Targeting the early childhood education sector, Dharmesh Kapasi, President, Shanti Juniors started his pre-school with a vision to nurture holistic development of a child. With the concerted efforts to provide qualified team of teachers, Shanti Juniors has expanded to 200 pre-schools pan India in just five years of its running
What was the rationale behind venturing into the pre-school segment?
Shanti Juniors pre-school is an initiative started by Chiripal Group, (a Gujarat based Rs. 4000 crore conglomerate) started with a clear objective of working towards the welfare of the society. Targeting the early childhood education sector, they believed that this is being the most unorganised segment of education with minimal guidance from the central or state government and also absence of quality education at the founding years of a child. We felt, there is a correction needed there.
The whole idea and objective of starting Shanti Juniors was to contribute towards nurturing holistic development of a child along with the celebration of childhood in the pre-primary sector of education. Our journey had started in the 2010 gradually by setting up a team of highly qualified development and research team. This team launched 6 pre-schools together in Ahmedabad. Today, it has franchised more than 200 successful pre-schools across India.
How do you perceive the pre-school market in the country?
Pre-school market in India had tremendous growth in recent past and the future also seems productive. India being the second largest populated country in the world and with the highest number of youngsters makes it one of the potential markets for pre-school.
Rise in disposable income, increasing working couples, working mothers, nuclear families, escalating demand for high quality pre-school education for toddlers are other several reasons which are raising the demand for pre-schools.
What are the growth opportunities that you foresee in this segment in the future?
There are huge opportunities in the pre-school segment but there are challenges, which need to be carefully analysed and counter measures needs to be planned. Pre-school being the most lucrative segment of the Indian education market, there are lot of young entrepreneurs who want to invest in this segment.
Hence, franchising became a wonderful concept of expanding the idea in a planned and structured manner which is resulting in pre-school franchising. It’s catching up fast as a business model. We have a vision to become one of the largest pre-schools of India and based on the same we have set our Y-O-Y targets.
What role does quality pre-school education play in shaping the minds of the students?
As these are the most important and founding years of a child’s education tenure, quality pre-school plays a very important role. It is even proven scientifically that 75 per cent of child’s brain develops till the age of five, therefore pre-schools play a very important role in shaping the minds and future of India.
The early three years, parents will be the main influence in a child’s learning experiences. What they do and expose their child to will have a vast impact on his/her developmental journey.
What is the lacuna, as per you, in the pre-school segment in the country? How can they be rectified?
The industry in India falls divided between the organised and unorganised sector. Recruitment of under qualified and in-experienced academicians is the challenge. There is a challenge of safety of children, because of non-regulation or absence of governing body in this segment.
As there is no guidance from the government in terms to curriculum or academics for the early childhood education, the local pre-schools take the advantage of the system as they do not have the strength or capacity to invest on the research and development of the early childhood programmes.