And here comes Sumaiya Kalam Siddiqui, a very young and talented entrepreneur from the cultural capital of India, Kolkata. She is the CEO of Academia, which started with the vision to help students be more comfortable with the English language. At such a young age, Sumaiya has gained knowledge and experience much more than anyone else of her age group. She travelled abroad and learnt a lot about various education systems under a scholarship from the US State Department Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. “After travelling and years of teaching experience we’ve consulted with various experts both locally and internationally and as a result have come up with various teaching methods to make learning English a fun and innovative process.” says Sumaiya.
Sumaiya also works as a freelance journalist. And as an avid lover of the literature works in the English language she wanted to bridge the gap students felt with understanding and adopting the language as their own. Most schools, universities have designed English to be a crucial part of the entire curriculum yet there are very few authentic resources students and professionals can use to cope up with the stress of being forced to embrace a foreign language as their own. Career prospects are also at stake if one cannot speak the dialect with the required fluency. English should not be a necessary evil but a language filled with a beauty of its own and Academia aspires to make students love the language and take a genuine interest in learning English.
Siddiqui’s family was very supportive. From a tender age they’ve encouraged her in her creative pursuits and have encouraged her love of literature. “They were very supportive when I submitted poems and they got published in national and international magazines. They’ve been my source of strength and I would never be where I am without their support. My father has given me the strength and courage to pursue my dreams. He made me believe in myself when I was insecure and always had more faith in me than I had for myself.” Said Sumaiya.
They have a diverse background of students which ranges from businessmen, students, medical professors and so on. Academia focuses on helping each student individually achieve their dream by learning the English language. They also provide classes for IELTS and TOEFL for people who want to go abroad to US, UK etc. Academia is expanding this year for children and is opening a pre-school with the support of our international faculty. Admissions will open in December. They are hoping to nurture young and bright minds to enjoy learning and build their foundation so that they can cope in school.
Sumaiya says, “About 47 million youth drop out from their studies in 10th grade. I believe that through our pre-school “Kiddie Smiles” we will make these young minds enjoy education and learn the enjoyable way. We will have international teachers from US & UK who will bring in the latest, modern and innovative techniques to help these students improve and stay a step ahead of their peers. First impression is the lasting one and if we can make their first step into the world of education a success I believe they will walk into the world as young leaders of India.”
Most of their students come from reference. Their students are very impressed with their quality of education and are always talking about it to their friends, colleagues and peers.
We asked Sumaiya, what keeps her motivated to carry on with what she is doing and this is what she had to say, “The success stories of my students. One of my student once told me that I’d changed the way of her life. She was insecure and saw herself as incompetent because she couldn’t speak the English language. She didn’t even know the alphabets when she first joined us. As of now she is a private school teacher for 8th grade in an English medium school. Another student was about to drop out of school. However, once she learnt English her studies were much easier for her and she is currently studying English Hons in Calcutta University. I could keep telling you hundreds of stories like this. When I think about the difference Academia has made in their lives it gives me the strength to keep going.”
Tip from Sumaiya for all the newbies in the world of entrepreneurship: ”Follow your dreams. Don’t think too hard. The biggest gamble you take is when you stop doing the thing you love basing it on the chance you’ll buy yourself the freedom to do it later. If you are truly passionate about it, just go for it.”
For any further information, you may contact ‘Academia’:
Mobile: +91 8240984307
Location: Kolkata, West Bengal, India