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Alka Malik, Managing Director of Ascentria
Alka Malik, Managing Director of Ascentria

From customising study programmes for students to ensuring a level playing field, Ascentria has come a long way to being one of the most preferred test centres in the UAE. Alka Malik, Managing Director, speaks to Khaleej Times

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Published: Wed 31 Mar 2021, 5:52 AM

Last updated: Wed 31 Mar 2021, 12:21 PM

Please give a background on Ascentria and what it specialises in?

Ascentria is a multi-award-winning institute committed to preparing Indian curriculum students, across grades 9 to12, for highly competitive Indian entrance examinations for admissions to the premier engineering and medical colleges, through the JEE and NEET examinations for engineering and medical courses. We have, in collaboration with some of the leading schools of Dubai for over seven years, trained their students by offering a customised learning experience, to gain entrance to their preferred graduate institutions.

What is unique to Ascentria as a test preparation centre?

Ascentria is the International centre for PACE - one of the top 10 Pan-India brands. Our students use the well-researched, comprehensive PACE study material, All India Test Series that benchmark the students with their Indian counterparts, PACE online portal, and STEPapp - the revolutionary gamified learning app. In addition, and most importantly, they are taught by hand-picked faculty from PACE, all located in the UAE.

We have customised our programmes for Gulf students, as cookie-cutting the Indian model would not work for students here. Our pastoral care, emphasis on every student's progress, personalised doubt sessions, and focus on achievement of students' goals, provide them the winning streak.

Please tell us about the shifting academic trends you have observed in students in the UAE over the years, and especially during the pandemic?

Ascentria has completely changed the landscape, offering Gulf students, for the very first time, a level playing field with students in India. Our students have gained admission to top colleges every year since inception, such as Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), including IIT Bombay and IIT Madras, All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and also other universities internationally, inspiring confidence in Gulf students to achieve similar success. They have also consistently been UAE board toppers, school and subject toppers. In 2020, our student was the UAE JEE topper, with 100 per cent of our JEE Advanced students succeeding - no mean feat! Even in February 2021, our students have been top scorers in the JEE Main exam.

The pandemic has shifted the focus of parents and students ?towards good colleges in India, due to the strong academic ?offerings at a fraction of price ?internationally.

How have you changed your delivery model to suit the pandemic while keeping quality of education the same?

We were the first educational institute to migrate to online classes, as early as March 2020. We have received praise from innumerable parents and students regarding the quality of our virtual classes and online testing, proving that excellent teaching can be imparted and absorbed in all formats!

We believe online teaching is here to stay, in some form. We shall henceforth offer options of physical, online and hybrid classes. We have invested in an integrated and robust, Ascentria-branded learning management system. This provides discussion boards with teachers, class recordings, multiple test modes, etc., which would greatly enhance the learning experience.

What are you looking forward to for Ascentria and education in the UAE in the future?

We are expanding our footprint and are in active discussions with educational institutions across the Gulf to complement the success that we have achieved in the UAE. Meanwhile, we will continue supporting our students in achievement of all their goals and aspirations, adopting the best methods suited for their learning ?experiences.

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