Starting a Premium Primary school – Our Experiences
Posted on May 18, 2018 |
by Vinod Kakumanu
To start a primary school and adopt practices making it a premium primary school is the perfect beginning for aspiring entrepreneurs.
To open a primary school means starting classes up to grade V. The starting may advisably be from preschool level. School promoters usually plan to add higher classes with time to the original primary school and apply for affiliation from among several boards of education in India or International organizations. In any case, the primary school will initially be recognized by the State/U.T. government for operating.
We have explored the possibilities of the school education sector in several states of the country and have recognized the promise inherent in the primary education scenario. We have researched the market and followed the cues to create primary schools that stand out among their contemporaries.
What makes a primary school a premium primary school? First of all, there are no compromises made, not in following statutory guidelines including the Right to Education Act and curriculum implementation, starting from the preschool level. Teachers training and use of teaching aids and education technology at the preschool and primary level is paid due attention in these schools. The other point of distinction, the most apparent one, is the school infrastructure and learning spaces contained therein.
All of this, in desirable quality and adequate quantity, can be achieved without going overboard with the finances. Such schools are the preparatory institutions for students who would be ready to study for best school certificate exams—national and international. The schools habituate them to diligence and develop an ability to excel in extra-curricular arenas anchoring their own confidence and satisfaction of their parents with their overall growth.
We have had the privilege of assisting the establishment of several premium primary school and see them thru the road to success.
A glimpse into the primary school ventures
The course of starting a primary school includes certain steps which are as follows—
Preparing a Plan: A sound plan of operation must be drafted by the promoters of the primary school. It must also be ensured that there is an allowance for a minimum deviation from the initial plan. The said plan would include the settlement of the question of the location of the school and the business plan of 5-7 years of school operations. The other aspects include curriculum structuring plan and recruitment of teachers. The drafting of the plan or the blueprint must aim at the precision and must not be understood to be an abstract conceptualization.
Coming up with the draft budget for the school project: Financial planning must be accorded primary significance although school must not be regarded a typical financial venture. The finances must be planned by people with an eye on the education market. The promoters would have to finance a sum of 200 – 400 lakhs for opening a premium primary school in an urban location within India. The budget would cover all aspects including infrastructure, staffing, and admissions.
Association with a Trust / Society or Section 8 company: Schools must be sponsored by a Trust/Society /Section 8 company. The organization, which can be any of the three, must be non-proprietary i.e. not-for-profit in character. The school can also be associated with a newly formed trust /society or company. The membership of the organization should advisably constitute of people with experience in education, social and cultural sector and professionals from other walks of life. In all cases, there has to be a Memorandum of Association in possession of the school management committee stating the association of the school with the trust/society or the section 8 company overseeing it. The laws that apply with regard to the Trust/society /Company are Indian Trusts Act (1882), Societies Recognition act (1860) and Section 8 Companies Act (2013) respectively.
Finding the location for the primary school: The land must be acquired for the construction of the school building and the premises legally. It must be owned by the school or the trust/society/company running the school or leased by any of the above keeping in mind long-term interests. Dimensions of land hosting a premium primary school must be at least 6000 sqft to 10000 sqft. Selection of the land and its procurement is a painstakingly difficult task. It can be made easy with the help of online portals like SchoolProp.com. The deed of the land acquisition must be well prepared and carefully documented as it forms the primary list of documents for government recognition and education boards’ affiliation.
Coming up with an expedited timeline: After the land is procured the architectural design should be started by employing the architects who specialize in building schools and learning spaces. It is a crucial selection to make as it is not a typical building but a space for an educational purpose. The design of the building must conform to the safety standards and the interiors must be designed with an eye on details and a grasp of aesthetics. A premium primary school’s playground must be conceived and designed not as a secondary and mandatory assignment but as a complementary learning space. The gap between the acquisition of land and the school building construction must not be unduly extended.
Apply for recognition and MCD approval: The application has to be made to the department of education for obtaining recognition for the primary school and the Municipal authority’s approval for running the institution in the building constructed must also be obtained. The approval is provided after an inspection of the building, premises and the amenities besides that of the documents related to the infrastructure.
Recruitment of Teachers and other staff: The appointment of the Principal / Center Head is followed by the recruitment of the teachers. The recruitment drive has to be planned and well-organized. It has to be an online and an offline campaign and must follow a timeline. There will be an office of the School Manager who will oversee the recruitment. Recruitment of well-qualified teachers in numbers keeping in view the desirable student-teacher ratio has to be concluded before the session starts. The recruitment of teachers can be expedited and the budget of the recruitment campaign can be drastically reduced by using the exclusive school teacher recruitment portal educatorOne.com. Appointment of the office staff including the accountant needs to be done besides that of teachers.
Positioning the school and promotion: The new primary school must be positioned to garner maximum enrollment in the start and sustaining the admission rate throughout the course of school operation. The school positioning is a long-term process that has several segments. Initially, it involves market research and use of media for school promotion. The brand positioning of the primary school has to be strategized after careful study of the competition and preference of the parents. The primary school would need promotional material like brochures and hoardings, the offline promotion would be complemented by an online promotion through social media and advertisements. A user-friendly school website must be hosted as a priority in the course of school promotion. The website must detail all aspects of the school including its vision, mission, and philosophy. The section on the curriculum must be lucid and detailed. The information about the admissions and timeline must be published, visible on the home page of the website.
Preparation for the launch: The promotion of the school is an ongoing process. It will start aggressively and will gradually take its course. Before the launch of the school, the admission process has to be initiated and logistics for initial enrollments including the fee structure, RTE compliance etc. must be completed. Curriculum planning for all the classes from the preschool to V grade must be initiated besides the teaching aids and school supplies.
Launching the Primary School: There can be a ceremonial launch, which can be organized on various scales. The occasion would mark the entry of your school into the education sphere, hence it must be approached with tradecraft. The opening ceremony would announce and broadcast the vision of the school and the promise it holds for the community. It is inevitably also a promotional event, therefore must be used for increasing the outreach of the school.
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.