Lina Ashar, Founder, Kangaroo Kids Education Limited (KKEL) shares her success story to inspire and motivate many like her to involve them self and walk besides men and succeed in the field of business and franchise.
Reflecting over my two-decade stint in the Indian education sector leaves me with an immense sense of satisfaction and eagerness - satisfaction, looking at the sea change in the industry and in KKEL being acknowledged as one of the key catalysts of that change. From being a fairly unorganised sector, the pre-school and schooling sectors have become organised, to the extent of the Central government finally giving it its due. We do have a long way to go though and realise our potential in becoming a powerful education hub and am extremely eager to continue contributing to the sector to achieve that distinction.
To work towards a change, is wrought with challenges and yet we must strive at it on a continuous basis; personally, this is the most constant endeavor I have focused on! It was in the early 1990s when I realised the serious limitations of the school education system compared to those followed internationally. Classes were cramped with students, leaving out any chance of giving personalised attention to the child; the entire education model was archaic and based on rote learning. This model, unfortunately still employed in majority of schools even today, fails to achieve the basic objective of education – to enable application of knowledge and building of life skills.
KKEL was thus founded with an aim to introduce an empowering system of education which would enable learners to seamlessly integrate the derived knowledge with different areas of application, across learning environments. Looking back, I believe that it was indeed the turning point of my life. It seemed just right and the decision to start off on my own rather than be a part of my father’s Australian business legacy came very easy.
Starting with only a thirty lakh rupee loan from my father in 1989, I embarked on setting up our first preschool. We started off with a Kangaroo Kids center in Bandra, which took almost three years to setup, largely due to difficulty in finding a place for the school. Our innovative approach and methodology were immediately acknowledged by parents and soon led to the establishment of Billabong High International Schools, as an extension of our vision and commitment to the parents and students. From there on it has been a roller coaster ride to reach where we are today – evolving as a fully integrated education service provider including teacher training institutes, spanning 80 centers across 17 locations. We have also expanded to Maldives and Dubai and are looking at more centers internationally.
Being one of the first and currently among the very few players to have a dedicated and one of the largest in-house R&D team, we have constantly set industry benchmarks through the dissemination of our proprietary curriculum. Our team incorporates globally acknowledged research and learning method into the curriculum on a continuous basis.
One of our major achievements, apart from the quality of education we impart, is the fact that we have helped so many budding entrepreneurs create their own success story. Adopting the franchising model as early as the 90s was another landmark decision we took which also played a role in revolutionising the sector.
Perhaps one of the greatest testaments to our success is the fact that today several of our partners – investors, franchisees, teachers, curriculum developers including senior corporate officials – are parents who have seen their children evolve with the solutions we offer.
Whatever we have achieved so far is truly dedicated to my people. I am only glad that I could provide them a platform to excel and contribute so meaningfully.
During this time period I have been given numerous tags like woman entrepreneur, pioneer in the education sector and many more but essentially I am an educator. The joy seen on faces of children in the classrooms is what gives me utmost satisfaction. No award and praise is bigger than educating a child and equipping him/her to realise their dreams…