Category Archives: News

Lina Ashar, chairperson Kangaroo Kids,On a different path

Lina Ashar, one of the pioneers of the pre-school movement in the country, talks about changing concepts of education and its challenges.

Lina Ashar

Sometime in the early 90s, Lina Ashar came back to India from Australia to get in ‘touch’ with her roots. Armed with a degree in teaching from Australia she joined a school in  Mumbai. In an experience that was a revelation to her, she realized that teaching in India, which relied more on learning by rote, lacked imagination and creativity.

Having made that discovery she decided to set up a pre-school in  Mumbai which would engage children with teaching that would be imaginative and fun. She took a loan from her father and set up the first Kangaroo Kids pre-school in Mumbai in 1993. At the time the pre-school concept was unheard of in India.

What started off as one pre-school with 25 students has grown into a chain of pre-schools with branches across cities in India, West Asia and the Maldives. It has a full-fledged school, Billabong International High School, with classes up to the 12th grade. Lina, chairperson of Kangaroo Kids Education Limited, who was in Kochi for the launch of the pre-school’s city franchise last week, jokes, “I started with Kangaroo Kids and now apart from the fact that there are so many pre-schools, they even have ‘kids’ attached to their names.”

Of the common perception that Kangaroo Kids’ claim to fame is famous people — it is the school where celebrity children study — she says, “it is not that, over the years we have established our credibility and brand. In the initial days, we at Kangaroo Kids were doing things differently from what was being done. It was more of an abstract way of teaching and people who had traveled and had exposure to that kind of approach were the only ones who could have accepted that. Back then it was the celebrity who had that. Today, as a result of more exposure people are more aware and open to such ideas.”

Setting up the school and going against the flow was difficult, she avers. A lot of work went into the effort to change attitudes to education. Advocacy with parents, talking to school principals about the teaching and testing methods were some of the issues she had to address. “Even testing procedures had to be more tangible than just depending on what the child has learnt by rote. A subject cannot be taught in isolation, without relating it to the world outside the classroom.” Action-based, scientific, experiential learning/teaching systems where the child gets to think and apply the principles she is being taught are the keys to absorbing knowledge.

Initiating the ‘mind shift’ included opting for concepts alien at the time such as research-based curriculum and low teacher-student ratio. Abandoning uncomfortable uniforms for more comfy ones was another. The ‘mind shift’ had a broader context. It extended to inclusion of children with special needs. “There’s a notion that if children with special needs were in the same class as other children they would ‘affect’ the others. They do not. Inclusion is empathy building and empathy releases happiness chemicals in the brain. It is mutually beneficial for both sides.”

She makes a strong case for the holistic development of children as opposed to the exam or IQ oriented approach. “Studies have shown that IQ is only a 10 per cent determiner of success. So the other 90 per cent is ignored while focusing on that 10 per cent.” She says she attempts to inculcate ‘habits of success’ which are not solely dependent on the intellect. Emotional resilience, being confident, being persistent are some the qualities that comprise habits of success.

As the conversation veers to government policies, Lina says these are sometimes implemented without being thought through.

“When you implement a policy you have to be aware of its ramifications – like how are you going to implement it? For example, the Karnataka government’s move to make Kannada the medium of instruction in primary schools and English introduced only in Class 6. That it is the mother tongue is alright, but in a country like India where one does not always end up working in one’s native State…what happens to the child when she grows up? In the global context too English is the language of communication. This is what I mean by considering the ramifications of policies.”

Over the last 20 years the role of the pre-school or school has changed, she says. The school has acquired a parental role. The onus of inculcating certain qualities and values, traditionally the parents’ role, is now on the school. “Lifestyles are different, both parents have to work. This where the school has to step in.”

Kangaroo Kids is probably among the first in the education sector to adopt the franchise model. Most of the franchises were opened by parents with the ‘Kangaroo experience’, Lina says. It is model that has worked out fine because the franchisees took the logistical hassle off her head.

Lina has authored a book on parenting, Who Do You Think You Are Kidding? She is now working on her next book where she speaks to teens and their parents.

“Research has proven that teenage is a difficult time. Through my book I address both sides – the kids and the parents – so that they can make sense of what is going on.”

(Source:- The Hindu)

Day care centers and playschools to be regulated by government

New Delhi: Day care centers and playschools across India would now be watched over by the government, to ensure they maintain certain standards. The women and child development ministry has finalized a draft ‘Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy’ which will not only make registration and accreditation of such centers mandatory, but for the first time also spell out the kind of curriculum and learning tools children are provided with.

As of now, there is no regulation in place to monitor the quality of service being provided at such facilities that have mushroomed across India.

A senior official of the Women and Child Development Ministry said that standards will also be laid down for the kind of play material, play space and furniture to be provided at such facilities. The policy will also cover Anganwadi centers.

“The policy will specify the minimum qualification required for employment at such centers. The standards would be valid across public and private service providers,” the official said.

This is for the first time the government would be addressing the educational and nurturing needs of children up to the age of six. India has 158.7 million children in this category, as per the 2011 Census.

According to the draft policy, violation of norms would invite stringent penalties.

“The draft policy has been finalized and would be presented before the union cabinet for its approval soon,” the official said.

He said that to ensure proper implementation, a National ECCE Council with experts will be formed, with corresponding councils at the state level and later the district level.

The council will guide and oversee the implementation of the policy as well as keep ECCE programmes consistent with the national policy.

A developmentally appropriate national curriculum framework for the ECCE will be developed. It will promote play-based, experiential and child-friendly provision for early education and all-round development, the draft says.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) which came into effect April 1, 2010, has also addressed early childhood care.

Section 11 of the Act states that to prepare children above the age of three years for elementary education and to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years, the appropriate government may make necessary arrangement for providing free pre-school education.

The draft if the policy states that it seeks to universalize the provision of ECCE for all children mainly through the Integrated Child Development Scheme in the public sector and through other services across sectors and providers regulated by quality standards.

Special plans will be developed to reach the most marginalized groups which include children located in isolated and remote hamlets, tribal and dalit hamlets and slums. Children belonging to seasonal migrants, nomadic populations, construction and roadside workers will also be included.

(Courtesy: Jagran)

11 friends set up daycare for special kids

MYSORE: A chat over several cups of tea between a group of 11 friends led to the idea of building a (Daycare) charitable trust for children with special needs. And with this came the city’s first day care and rehabilitation center for differently-abled.

These youngsters coming from various backgrounds like banking, business, politics and real estate. They worked with the single focus of bringing special children out of the confines of their homes and into the mainstream of society. They pooled in funds to open a day care and rehabilitation center called Chinnara Chiguru Charitable and Educational Trust. The trust was registered recently and provides facilities like play space, massage center and therapies by well known doctors in the city.

H Shekar, a realtor and a trustee, said the condition of his friends – M R Nagendra and Nandini – encouraged them to start a day care and rehabilitation center for children with cerebral palsy, autism and other development disabilities. “We wanted to share the burden of parents in raising a child with special needs by offering them proper care, love and medical aids,” he said.

Santhosh and his spouse Nandini, also members of the trust, said special children have special abilities but these traits are hidden under their more visible disabilities. The lack of scientific care, activity and awareness leave these abilities hidden. “We here focus on these issues and give them resonant support and track the progress of the children with the help of the medical fraternity,” they said.

Sharada, who enrolled her kid to the center, is very happy by the initiatives taken by the trust.

“Currently, 20 children are enrolled at the center and number is expected to increase over a period of time. The center also needs help from other people who are interested to serve society,” said Rajanikanth, a counselor assisting the center.

The center was inaugurated on Sunday by Krishnaraja constituency MLA M K Somashekar. After the inauguration, Somashekar said he would try to get government aid for the center.

(Courtesy:-  Times of India)

Tree House Education Q1FY14 net rises 53%

Tree House @ GoGuruCool

Tree House Education Q1FY14 net rises 53%

Tree House Education and Accessories Limited is one of the India’s largest self-operated pre-school chain.Tree House has come up with a good performance by posting a 53.36% growth in its net profit for the first quarter ended June 30, 2013 amounting to Rs. 12.30 crore compared to Rs 8.02 crore posted in the same period of the last financial year. The total income rose by 47.54% to Rs. 41.99 crore during the first quarter ended June 30, 2013 compared to Rs 28.4 crore posted in the same period of the last financial year.

The EBITDA for the first quarter of the current fiscal rose 42.97% to Rs. 23.90 crore compared to Rs 16.71 crore for the 1st quarter of FY2013. EBITDA margin for Q1 FY2014 is 56.91%. Net profit margin for Q1 FY2014 is 29.29%.

Commenting on the Q1 FY14 performance, Mr. Rajesh Bhatia, Promoter and Managing Director, Tree House Education and Accessories Limited, said

“These results are another milestone in our journey. We believe that our offering in the pre-school space is three-fold and spans the entire sector. The Tree House brand focuses on company-operated pre-schools, the Brainworks brand will focus on franchising and the Global Champs brand will focus on a company-operated affordable model. This ensures a complete 360 degree product offering to the community at large. We have also begun roll out of ancillary services with the launch of birthday parties for kids and our tie up with Amar Chitra Katha.”

“I thank my team, especially the teachers and center heads whose commitment and hard work has translated into this set of numbers. Despite operating in a tough business environment, we have been able to scale up admissions and revenues. This is also due to the fact that parents across India now increasingly appreciate our superior curriculum and overall preschool experience.”

“All of our product offerings are showing good growth across all key parameters, and we are confident of sustainable growth in our operations in the years to come. My team and I remain committed to creating India’s most respectable Education Company which will create value for all its stakeholders.”

The Company had a net addition of 31 pre-schools in Q1 FY 2014. The total number of centers as of June 30, 2013, was 410 across 50 cities. Out of this, the number of self-operated centers was 310 with the ratio of self-operated to total pre-schools standing at 75.60%.

The new geographies Tree House entered this quarter include Raipur, New Delhi, Varanasi, Udgir, Goa, Nandurbar and Ludhiana.

The Company provides school management services to 24 K-12 schools in 3 states. The total staff strength as of Q1 FY 2014 was 1,690, showing a net addition of 49 employees in the quarter. The total teacher strength was 1,603, representing a net addition of 41 teachers during this quarter. The year-on-year Q1 FY 2014 vs Q1 FY2013 revenue growth in same self-operated pre-school centers has been 30%.

About Tree House Education & Accessories Limited Tree House Education & Accessories Limited.

It runs quality preschools and also provides educational services to K-12 schools throughout the country. Tree House has revolutionized the concept of pre-school pedagogy in India through the use of innovative teaching methods and child-focused personal care.

(Source: Tree House Corporate Announcements)

EuroKids:Here’s how India’s top preschooler plans to grow

EuroKids: Here’s how India’s top preschooler plans to grow

Jul 22, 2013, 04.52 PM IST

 EURO_KIDS@GoGuruCoolLaunched in 2001, EuroKids International has a network of over 850 preschools and 16 schools and over 900 franchise partners. The venture also has a publishing arm called Euro Books and is now launching EuroKids Teachers Training Institute on an online platform

The education space is fast emerging as an entrepreneurial opportunity. According to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotions (DIPP), it has attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) of over USD 500 million in the last three years.

In a country, where the gaps between education, employment and employability are so large, there is a definite need for product innovations and a change in the mode of delivery of education.

Launched in 2001, EuroKids International has a network of over 850 preschools and 16 schools and over 900 franchise partners. The venture also has a publishing arm called Euro Books, which specializes in children’s books and has emerged as India’s largest publisher and distributor in this niche space. Having already gross revenues of Rs 75 crore, the venture is looking at adding over 500 preschools in the next three years.

Co-founders Prajodh Jain and Vikas Phadnis started their journey in the education space as publishers of children’s books in 1999 with Egmont International, a media company from Denmark. A decade later they diversified into the preschool business with EuroKids International. Prajodh and Vikas called the preschool business a 2 kilometer opportunity and early on decided that if they have to achieve scale, they would have to work on a franchise model.

However, since quality of service is key, the team at EuroKids ensures that teachers and staff at all franchise partners are under extensive training and use only proprietary study material and teaching aides.

Vikas Phadnis, Co-founder, EuroKids International talked about how it started. They had a situation where the Egmont International Holding as an organization was looking at refocusing on their core markets in Scandinavia. At that time, they had options of either looking at closing down businesses in Asia or looking at local buyers for the business. “Me, Prajodh and two other partners came together and we bought the business from Egmont International Holdings. That is how this whole thing started as our journey from professional managers to entrepreneurs began in 2004 along the way we kept on growing,” he added.

In 2008 they got the first round of funding of Rs 39 crore from Educomp and the success of its preschools. EuroKids International launched its first school for the K-12 segment in Mumbai in 2009. With investment in each tier I city school ranging from Rs 70-75 crore depending on the land and building lease, Euro currently runs 16 schools across 11 cities with 11,000 students on its rolls.

EuroKids International generates revenues for a mix of franchise fee at 20 percent royalty charge on school fee collected and the sell of study curriculum.

Prajodh Rajan, Co-Founder, EuroKids International said that they have a programme called Speak, which they will be launching very soon. He explains that it is a phonics programme, so kids can come back after school at a preschool center for the phonics programme. They have a program called the Eurostar Academy of performing arts where they are doing music and dance for children ages 3 and 10 years.

The firm is also launching EuroKids Teachers Training Institute on an online platform and they are also making some of the EuroKids centers as study centers when we offer this on an online programme. The schools is just one vertical, the venture is also publishing arm Euro Books, which specializes in children’s books. It has today emerged as India’s largest publisher and distributor in this niche space.

Having recently raised Rs 50 crore from private equity firm Gaja Capital, the duo plans to use the money for expanding all three business verticals that is the publishing arm, preschools and K-12 schools.

(Courtesy :- MoneyControl.com)

Preschool Rankings in India

Preschool Rankings in India

Recently I came through a preschool ranking list published by Silicon India – “The Largest Community Of Indian Professionals”. The below rankings and contents are taken from the same. Please find the preschool ranking for various chains below :

Rank 1. Kidzee

Kidzee

Within almost a decade of its existence, over 900+ centers in more than 330+ cities, Kidzee is the largest preschool chain in Asia.

2. EURO KIDS

EURO_KIDS Euro Kids has raised the bar for Pre-School education in the country. Today, they have successfully nurtured 800+ preschools in 280 towns and cities across India.

3. HELLO KIDS

HELLO_KIDS
India’s 1st Pre-school, targeting the middle-income group of the society with 175+ Center in 22 States.

4. SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL

SUNSHINE_PRESCHOOL
It is the 1st Preschool and Daycare Chain, is a venture of the SatNav Group since 2004, now present at 100+ locations.

5. SMART KIDZ

SMART_KIDZ
A unique chain of play schools having its presence across South, East and the West with 90+Centers and established in year 2008.

6. LITTLE EINSTEINS

LITTLE_EINSTEINS

Having More than 30 Centers in India within a Short Period of time.

7. SHEMROCK PRE-SCHOOL

SHEMROCK_PRE_SCHOOL @ GoGuruCool With almost 2 decades of establishment and creating the first successful franchise model in India they have over 150 branches across India and Abroad.

8. PODAR JUMBO

PODAR_JUMBO It is part of the Podar Education Group, which is a dynamic, constantly evolving nucleus, imparting education at various levels, having 80+Centers in India.

9. KIDS CAMPUS

KIDS_CAMPUS
It is the fastest growing chain of International Pre School with more than 70+Centers.

10. LITTLE ELLY

LITTLE_ELLY
One of the Leading Organizations in Bangalore, Chennai & Hyderabad India. It has more than 40 Centers and established in year 2007.

Let us know your comments for this preschool ranking.

(Courtesy: Silicon India  “The Largest Community Of Indian Professionals”)

Preschool education doesn’t come cheap

The below article was w.r.t. rising preschool education cost.
CHENNAI: Educating a toddler costs more than you think. In some cases, parents are finding, it costs more than the sum spent on a child in high school.

The recently-released fee structure for individual schools shows that the government, which questioned the ‘exorbitant fee’ collected by educational institutions, has recognised the need for some schools to charge close to 30,000 a year to impart learning to children below 5 years.

The government-appointed fee committee, under justice S R Singaravelu, has determined the highest fee of 28,400 for kindergarten classes in Sri Sankara Senior Secondary School, Adyar. A few preschools in the state reportedly charge double this amount.

Schools say the fee collected is proportionate to the amount spent on children. A school correspondent said more manpower and equipment were required to run pre-KG and KG classes than for higher classes. A play gym used by 10 children costs close to 20,000, and pre-primary books are very expensive.

“The life span of everything, from furniture to play equipment, is much shorter. You can’t expect discipline or responsibility in a two-year-old. So, we have to replace things more often,” said the correspondent of a school.

The sum spent on conducting activities is huge. “We have at least one small activity and one major event in a week. We invite guests and parents for some of them,” said a preschool head. He added that parents were proactive when children were in preschool, and schools were expected to raise the bar. “I am always checking what my three-year-old does in school, than what my seven-year-old does,” said Madhusha, a mother of two boys. She added that she gave her feedback on everything — from the syllabus to the sanitation standards.

“Parents don’t hesitate to compare our KG section with other schools. They don’t do that in higher classes,” said a principal.

Teachers also said that what happens in a preschool or kindergarten class cannot be considered as less important than that taught in higher classes. Studies have shown that early childhood care is key to the child’s academic performance later in life.

Those who can afford it are coughing up the money. But, at such rates, many may not be able to access learning at a young age. “Education, expected to be the leveller, will lose potency if the state does not soon come out with its own early learning programmes for children of the socio-economically poor,” said education activist P B Prince Gajendra Babu.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)