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How to Start an ICSE Affiliated School in India?

How to Start an ICSE Affiliated School in India?

Posted on January 22, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

Starting an ICSE school in India implies getting a school affiliated to the Central Council of Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) or the ICSE board. To get affiliated with the council a school in India must be operational and must have the state board recognition. Opening a school with a vision towards CISCE affiliation must keep medium of instruction as English exclusively. Every private school in India must be run by a Trust/ Society/ Section 25(1) company. Such Trust or Society must be non- proprietary and it must own or hold on lease the land for the school. There also must be a memorandum of association between the school and the Trust/Society which sets up a School Governing Body or School Management Committee.

School promoters who decide to venture into education sector and plan to open a new school know that successful start of a new school depends on several factors. For detailed directions on the school set up process visit our previous post  How to start a New School in India?

It is important to review why ICSE is emerging as the board of choice for affiliation among school promoters in India.  In the second decade of 21stcentury when we have started to redefine scholastic merit in international terms the school education boards with some global orientation are finding renewed relevance. Now there is a marked increase in the popularity of curricula and methods of assessment that are informed by global pedagogical standards. The Council for Indian Schools Certificate Examination (CISCE), popularly known as’ ICSE board’ is the only Indian education board that enjoys international recognition. This implies that the grades acquired by the school students passing the board examinations are considered at par with the grades of several international merit assessment exams for higher education. Admissibility of ICSE board grades in English at par with TOFEL and IELTS grades is a case in point. Besides, the CISCE offers a wider choice of subjects than CBSE and state boards and emphasizes the overall development of pupils.  Starting a school in India affiliated to the ICSE board becomes an excellent choice for these reasons.

ICSE schools are compulsorily English medium schools and are required to maintain a high academic standard to sustain their affiliation with the council. Presently, there are over 2100 ICSE affiliated schools in India. The figures make it clear that the ICSE schools are lesser in number than schools affiliated to other education boards like CBSE. It implies that they cater to a population with a specific set of educational preferences. This gives a chance to the school to make its place and gain an edge through its merit without facing the disadvantages of having an enormous number of competitors in the fray. School promoters just have to concentrate on providing rich educational experience to their students and expect success and enviable reputation in return.

It is important to take note that the school should not advertise itself as “ICSE School” or running “ICSE syllabus”. This direction is in accordance with the rules laid down by the Council. The abbreviation CISCE should be used instead.

 

Coming to the process of gaining affiliation with the CISCE, it must be underscored that for an affiliation application made by a school to be processed it must have

  1. Association with a Trust/Society/Company

The trust /society /company must be non- proprietary and must be financially sustainable. It must ensure that a School Governing Body and Managing Committee are constituted.

To attest the financial stability of the trust/society/company an audit report issued by a firm of chartered accountants along with balance sheet and income and expenditure accounts must be submitted while applying for affiliation.

 

  1. State Board recognition and No Objection Certificate (NOC)

The school applying for affiliation must have a prior recognition from the state board and a NOC to the effect that the state approves the affiliation of the school with the ICSE from preschool to class 10th or 12th.

The school applying for affiliation must have started Class VI and the school must get affiliated to the CISCE before students enter Class IX.  It is strongly stated by the council that before the affiliation is granted students should not be promoted to class IX.

 

The schools applying for affiliation to CISCE should concentrate their efforts and resources on following aspects

  1. Land and School Infrastructure

School land and property must be in the name of the Society / Trust / Company or the school itself. The land can be owned or leased. If the land or school building is leased it should be registered for a minimum term of 5 years, additionally, there must be a renewal clause of at least 30 years.

Minimum land requirement for a school applying for affiliation with the CISCE is 2000 sq.metres. Such land would include the school building and the playground.

A format termed ‘land certificate’ assigned by the Council needs to be filled by the school applying for affiliation. You can download the form at ICSE land certificate form.

Coming to the school building and infrastructure, the council mandates minimum area of a classroom to be 37 sq.metres. There must be separate laboratories for science subjects with practical’s and for lessons in computers. The labs must be well equipped. The complete inventory of lab equipment can be availed from the council’s website http://cisce.org/. The school must also have requisite infrastructure for instruction in other subjects, for instance, equipment and field space for practical instructions in Geography etc.

The school must also have a fairly rich library. The specifications of the CISCE with respect to the stock of the library is   2500 books with about 5 books per student excluding the text book specimens. The council clearly directs that the school library must not stock keys or guide books of any sort.

Fulfilling land and infrastructure requirements requires careful selection and precision. With the advent of portals like SchoolProp.com the property for schools has become far more accessible.

 

  1. Teaching Staff

The school must appoint teachers with qualifications as per the CISCE norms. The council has specified the qualification and experience required for the academic staff including the Principal and the Vice-Principal.  For instance, minimum qualification according to the council for The Principal / Headmaster / Headmistress is a postgraduate in a teaching subject from a recognized University and a recognized teacher-education degree and five years teaching experience in a recognized school. For details about the qualification and experience for teachers and heads Chapter II of the affiliation guidelines must be referred at CISE Affiliation Guidelines.

While considering the question of teacher student ratio it must be kept in mind that the number of students in any given class must not exceed 45.

Given the uncompromising attitude of the CISCE regarding the qualification and experience of teachers and Heads of the schools affiliated with them, a recruitment drive for selecting adequately qualified teachers must be undertaken. School promoters can find human resources for schools through educatorOne.com

 

  1. Establishment of Curriculum

The Council has a prescribed Curriculum for Preschool to Class VIII.  It has assigned syllabi for subjects   of examination for the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) (Classes IX & X) and for the Indian School Certificate (ISC) (Classes XI & XII) examinations.

There are however no assigned textbooks for instruction by the council except for English and other languages. The schools can opt for a set of textbooks for instruction in all other subjects provided they are efficient in imparting the desirable levels of knowledge.

 

  1. Preparation for Inspection

After the application for affiliation is made by the school and the application is found complete with all essential documents and details the Council will delegate to the inspectors the duty of school inspection for affiliation.

The council has expressly instructed the aspects and ideal conditions for their upkeep in chapter III of its affiliation guidelines.

School promoters must mind that these conditions are met in totality to ensure their school’s affiliation with CISCE. The comprehensive list of facets that are inspected includes the school infrastructure, teaching and other staff, facilities, documentation, students’ assessment criteria, curriculum and teaching aids, extracurricular facilities, Internet availability, documentation standard, conduct of examinations, accounts, medical amenities and staff, fire safety, provision of lifts and staircases with railings, water harvesting apparatus etc.

School supplies are carefully assessed both for quality and quantity by the Council. A detailed list of school supplies that must be at the disposal of the school administration is listed in the affiliation guidelines. It includes high quality blackboards, teaching aids, stationery, laboratory equipment, and furniture and storage facilities besides sports and games supplies etc. School promoters must carefully observe the listings in the affiliation guidelines of the council at the link given above and make no compromises. Quality school supplies can be purchased online on portals like schoolsupermart.com.

 

 

The school promoters must prepare for the Inspection and concentrate on the undermentioned aspects.

 

  • Documents of School Initiation

Documents detailing every aspect of school founding that must be maintained include land records, blue print of the structure, fitness report from the concerned authority, NOC from the Government, trust deed, memorandum of association / registration certificate, list of members of the Governing Body / Managing Committee, minutes of the meetings of the Governing Body / Managing Committee and audited statement of accounts of the school.

 

  • School Infrastructure and Support Services

Details of the school building, location and surroundings, architectural design of interiors, playground, toilets,    drainage and emergency safety apparatuses are surveyed. Quality of the construction will be particularly observed by the inspectors deputed by the Council for affiliation fitness inspection.

The sizes and equipment levels of classrooms, library and laboratories will be closely inspected. Stock registers of supplies must be kept up to date for the inspection. Special attention is to be paid to the computer lab where required number of appropriately configured computers and internet facility will be particularly inspected. Library must be stocked and staffed according to the Councils directions and its budget allocation is to be specified.

Facilities, Canteen, Infirmary will be inspected for hygiene status and standard of equipment.  Infirmary must be well equipped and staffed. It has to have wheel chairs, oxygen cylinders and services of Doctors and nurses at hand.

School Conveyance must stand in good stead. The condition of school buses, background information of drivers and conductors and security arrangements will be inspected besides other details that are considered relevant by the inspecting team.

 

  • Documents and details of students and staff

It includes details about the number of boys and girl students in each classroom. The admission process is also scrutinized by the Inspection Committee. The documents including birth certificates and transfer certificates must be in place. Other documents that are to be produced at the time of inspection include the fee book, attendance registers, consolidated mark sheets, school time table and format of report cards.

There must be an articulated document detailing the provisions for the differently abled students. Details of and procedures followed with regard to the management and employment of teachers, administrative and ancillary staff must be documented for appraisal.  This includes the details of the qualifications of the teachers and Principal, their pay scale and work load. Besides that the leave rules, teaching modalities and service conditions must be clearly delineated for the Inspectors’ observation.

The same applies for the administrative and ancillary staff. There also has to be a Counsellor and Special Educator. The documents and details that are needed for inspection are service records, attested certificates and documents of the qualifications of the employees, reports of the lesson observation, appraisals and incentives records and salary and attendance registers for the employees.

 

  • Status of Academics and Extra-curricular activities

The details about the academic set up and curricular conduct of the school is closely checked by the council and any asymmetry between the guidelines and practice is pointed out. The details include the subjects being taught in the different classes, third language from Grade V to VIII, choice of subjects planned for Grade IX to XII , text books prescribed , class assignments and homework , projects in different subjects ,practical work in Sciences ,Craft / Art / Socially Useful Productive Work , speaking skills and conversation skill in the languages , aural comprehension , use of teaching aids , criteria for internal assessment , format of question papers, evaluation of examination answer scripts , format of the report card , consolidated report card and mark sheet for the year.

The details of the co-curricular activities which include drama, dance, music, elocution, inter- school and intra-school competitions, house system , exhibitions of art, craft and projects,  hobby clubs , school magazine / newsletter , social services and community programs are to be produced at the time of inspection.

Once the inspecting Officers deputed by the CISCE submit their report the school awaits the correspondence from the council. If approved, the new school gets a provisional affiliation.

The process of CISCE affiliation is demanding, and once obtained, sustaining the affiliation requires consistent effort on the part of the school management. It has to keep assessing every aspect of school operation and strategize school improvement. If this is accomplished the school would certainly see itself in the league of reputed CISCE schools.


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How to Start a New School in India?

Posted on January 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

Starting a school in India is a venture many like to explore. Owing to the state policies related to school land and licensing and human resources involved in establishing and running a new school, the opening of a new school and details involved in the overall project can turn out to be unduly strenuous.  Guidance from professional school consultancies, the process of school establishment could be eased considerably.

The private school venture, both in terms of establishment and gaining investment returns, highly depends on the policies formulated by Ministry of Human Resource Development and states’ education department. School establishment and recognition laws in India are made by both the states and the center and certain facets may change from one state to another.

The process of opening a private school is pretty direct but it involves several steps and components which demand time and dedicated resources. A set of principles must be followed to set up a new school successfully.

The guidelines for starting a private school in India are explained here  —

  1. Decide the type of the school you want to start

The school can be a Playschool, Pre- Primary, Primary, Secondary or K-12. At this point, one has to decide how many grades would there be in the beginning. School promoters can decide to start the school with a small number of grades with a vision of increasing the number with time or they may plan to launch the school with both lower and higher grades.

  1. Associate the school with a Trust or Society or Section 8 company

To start a private school, association with either a trust or society or a section 8 company is a must. It can be a pre-existing trust or society or can be a newly formed one.   A trust or society operating a school in states of India must be registered under the state’s Trust Act or Indian Societies Registration Act 1860. The trust or society thus established is not -for -profit organization. If a company is sponsoring the new school, it should be registered under section 8 of the Companies Act 2013.

The trust or a society has to have a minimum of three members to get registered. The said trust or society must comprise of a ‘School Governing Board’ with three officially declared members namely the President, Secretary, and Chairman. The board additionally has two or three other members. It is preferable for these members to have educational or social work credentials.

The school board must acquire a ‘Memorandum of Association’ from the educational trust.

  1. Acquiring land or Appropriating a Land for Establishing

Land for establishing a school can be purchased or leased. If the school promoters already possess a land, they must get it approved for educational use by municipal and the education department of the concerned state. The minimum size of land required depends upon the type of school, the location i.e. rural, urban and its location relative to the city limit. Also different boards have their own minimum land area requirements.

Before proceeding to procure land for the school the need of a new school in the given area must be recognized by the Department of Education (DoE) of the state. For this, the department issues an ‘Essentiality Certificate (EC)’. The certificate establishes that the new school is indeed essential for the area for which it is proposed and is not superfluous. This certificate is, in effect, the NOC for the school building construction. Municipal authority’s certification is also required. Other considerations include the environment that would host the school and availability of amenities that makes it fit for children like drinking water etc. After obtaining the EC construction must begin within 3 years or it expires. As education industry is characterized by its non –profit facet, the land being bought for the school building construction can be obtained from an agency at highly subsidized rates after a letter of sponsorship is acquired from the municipal authority.

  1. School Master Plan and Architecture

School building plan must be approved by the state board and if the plan is to gain national board affiliation, respective bye laws must be kept in mind. The specifications pertaining to the school architecture include number of classrooms, library, offices, assembly hall, labs, facilities, auditorium and area of the playground/play area, For CBSE and ICSE schools the minimum area in square feet is specified.

The blueprint of the school building facade and interior must be complete when application for the state board affiliation is made. State board affiliation is necessary even if the school promoters are planning to eventually gain CBSE or ICSE affiliation.

  1. Defining Mission and Vision of the School

There must be a clearly defined and drafted institutional mission and vision. The guiding principles and philosophy of the new school are outlined in the vision and mission statement clarifying the relevance of the school in terms of community wherefrom the students are drawn. The educational outcomes envisioned by the school and the curriculum orientation must be clearly delineated along with the method of assessment of the scholastic development of the students and school’s effectiveness. It is customary to define the social goals of the private school as an enterprise in the educational sector is seen in terms of its social dimensions.

  1. Applying for Recognition and Affiliation

It is mandatory for a new school to have State Board affiliation. State board affiliation is granted if the NOC to use said land for the educational purpose, school infrastructure, amenities for children and staff as recommended are in place.  After the school is operational an application for provisional affiliation can be made to CBSE. In case an ICSE recognition is desired the time passed after school establishment and state recognition is more. The process of applying for affiliation must be according to the bye-laws of the board to which the application is to be made. A list of licenses and approvals that are to be annexed with the application can be obtained from the board’s website.  Initially, provisional affiliation is granted after an inspection by the inspection committee of the board visits the school and makes recommendations. In case any deficiency is found in the school, time is granted to remedy that. In case the affiliation is not granted, a reapplication has to be made after a year or more, depending on the board.

  1. Drafting Financial Plan for the School Project

Financial plan of the new school is primarily for the master plan efficacy, establishment of the school and its operation. The plan contains the assessment of the feasibility of the school project. It contains the school setup outlay, details of the investment and revenue projections.

While drafting the business plan attention must be paid to the effect that every section of the financial plan must have its rationale in terms of academic goals and educational outcomes.  The financial plan also includes the breakup of costs. The sections which comprise the financial plan include land investment; infrastructure costs etc. school financial plan will also include the planned budget, organizational structure, and details of the administrative costs and the prospective board of affiliation.

Sourcing the investment is crucial. The investment can be acquired from banks for opening a school but that requires a perfectly drawn plan to convince the bank of the soundness of the idea. Every aspect is inspected by the prospective funder of the private school which can be a donor; private company etc.

It must be understood by school promoters that when you run a school you are essentially running various complimentary businesses like conveyance, canteen, stationery, books, and uniforms to name a few. The scenario obviously calls for a financial plan and expert resource planning. In all financial plan will need constant evolution so that School Feasibility Report remains as intended throughout its operational course.

  1. Constituting School Committee

The school founding committee must comprise of efficient members who can rise up to the occasion of managing the school and manning the core management body that would evolve with the school’s progression. The body need to have experts, preferably people with vision and experience in area of education. Besides educationists, people with knowledge of legalities, accounts, business and architecture will prove to be of great resource for any private school.

  1. Hiring of Teachers and Staff

The qualification and professionalism of the teachers and staff is of central importance for a school’s success. The qualifications of the Principal and other academic staff are stipulated by the boards of affiliation. Besides that, accountant and administrative staff need to be hired.  Vacancies must be posted and Interviews must be conducted for academic and non-academic staff’s recruitment.

  1. School Promotion and Launch

In the final stages of new school establishment process comes the promotional advertising. To begin with the marketing plan, idea of a brand needs to be evolved. A constant influx of marketing ideas for the new school is desirable. A thorough study of the school’s catchment area and the competition around is critical for effective promotion. It is indeed easier if the help of school marketing consultant is sought after the consolidation of the idea of starting a private school.

The brand management of the school is a research backed and specialized process. Promotional media campaign must be executed to this end. Brand strategy must be designed to reach out to the parents whose preferences are researched beforehand. Parent’s preferences primarily include the curricular affiliation and affordability. Premium must be put on online promotion and new school’s directory presence must be ensured. Then there arises the need for attention to the result of the promotion namely, the admissions. The rate of initial enrollment must be maximized. Enrollment details and procedures must be published online on the newly created dedicated website.

The competition needs to be assessed well. The upcoming private school will naturally face competition from the existing schools of repute. A distinct identity and niche carving must be strategized accordingly. This does not happen overnight and is a protracted process requiring consistent effort.

After sequential and planned efforts the school project materializes. There is no doubt about the good business prospects of a well founded and well managed private school. Indian school education ecosystem has distinctive features. The emphasis placed on quality and competition among private schools drives innovation and best practices.  Success of school, keeping all this in view, depends upon the ability to upgrade, adapt and the choice of solutions and school solution providers.


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