Niyati Kanakia: A New-Age Edupreneur Travelingahead Of Time

Niyati Kanakia: A New-Age Edupreneur Travelingahead Of Time

Niyati Kanakia, Director

Niyati Kanakia


The date March 24, 2020, has been imprinted on our memory forever--the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a complete lockdown of the entire nation for 21 days to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a bolt from the blue for the educational sector, hosting a paradigm shift in the way we look at imparting education. However, the uncertainty looming worldwide didn't immediately hit the schools as students indulged in the summer vacation. But the unplanned break lingered for an incalculable time, and the educationalists were clueless about the immediate future of the academic year and education at large.

Niyati Kanakia (Director, RBK Educational Institutions), the young tech-savvy edupreneur, quickly adapted and moved the legacy RBK Educational Institutions to the cloud. Within shut-eye time, the panic gave way to new opportunities and a new world of redefined learning and pedagogy. It was not only that RBKEI started imparting education in the online mode, under the aegis of Niyati, but the schools also provided students with an online portal to share their work and discuss with their teachers. RBKEI went the extra mile by conducting online musical events, webinars, guest talks, and TEDx, among others, opening a new doorway for students' holistic development across its schools. 

Established in the year 2000 under the patronage of the Babubhai Kanakia Foundation, RBKEI has earned a distinct reputation over the past two decades as one of India's premier educational institutions providing international and national curriculum programs. Today, Niyati is steering RBKEI's diversification and growth toward making it a future-ready, young, and vibrant educational ecosystem.

After completing her Business Management studies in 2015 and laying a foundation for her business journey, Niyati embraced the educational realm and has been excellent in driving the institution's growth ever since. She also undertook law studies alongside working and completed her LLB degree during that time. A go-getter, Niyati banked on her work experience to conceptualize and give birth to Kanakia Kids Pre-school, along with expanding the current K-12 schools of RBKEI. CEO Insights is delighted to engage in an exclusive interaction with Niyati, who walks us through her professional journey, the latest endeavors of RBKEI, and much more. 

In conversation with Niyati Kanakia, Director, RBK Educational Institutions

What makes RBK Educational Institutions unique? How are you leveraging the best of emerging education opportunities for the school's growth?

Education at RBKEI helps learners become independent through innovative coursework and experiential learning.

We see ourselves as a community school where everyone knows everyone, and there is a culture of working on the strength of the community. Our parents regularly contribute to school learning, and there is greater consultation in shaping learning within the school. We stand out when it comes to equal emphasis on knowledge and skills. We educate our students to know their own rights as children through the UNCRC; various classes engage in child rights awareness activities as well.

The innovative architecture of the school is itself a facilitator for our students, be it digital classrooms, furniture, or ambiance. We are also introducing various beyond-the-curriculum events like Master Talk, Glocal Project, Horticulture, Internship programs, university placements, and so on. These innovative programs give our students the opportunity to step out of academics and interact with the real world.

How, according to you, has the educational sector evolved since the pandemic? What methods did you develop as the MD to cope with the challenges the pandemic presented?

The education sector had to undergo tremendous changes and, that too, as quickly as possible so as not to let the students fall behind in their academics. The initial days were challenging as the whole world was facing such a big catastrophe. But we quickly recognized the forthcoming challenges and took the right steps to adapt ourselves. We shifted from offline teaching to online education in a concise time frame. We also introduced a lot of online activities for our students so that we can keep them encouraged. These activities ranged from an online portal to a platform for sharing their work & having discussions with their teachers, online musical events, webinars, Guest talks, TEDx, and so on.

Technology would inevitably find a way into all works of life. The pace of technology integration has quadrupled during the pandemic, and it is here to stay. The education sector is seamlessly integrating technology in the classrooms with students and teachers well adapted to technology. This has made education more fun, interactive, and engaging.

What has been the success mantra that constantly helps you arrive at positive outcomes?

No work is easy. But if you genuinely love what you do and are truly passionate about achieving the goals you have set for yourself, then even the difficult times are worth it. These are the times that make you stronger and give you experience dealing with difficulties.

My mantra has been to be true to my vision and dream and keep pushing forward even on the days when I doubt myself and feel like giving up.

Tell us about the most effective methods and technologies you've introduced at RBK Educational Institutions to improve your students' learning experiences.

We believe that innovation and creativity cannot be promoted through standalone activities. Teachers are continuously building a culture of creativity and innovation by providing students the requisite agency to choose how they want to approach open-ended problems. This also goes beyond disciplinary domains and becomes more interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary in nature. The school has introduced a STEM program for primary classes, including Art/Research/Reading/writing,

We shifted from offline teaching to online education in a concise time frame. We also introduced a lot of online activities for our students so that we can keep them encouraged

christened as a STREAM program. Our STREAM program concentrates on solving open-ended problems, which thrives on understanding the interface of Science, Technology, Reading/Research/writing, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.

In your professional journey so far, which are the milestones that bestowed you with utmost satisfaction ­ both as an individual and as an industry leader?

On the professional level, the achievements of our learners and the school as a whole make me really proud. Some of these achievements include our students getting featured in the recently held International Baccalaureate Organizations Annual Conference in Singapore, where they depicted the life of Hellen Keller through a mime. Our students were among the top two percent of schools that excelled in the Climate Action project endorsed by scientists and organizations, including Jane Goodall, Amnesty International, Microsoft, WWF, NASA, and UNEP.

Our students have also won various awards in sports, innovation, Art, academics, and more. In the last academic year, our IB Diploma topper scored a perfect score of 45/45 and the next a 44/45. Our National curriculum students consistently score above 98 percent.

And at the individual level, my favorite milestones include starting Kanakia Kids, a completely play-based preschool across Mumbai, and introducing a unique talk show called Master Talk, where we invite successful people to chat with our students and inspire them. There are some of the achievements that have bestowed me with utmost satisfaction.

Going forward, what goals do you wish to invest in, and how do you plan to take them further?

Upgrading the facilities to reflect the upmarket image of the organization and a complete makeover to reflect the progressive nature is not just our vision but our day-to-day mission. This translates into image makeover with branding, enhancing curriculum offered, capacity building for staff, and accelerating the process of our already NEP-aligned schools to excel in interdisciplinary approach towards learning.

Niyati Kanakia, Director, RBK Educational Institutions

Niyati is the Director of RBK Educational Institutions catering to 10,000 students and the founder of Kanakia Kids, a network of new-age preschools offering play-based learning that nurtures 1,500 toddlers and preschoolers. Niyati's primary goal is to create open-minded, critical thinkers while fostering an environment for creativity and character development.She obtained her bachelor's in Business Management before pursuing an LLB from KC Law College. Through her own college and schooling experiences, Niyati developed an interest in the education sector when she witnessed a gaping need for quality programs in our country. A curious learner herself, she found a surging eagerness to bring world-class education to the young learners of India.

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