Education Apr, 19 2016

Education biz with higher rewards

Preschools are a fast growing sector and with the ‘branded’ preschools segment growing at a CAGR of 40-45%, it is one of the fastest growing segments in the education space. Let's find out what Raman Bajaj, MD, Little Millennium,Educomp Child Ltd. has to o...

By Yamini S Verma, TFW Bureau
Education biz with higher rewards

What all key points do you look at while conducting audits at franchisee’s location?

Little Millennium conducts audits that give a detailed analysis about the franchisee’s centre, with a view to improving specific existing practices. Hence, our endeavour while conducting audits at our centres is to ‘guide’ and not to pass a verdict. Our effort is towards empowerment and progress of our franchisee schools. Little Millennium conducts regular audits to improve the centres in each of the following areas:

  • Preschool management
  • Assessing teacher competency
  • Tips for counselling and parent sessions
  • Curriculum delivery and implementation
  • Adherence to safety & security guidelines
  • Usage of teaching aids
  • Upkeep of activity areas
  • Maintenance of classrooms
  • Centre design and infrastructure
  • Hygiene and general cleanliness

What kind of technology do you use for conducting audits?

Our team conducts regular audits at the franchise centres. The audits are conducted through teacher interviews, franchise interviews, classroom observation and face to face interaction with the parents. We also conduct joint meetings with the franchisee’s to access the centre’s performance in terms of enrolments. After each audit by our team of trainers and well trained professionals a detailed centre visit report is prepared which is shared with the franchisee. This report is an elaborative report which serves as a guide for the franchise for improving the centres performance. All our audits are documented online, for ready reference at any point of time.

What type of audits do you conduct on regular basis? Does it also involve review from mystery audits, reviewing weekly or monthly work report at franchise premises, monthly running cost of the unit covering expenses and whether the franchisee is able to maintain standards or not?

The core thought behind all audits at Little Millennium is to –introspect, empower and progress. Our team conducts regular audits to ensure that quality standards are being met. The audits are documented, discussed, shared and actioned upon by the qualified team of trainers at Little Millennium. The aim of our audits is to ‘guide’ the preschool towards achieving the common vision and goals and not to pass a verdict.

Do you think pre-school industry has now come to a saturation point? Does franchising in pre- school business will help edupreneurs to tackle with the problem?

The Indian consumer is becoming highly aware and conscious about the importance of early childhood education as the building blocks (foundation) of learning for future years. Many parents are now beginning to enroll their children to preschools for the first time. Also, there is an increasing demand for scientifically developed preschool curriculum (not just 'any' curriculum). On the back of intrinsic demand, young population and growing middle class, we see tremendous growth in India’s preschool industry, in the years ahead. Preschool education needs to available in every neighborhood, due to the fact that children at that age would not travel long distance. Preschools need to be present in every neighborhood, every locality of every city. This is why the role of individual entrepreneurs who take up a preschool franchise, becomes extremely important. It is these franchisees who make it possible for structured and researched preschool curriculum to reach the millions of children all over the country. We are seeing very encouraging growth trends in the market including tier-II and III markets. We are also seeing that more and more women entrepreneurs are coming forward to start preschools

How is training and support important for a franchise brand to grow?

Little Millennium has built a strong franchisee support system. Our comprehensive training, procedures, processes, and supply chain network equips the franchisee with right skills to run the business. We engage with the franchisees right from finalising a suitable location for the preschool, designing the preschool, recruitment of teachers, teacher training, local area marketing, operational management, ongoing quality audits & on-site training, including assistance in operating day care centre and activity centre, to ensure the success of the centres. Training is an important part of preschool education as early years are the most important years for the growth and development of children. We provide continuous teacher trainings on implementation and delivery of our Seven Petal curriculum, on new-age pedagogy, on effective usage of teaching aids in classrooms, on conducting parenting workshops etc. Our well-researched trainings and workshops help our teachers to realise their true potential.

We also provide support in the form of parent orientation and parent engagement programmes , which are conducted periodically to sensitise and help evolve the parent towards understanding the Teaching – learning pedagogy at Little Millennium Centres.

What are the major growth drivers of your brand?

Little Millennium’s strategy has always been to focus on providing superior value to our customers leading to brand creation through word of mouth. Being part of Educomp, India’s largest education company, we have a very strong in-house R & D team of over 400 professionals who constantly work to develop our curriculum by creating and adopting the latest and the best practices in early childhood education. Little Millennium aims to promote holistic development of each child so that they become effective learners throughout their lives. The emphasis is on building the right foundation for the child everyday through unique activities where the children learn sub-consciously. Little Millennium believes that each child is unique and each has the right to grow based on his/ her abilities and the program helps each child to do so. We have unique offerings that complement our curriculum to add additional value to our customers.

Tells us about the brand's USP.

Little Millennium’s Settlers Program is specifically designed for children between 1.5 to 2.5 years to help them settle down and get ready for preschool environment. Through this program children are taught the first set of life skills like listening, responding to instructions, sharing, taking turns and playing collaboratively. Little Millennium also has a sports curriculum program called 'Kickers Club' which is the first of its kind, sports curriculum uniquely designed for kids in 3-6 years age bracket. Kickers Club is a uniquely designed sports curriculum which helps children inculcate the love for sports among children at an early age and develop team skills. Little Millennium also practices story yoga in all its preschools. Story yoga combines the joys of listening to stories with moral values, while enacting the same through simple stretching exercises and yoga asanas. This ensures the perfect all-round growth of the child’s body and mind. Story Yoga was awarded with 'The Best practices followed by a preschool' category from the Early Childhood Association in 2012. We organise a kids marathon every year, to support the cause against child abuse and promote healthy development of children. Little Millennium Kids Marathon is a short distance run by preschool children and their parents and our mission is to celebrate running, promote physical fitness and encourage healthier lifestyle in children from an early age.

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