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BYJU's Divya Gokulnath on 2022: The year of lessons, resilience, and India's reckoning

BYJU's co-founder Divya Gokulnath shares, "I have always believed in facing headwinds head-on. It is simply not enough to sit back and wait for change to come."

Published: Jan 2, 2023 10:55:00 AM IST
Updated: Jan 2, 2023 11:55:33 AM IST

BYJU's Divya Gokulnath on 2022: The year of lessons, resilience, and India's reckoningDivya Gokulnath, cofounder, BYJU's

The past 12 months have taken us on an expansive journey: one filled with aspiration, changes, conflict, and hope. This year, India emerged as one of the most resilient economies in the face of severe global slowdowns, which were triggered by geopolitical and economic uncertainties.

By no means was 2022 easy or uneventful—from a tech winter to an unfavorable macro environment, to the resurgence of new Covid-19 variants in some geographies, and on the personal front the balancing act of being an entrepreneur, mother, and teacher all at once. Through it all, I’ve been among those fortunate enough to be surrounded by a large and loving family, which empowers and inspires me to become a better version of myself everyday. I have always believed in facing headwinds head-on. It is simply not enough to sit back and wait for change to come. As Mahatma Gandhi said, we must be the change we wish to see in the world.

This year, I also had the honour of being a part of some of the most prestigious global events featuring inspiring thought leaders and change makers. At every stage, the India story, its collective potential, hunger for innovation, and resilience in the face of adversity took pride of place. In India, technology has served as a remarkable equalizer and force multiplier, particularly for addressing some of the society's deep-rooted challenges. As we step into 2023, let's reflect on three key lessons learned in 2022, and deepen our connection with what truly matters.

Resilience through the fog of disruption

Historically, a resilient India has quickly bounced back from challenges and setbacks. Our strength has always been shaped by our culture, diversity, and willingness to learn. Today, our homegrown talent leads some of the biggest global tech giants. We are emerging as the flag bearer of innovation-led growth, taking large strides in global indices. We are also home to the third-largest startup ecosystem while on track to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2027. A strapping young population and its immeasurable potential along with the unwavering support of the government will ensure that our startup ecosystem is at the lynchpin of India’s transformation.

I am positive that the Indian entrepreneurship dream will only get stronger in 2023. We welcomed the 100th Unicorn into the fold in 2022, and with our collective appetite for growth and focus on impact, the 500th is not far away.

The future is equitable and accessible

Equal and accessible education became the center of attention in 2022 with new policy initiatives and private sector efforts targeting foundational numeracy and literacy, teacher capacity building, school-to-work transition, and connecting the unconnected. In the post-pandemic era, hybrid and blended learning models have gained prominence as a way to connect the disconnected while also assisting students in identifying their personal learning preferences. With education stakeholders working together to generate clear and shared visions for the next era of learning, the future will yield tremendous success.

Of course, no conversation about an equitable future is complete without the mention of gender parity. This year, we saw the continued rise of women leaders in business, politics, and sports, shattering social barriers and glass ceilings—in Droupadi Murmu India saw its first tribal woman president, the success of Falguni Nayak-led Nykaa’s IPO has paved the way for more women-led businesses to come to the fore, Madhabi Buch is scripting history as the first woman chairperson of SEBI, and there could not have been a better end to 2022 than Savita Punia and Co lifting the FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup in Spain. These icons have overcome layers of generational biases and keep us hopeful for the future.

Also read: Madhabi Puri Buch aims to make regulation more nimble at Sebi

Make your own playbook

I have always believed in the uniting and uplifting power of sports, which has a close relationship with education. 2022 solidified this belief when BYJU’s became an official sponsor for FIFA World Cup 2022 - the biggest sporting event in the world - and onboarded Lionel Messi as the ambassador for our Education For All social initiative. In just two years, EFA has positively impacted 55 lakh children and is now set to reach and teach 1 crore underserved kids by 2024. By providing these children with the educational tools and resources they need to succeed, we are ensuring that they have a bright and promising future ahead of them. When Messi delivered Argentina's World Cup triumph and cemented himself as one of the greatest athletes of all time, it was also a proud moment for every Indian who was represented on the field by BYJU'S and its message for equal, equitable and accessible education for all.

Also read: 3 lessons Indian students can teach us: Celebrating change, mistakes, and uniqueness

In Messi’s story, we can all find a valuable lesson for 2023—success isn't just about winning, but about working hard, stepping out of your comfort zone, and challenging yourself constantly, no matter the odds. It is about believing in yourself and your abilities, even when it feels like everything is changing. Trust that you have the strength and resilience to overcome any obstacle, and know that by putting in your best effort, you are paving the way for the best possible outcomes. Embrace the journey of learning, unlearning, and relearning, and have faith that it will lead you to where you are meant to be.

Divya Gokulnath is the co-founder of BYJU’S. Views expressed are personal.

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