The role and relevance of ‘education and innovation’ in S.K. Rathor’s life has been paramount from the very start. It reflects in all his choices and decisions—from continuing higher education against all odds to choosing a well-read and educated life partner. But most importantly, in gifting to the world, Sanfort World School: a game changer for preparatory schools in the country.
Under his management, with 16 prestigious awards in sometime, Sanfort is regarded as the fastest growing chain of preparatory schools in the country.
Coming from a modest but educated family of Agra, he was brought up in Delhi that gave him a lot of exposure as he learnt and grew. Santosh’s interest in computers and technology were from right on and as he later worked for a leading IT firm. A wish to do bigger and better and immense possibilities kept lingering on his head and he soon got deluded to start his own tech support venture in partnership with a friend which soared high.
Inspired by the success and fuelled by his desire to work for the education sector, Rathor, in-partnership with the same friend, established their first play school in 1999. A close-knit staff with him being closely involved, the school took its flight but just all good things come to an end and so did this partnership.
Diluted in 2004 but only to push the spirit and motivation of Mr Rathor to change the face of pre-schools in the country, they started afresh, they started small.
Rathor’s journey to give back to the education sector and particularly the primary, preparatory schools in a big way started hence. Months of thinking and planning, days of trying and testing, Rathor aimed at bringing to the country the first UK based education model.
His ‘Masters in Education’ wife at the helm of a rented school premise at Indirapuram, Ghaziabad and him leading his new IT firm, they embarked on a new journey that in its due course was to change the face of India’s preparatory school system.
Aided by two teachers and one counsellor in the school, Sanfort started to operate in a scarcely populated Indirapuram. There were not many residents and hardly any children. The school started with 20 admissions, which were literally got on-board after the Rathors knocked each and every door. Even then it took them a year and a half to break-even.
Challenged by limited funds and restricted reach but fuelled by passion and zeal to excel and change the way the pre-school education functioned in the country, they kept at it. “It was a difficult time. Many sleepless nights and stressful days were faced but it was two things that kept me going: the vision and the support from my family” he adds.
Stressing on the relevance of homework in every sphere of life, be it in-school or for-school, Rathor divulges that it took him two years of behind the scenes homework to plan and carve a niche out of the ‘brand’ Sanfort. It is then when he realised that India didn’t have any authorised partner for a UK-model of prep schools.
The majority still followed the US Montessori model which was not as advanced and innovative as the UK one. He knew he had to get the curriculum accredited to British Association for Early Childhood Education, U. K., which he did and also went on to later be a Member of- “Preschool learning Alliance U.K.”
Getting moral support from parents can inspire you to aspire higher and do better but a partner who walks the tough path with you and pushes you to take the giant leap.
At every step in his life, little or big, when he didn’t know where and what, it was his father who guided him and his wife whose dynamism and innate skill of being a children friendly human just made things work in their favour.
As they are the only preschool brand in the country with “True Smart Learning System” with “Touch ‘N’ Learn” Technology, they are also ranked No. 1 Preschool in Delhi by Silicon India Education. No wonder his wife, who founded this group was awarded as “Women Entrepreneur of the Year” last year for her contribution in the field of education.
Their goal is to take quality education to smaller towns and even the remotest places in the country where centers of quality education are missing.
Today they have 110 schools across the country even in cities like Gorakhpur and Haldwani employing over 2000 people. And sanfort shall keep soaring higher as with a vision to add 200 more preschools and 25 Secondary schools in next 5 years besides going global with their first school to be opened in UAE soon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A development Sector Professional who started her career in journalism with names like TOI and Tehelka. What inspires Megha the most are the stories of people who learned to fight, to make it large. As an editor for India’s Most Inspiring Success Stories, her aim has been to bring out the stories that inspire to aspire. And for her, it has only reaffirmed her faith in dreaming and achieving.