Agarkar Centre of Excellence: A Foundation to Support Academically Inclined Young Athletes

CIO Vendor Fatema Agarkar is one of the most celebrated figures in the Indian education start-up ecosystem. She began her initial journey in the corporate world initially involved in matters pertaining to business administration. Later in her professional career, she would go on to work for a reputed European Bank, many major media houses, before eventually deciding to join hands with a partner to carve out her own journey in the education space.

This was to be the beginning of an illustrious career in the education sector for Fatema, where the veteran campaigner would go on to build several green field projects for international schools and pre-schools, play a leading role in the successful growth of three education start-ups, help design curriculum for several national and international schools and spearhead the setting up of over 50 schools on a Pan India basis.

In addition, Fatema Agarkar would also go on to become a de-facto principal, a Managing Trustee, and also host several training workshops, parental engagement sessions and student counselling sessions throughout her career. Fatima Agarkar’s consistent contribution towards the development of successful education model led her to be the recipient of several prestigious awards in the field which includes World’s top 50 young Educators Award in the year 2014, Best of Asia’s, ‘Enterprising Educator in the year 2018', and numerous other prestigious awards dotted throughout her career.

Backed by a rich vein of over two decades of knowledge in the education sector under her belt, Fatima Agarkar along with her life partner Ajit Agarkar – one of the most celebrated Indian cricketing all-rounders of the previous decades, who represented team India in 4 World Cups, including the inaugural T20 World Cup won by the country, saw serious gaps that existed in the school curriculums when it comes to the inculcation of sports and vital skills associated with it.
Both Fatema Agarkar and her husband Ajit Agarkar, after having dedicated their entire professional career in the fields of education and sports respectively, started mulling about the idea of integrating sports as part of the daily school curriculum. The idea finally came together in the year 2020 with the foundation of Agarkar Centre of Excellence (ACE).

After meticulously brainstorming many ideas and weighing in what was needed and necessary, the duo using their vast expertise created various platforms for sports and education. The unique platform offered at Agarkar Centre of Excellence (ACE) be it sports, or education involves national and international collaborations, and plenty of research with an eye on the future.

“We always think about short and long terms benefit and curate programs accordingly with a focus on differentiation. We do not have standardized platforms and believe that customization allows students the freedom to express themselves, and historically this has not happened for them” – shares Ajit Agarkar, Co-Founder at ACE.

At ACE, a lot of stress is given on communication rationale, stimulationsand allowing students hands-on experience by giving them their space to discover and bring out what is inherently innate to them. This has been critical points out Ajit Agarkar, as the new generation comes with a host of advantages which includes an inherent appreciation towards technology. The philosophy behind ACE has always been pro-technology. With the aide of technology, ACE delivers online workshops for teachers, skilling programs for students, as well as, school improvement and audit strategies to parenting orientations and counselling sessions. The core idea about ACE is not just replicating what happens in the physical world but it is more about using technology creatively with a lot of break-away sessions, by using a lot of Gamification for instance, to create opportunities of learning for students, who especially had to suffer a lot for many months due to the Pandemic induced lockdowns.

Born out of Covid, ACE is working in the direction of becoming a more pan India brand focusing on Tier 2/3 cities and reaching more families. Simultaneously, ACE looks to expand and have a South-East Asian presence including Middle East as this can be viewed as a natural extension of the Indian story. Eventually, ACE is striving towards an ACE Knowledge Village that would have a school, a specialized sports section for students, sports academics, training centre for sports, and an all-round teaching centre under one roof like a hub.