In the complex terrain of the education sector, Irum Farhat Farooq emerges as a symbol of innovation, commitment, and enthusiasm. Serving as the Founder & CEO of EduEnhance in the UAE, her trajectory transcends conventional business boundaries. With a profound background in educational training and management, Irum’s story illustrates her steadfast dedication to fostering equal opportunities in education. Beyond academic pursuits, her focus lies in guaranteeing that every child, regardless of their background or social context, enjoys equitable access to high-quality education.
Irum reveals the significant markers of her journey, imparts the guiding principles fueling her initiatives, and outlines her vision for the forthcoming evolution of education. Delve into the narrative to explore the inspiring odyssey of a woman resolute in making a positive impact, nurturing change, and influencing one student at a time.
A complete journey about The EduEnhance company?
Following years of training and teaching in various countries, I gained profound insights into the education system. Although there were aspects where the system excelled, it encountered challenges, particularly in meeting the requirements of 21st-century learners—the digital natives. In 2012, I took the initiative to co-found a learning center in Dubai, marking the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.
During this period, we emerged as pioneers in ‘blended learning’ within the region. Our dedicated efforts were focused on helping students in reaching their academic objectives. Additionally, we fostered collaborations with the Dubai government and established partnerships with the largest school group in the UAE, offering personalized interventions for students.
Another noteworthy milestone in our journey was the success witnessed through the implementation of the i-Ready program in our learning centers. Developed by Curriculum Associates (CA), a prominent education publisher in the USA, the program aligns with its mission to enhance classrooms by delivering research-based, high-quality programs with unparalleled support, serving as a source of inspiration for us.
Hence, when they presented the prospect of becoming their Exclusive Representatives in the MEA region, it seemed like a natural evolution. Consequently, EduEnhance was founded in 2019. Since then, we have been dedicated to serving the educational community by introducing and implementing Curriculum Associates’ award-winning programs in schools.
The journey of the entrepreneur?
My birthplace is the UAE, and my formative years were enriched by the nation’s diverse and inclusive environment. Even during my early years, I could witness the harmonious coexistence of hundreds of nationalities in the UAE and the wider GCC region. My father, a pioneering pilot, served as a source of inspiration. In the early 1980s, he played a crucial role in establishing the UAE Airforce Academy under the esteemed leadership of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. For two decades, he dedicated himself to training fighter pilots and consistently commended the visionary leadership of the UAE, emphasizing its commitment to growth, prosperity, and global influence.
Upon my return to the UAE after years of studying and working abroad, I keenly observed that the country’s leadership continued to be pioneers in various sectors. The UAE leadership actively provided opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs who showcased capability, knowledge, and passion. With a clear calling towards the field of Education, I was determined to contribute to this sector.
The UAE served as the ideal platform, offering the opportunities necessary to fulfill my ambition of delivering quality education and resources to schools across diverse geographies. The enduring regional vision to enhance education standards and ensure a promising future for our children remains a continued source of inspiration for me, much like it did for my father.
How do you incorporate creative ideas to differentiate yourself?
A crucial revelation in the education sector recently has been the acknowledgment that a ‘one size fits all’ procedure doesn’t maintain true for either students or teachers. Our central focus continues to be understanding the unique needs of our school partners and providing customized solutions for them. We understand that adopting a new program or innovation can be challenging. Therefore, we draw upon our extensive experience in the region to offer tailored support at each phase of the procedure.
Our team embraces an asset-based system to help schools integrate innovative agendas, confirming research-based and data-driven direction in the classroom. We don’t view the schools we cooperate with simply as customers; instead, our goal is to create an educational environment that genuinely prepares students for a successful future.
Principal influences in your professional journey?
In my quest for self-discovery, I’ve come to appreciate the significance of keeping an open mind and welcoming mentorship as integral elements for both personal and professional growth. Several individuals have played pivotal roles in steering the success of my professional journey, contributing significantly to shattering the glass ceiling.
I consider it crucial to discover your community, a group that includes supporters, advocates, mentors, and constructive critics. Each member provides motivation, inspiration, guidance, and valuable reflections. I draw inspiration from individuals who pursue excellence, challenge traditional norms, and demonstrate empathy while actively fostering their communities.
What traits contribute to success as a leader in your industry?
I draw profound inspiration from the visionary leaders in the region spearheading educational transformation with clarity of vision and rapid innovation. At EduEnhance, in collaboration with Curriculum Associates, we are committed to tailoring our programs to meet regional needs and providing customized solutions to support this transformative vision. Through collaborative efforts, we are poised to champion high-quality education in our communities alongside these forward-thinking leaders.
I place a firm belief in the potency of partnerships and collaboration to realize common visions and goals. The emphasis should consistently revolve around supporting each member of the educational community, encompassing leadership, educators, students, and their families.
Message to your customers and viewers
Cultivate curiosity and hone your listening skills. Master the art of taking calculated risks, welcoming change instead of avoiding it, and consistently maintaining a growth mindset. Above all, persist in your pursuits and sustain enthusiasm for the myriad possibilities the future holds.
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