Hear from Md. Golam Rafsan Jani, Founder & President of Education Entrepreneurs Society (EES).
When and how did the idea of Education Entrepreneurs Society (EES) come into being?
I firmly believe that everybody wants to make a change, to make a difference. I found that the youth has many ideas to change the educational situation in Bangladesh, they aspire to work for education. They just need a platform. I came up with an idea to build that platform where we can fuel these ideas, projects, and programs. In the mid-2017, I build a team of 30 members from the University of Dhaka and started to plan an idea quest with the help of the honorable faculty members from the Institute of Education and Research, University of Dhaka. Education Entrepreneurs Society (EES) is that platform. It was the very first educational entrepreneurship idea quest in Bangladesh where we got a huge response. EES is now an independent organization.
What was your mission at the outset?
From the outset, our mission was to ensure a sustainable and effective education system where youth will design their learning system. They can harness the educational thoughts into entrepreneurial ideas to serve the nation. They will see themselves as change agents who will be able to visualize possibilities. They will be serving as catalysts for change that will deliver current public educational systems from a status quo that results in unacceptable educational outcomes for too many children.
What is the recruitment process?
Currently, we are recruiting members for our EES Student Network only from the University of Dhaka. From the year 2020, we are going to open the membership for students from all over Bangladesh. Besides, we will start recruiting employees and interns for our organization from the next year. We have a two-step recruitment procedure for the members of the Student Network; an interview session and a workshop session.
What is unique about your organization?
I strongly believe that the main hope of a nation lies in the education of its youth. Many of us are claiming that our education system is not good and are clamoring for a change. But we are groping around in the dark being unable to pinpoint the exact changes required and the pathway to achieving that. But no real direction is achieved despite efforts. I think our youth is the key here. They can bring changes. They can illustrate the picture- how they want to be taught. They can change the world through education. The unique point of Education Entrepreneurs Society (EES) is- it’s working with the youth, for the youth to bring their educational ideas and support them in their path of the idea to implementation. It also promotes a vibrant education entrepreneurship ecosystem.
What was the last thing you learned?
At present, I am studying about Design Thinking. What I learned is- Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. At the same time, Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is a way of thinking and working as well as a collection of hands-on methods. Design thinking concept often plays a vital role in a variety of disciplines—engineering, social sciences, medicine, and education.
What are your future plans?
I am very open to whatever opportunities the future may hold, especially with the Education Entrepreneurs Society. I pride myself on being flexible and adaptable. I think the best way of planning for the future is to make the most of the present. In five years, I hope Education Entrepreneurs Society will start 5 more projects on educational development. We will focus on promoting sustainable and quality education in Bangladesh for the coming years.
What do you hope to see in the near future for EES in Bangladesh?
Our tagline, ‘Innovation-Education-Action’ is a distillation of who we are and what we believe. We believe shortly EES will be able to build a vibrant Education Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Bangladesh.
What advice would you give to the other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
The first thing I would like to say is- Start Today. The only true way to learn is by doing. You can’t afford to sit around waiting for funding and hoping someone else will come along to help you execute on your idea or complain that you don’t have the time. Making excuses won’t help you start a business or an organization and it surely won’t help you create the lifestyle you want for yourself. An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a desire to create it. Keep your vision clear at all times. It is important to note that education entrepreneurs do not see themselves as merely improving education – for them; improvement would be a byproduct of the larger goal of transforming the system of public education.
Tell about the activities of your organization.
Education Entrepreneurs Society (EES) operates four regular events namely Ed Talk, Ed Debate, Ed Chronicle and Edupreneurship Idea Quest (EIQ). Ed Talk is a show where expert speakers on education and entrepreneurship talk about their ideas, inspirations, and stories mostly related to education. Ed Debates are the formal discussions on education-related topics, Ed Chronicle is education-case- competition and Edupreneurship Idea Quest is the first and the biggest contest in Bangladesh, focusing on the startups related to education. This quest identifies future education entrepreneurs who are committed to improving educational equity and quality in Bangladesh. Besides, this year EES will launch another project connected with sustainable development goals.