The preschool sector in India poses great opportunities, but at the same time there are the challenges too. Leaders from Preschool gathered and discussed on various opportunities and challenges in Preschool in India
Navneet Anhal, CEO, Zee Learn LimitedThe biggest opportunity for those who are interested in pre school segment is to increase the awareness about preschools in the parents’ mind. Of late there are three segments of people first segment who think that pre school is a place where they can park their child for a while, second set of people think that it is important for their child to be in a pre school just to get into a good school, third segment of people,which is small but increasing, think and believe that by putting their child into pre school will help their child in learning and development. In all our communication, in our effort to design the curriculum and in our effort to counsel the parents if we can stress on the on the role of pre school in their child’s life it will help in the active participation of parents. There is a challenge of safety of children, which is under the bucket of non-regulation or absence of governing body in this segment. There is a challenge of finding qualified staff that knows what is right for the child. If we work on all this it can flourish into a good business opportunity and more importantly early development of a child.
Amol Arora, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Shemrock and Shemford SchoolsPerception of parents is changing gradually and with RTE coming and banning of interviews in school, the role of Preschool have become even more important to lay a good foundation for the child. Lot of unlearning needs to be done in order to make staff more effective. It is a chicken and egg situation since industry does not pay that well so we do not attract the best of the talent. Market forces will ensure quality. If regulation aspect has to come it should come in the safety aspect not for increasing the paperwork. All good Preschool would want regulation to ensure that good quality Preschool sustain in the market because sometimes parents are not aware about good and bad pre school and end up sending their children to wrong pre school. For now, let us have self-regulation and let market forces determine quality. It is a reality that if we have to educate a country it has to be a dual effort of government, PPP and profit making private sector.
Dharmesh Kapasi, CEO, Shanti Juniors Pre School ChainUntil the last decade there was the dilemma of declaring that whether pre school education should be considered as a part of education. We are still expecting an answer from the government of India. Today Preschool have become a point of start of child’s educational career. We need to create lots of awareness among parents to make them understand that pre school is the most important part of child’s educational career and how the need to take it seriously for a child’s growth. Talking about population as a threat I am taking it as an opportunity. I find population as an opportunity for business. Another threat of no governing body can be taken as opportunity as it would give us freedom to offer the best quality education to children. Untrained human resources is a challenge for which we have started teachers training programme. We are working on technology and research to create good quality content, which is digitally enabled.
A S Ganesh, Managing Director,Smartkidz Educare IndiaThe Indian pre school market is one of the most upcoming markets in India. It is highly under-penetrated. Only one percent of children are enrolled in Preschool currently in India whereas in France and Scotland 100 percent children go to Preschool. Only 17 percent of the Indian pre school market belongs to organised sector. So there is a huge potential available. This segment is attracting investments from private players as entry barriers are very low. Parents have started to understand the importance of pre school to enhance their child’s emotional and intellectual growth but still there is much more to be done in this regards. We conduct positive parenting workshops in all our branches to bring about awareness about the importance of Preschool. Also Increase in disposable income has led to more spending on education. The challenges in this segment are lack of awareness amongst parents and non-availability of quality teachers. Retention of quality teachers is another challenge that the industry is facing.
Vittal Bhandary, Founder and Managing Director, Liitle Elly Play schoolsThere are three models of preschool prevailing in India. The majority of preschools are in the unoragnised sector with 70-80 percent market share. The second model is organised preschools that are relatively small in number. Another model that exists in India is a school feeder model. A lot of K-12 school has preschool inbuilt in their campus itself. The preschools in the organised space are making a total difference in the spectrum as they offer a scientific basis for their execution model and offer personalised and professional approach. These schools have a research-based curriculum, which is constantly upgraded towards better delivery of education and development. These organised preschool chains have standard operating practices (SoP) and business practices and that is where they make a difference. Today opportunities in preschools are increasing due to the increasing awareness of parents about the need of preschool in a child’s development. Another reason is shrinking families that are looking for the options for their children. Also, the ability to pay for quality education has improved in India in the last few years. Now there is a demand for better facilities and trained staff coming in. Earlier preschool means parking the child when you do not have anyone to look after them. Now parents are looking at preschool beyond this.