what qualities/traits a prominent business leader should possess, Suraj accords that ‘Passion is the primary trait. “Without that, you’re just another worker doing a job,” he says, concluding, “A business leader needs to have passion for his field of work; passion for learning the ever-evolving tricks of the trade; and passion for innovation in this technology-driven world.”

Surely, through his personality and leadership aura, Suraj reflects all these qualities profoundly.

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