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Dec, 01 2006

CLASS ACT BY Nation\'s Education Master Brand in a class act of franchising

KIDZEE, the master brand in preschool education, has been here for just about 3 years. Going by the time frame the stature it has attained is phenomenal. At least, fairly laudable by conservative appreciation.

ENVISAGED by Zee Interactive Learning Systems Ltd., (ZILS), the education arm of Zee Network, KIDZEE was so unique as a concept of holistic child grooming that nothing but 'winged growth' was its logical destiny. It embarked on the arguably most sensitive segment known as pre-primary education with double edged merit…entrepre-neur friendliness on one hand and brand novelty to win parental confidence on the other. The rest is history, having got shaped quietly. Geographical span of KIDZEE has reached 215 cities and towns across the country with 471 schools in its ever-expanding network. Beyond the country border it has made its presence in United Arab Emirates only to repeat the same success story. Now on the cards are Singapore, Bangkok, Kathmandu and Bangladesh. In other word, KIDZEE is accepted as a new paradigm of child education in the emerging new world. Founded on the theme of Playway method KIDZEE has revived a lost world for today's children…their childhood, where fun mixes abundantly with excitement of learning. The focus is on holistic development of every child. Reality reveals that Parents are relatively a relieved lot with KIDZEE and the entrepreneurs are finding it as music to their investment on the brand.

To have a quick look at the pedigree, ZILS has a lineage that can easily set aside all conjectures of an organization better capable of harnessing such magnificent makeover in education at the beginners' level. The grand enterprise is an ISO 9001 certified education provider, to start with and a corporate descendent of over Rs3000 crore, Essel Group of Industries. Essel is an international player in the field of media and entertainment, packaging, amusement and theme park, multiplexes, online gaming, satellite communication and online exchange & cash cards, represented by the companies viz. Zee Telefilms Ltd., Essel Propack, Essel World, E-City Entertainment, Playwin Infravest, Agrani Satellite, Intrex Ltd. and a host of other companies. ZILS is a multidivisional education enterprise designing and delivering a variety of education content and industry specific solution for a range of careers and vocations through multiple delivery platforms: Powered with such well-cultivated expertise in education ZILS has set its sight on child education, till then a relatively disarrayed segment that badly needed proactive moves and measures to catch up with the developed world. Timing could not have been better as India has been going the whole hog to wards economic liberalization. KIDZEE came into being against this exciting backdrop and with such a commendable lineage.

KIDZEE has got off the ground with resounding success proving that there has been a long wait for a brand like this unleashing big opportunity. In fact pre KIDZEE no such ready to roll package was available around and playgroups were mostly being treated as parking lots for the kids.

There was no evaluation benchmark for a child joining these places. Most of the existing playgroups were lacking appropriate curriculum and teaching methodology, which enables all round development of a child. KIDZEE has addressed the gray areas and black spots with a format based on the basics of "helping young minds grow and learn in an amicable environment resulting in their all round development, - sensorial, physical, intellectual, aesthetic, cognitive, emotional and social development." Translating this reality into market economics it turns out to be Rs.12000 crore business sphere according to industry analysts. Keeping the focus on honest implementation of its set objectives KIDZEE has soon emerged as the national leader and aims to reach the magic number of 500+ schools by end of this year. As the model adopted is Franchising, no wonder it has bagged the most prestigious award of "Best Franchiser" for consecutive two years i.e 2004 & 2005. Kidzee has worked wonders in an amazingly short span. It has developed a unique child grooming gharana with its triangle comprising forward looking compassionate entrepreneurs and teachers-trainers combine, well informed new age parents and satisfied children. The curriculum with the ingeniously designed toys, play and learn equipment at KIDZEE involves complete interaction where children are encouraged to collaborate and help each other. The curriculum and content is divided into several activities, all structured to stimulate and develop the child's interest nurturing their intrinsic verbal, creative and academic skills through free play that includes building blocks, puzzles, stories, music and a lot more innovative customized formats.

The methodology also includes multi sensory materials for physical exploration with state-of-the art equipment in a culture-specific environment wherein specially trained teachers and support staff contribute immensely. In fact, facilities like specialized teachers, attendants, counselors, personal attention, hygiene and security are statutory components of every KIDZEE center.

Exposure to preschool environment, scientifically designed play & learn equipment prepares the children to explore independently, develop problem solving abilities and critical thinking techniques, with every opportunity to achieve success skills which prove valuable for the children to gain admission in good schools. Thoroughly researched, standardized, comprehensive and well-documented Manuals featuring key areas like Academics, Operations, Activities and Quality are the bible to all KIDZEE Schools.

In addition an interactive website www.kidzee.com ensures online support and fast access to information at all times to Franchisees and provides regular feedback from parents. Mr. Arun K. Khetan, CEO and the concept king of the brand has summarized KIDZEE convenience most succinctly " KIDZEE is a neighborhood concept. Parents do not mind paying a bit more for the time relevant personalized attention and care we offer to ensure holistic growth of the child, not to mention accessibility. One can not imagine a playschool being located more than a kilometer away from where the child resides".

To understand KIDZEE one has to look into the vision of a suave, flamboyant dreamer and taskmaster- Mr. Arun K.Khetan. A Chartered Accountant of consummate knowledge and profundity Mr. Khetan has been always at his creative best to ensure the proactive management of the brand he has masterminded with a mission. His objective is truly admirable as it aims not only to transcend child education to the next level by global parameters but also to encourage knowledge entrepreneurship especially among women. He is a leader with a mind set committed to the society too and it is hardly surprising that his leadership has energized the whole organization to play the anchor role in spreading new age education most comprehensively at different levels. It is this zeal, commitment and well-meaning dynamism coupled with reverberating confidence and rich expertise as a market leader in preschool segment that has inspired ZILS to foray into formal school education. KIDZEE High has thus rolled out into the reality. Explains Mr. Khetan "Rapid globalization in recent time has provided necessary impetus to the pace of changes in the socio-economic & technology field and exposed our institution to new level of competition and challenges. The educational institutions across the country are no exception to these sweeping changes and are faced with an up hill task of effecting qualitative up gradation of infrastructure, curriculum, teaching-learning methodologies and latest technology to survive the onslaught of global players in this field."

Timing could not be better as India is more and more seen as the land of infinite opportunities and as a rising superpower in the knowledge domain. KIDZEE High has been conceived as an answer to the growing need for world-class schools in India to shape global minds on Indian soil. The School will impart a wide-ranging new age learning experience to equip the child to face the challenges in the contemporary world. Upcoming schools of excellence will lay special emphasis on character and personality development and will be fully supported by the cutting age technology and top-of-the line infrastructure. The curriculum at KIDZEE High has been designed to stimulate the imagination and open the minds of the children to the road of creativity and innovativeness to prepare them to take up the challenges of globalization, galloping technology and socio economic changes in the 21st century.

The commitment and passion of ZILS to meet the expectations of the society at large has evolved into four highly flexible models of KIDZEE High School. The KIDZEE High Day and KIDZEE High Extended Day Schools will be located within the municipal limits of metros/ towns, conceptualized to meet the requirement of children from joint families and nuclear respectively. The other two formats titled as "KIDZEE High Residential with Weekend" and "KIDZEE High Residential" have been planned to be located at least 30 km away from metros/ mega cities in the sylvan and picturesque of hills/ forests in the lap of the nature and for removed from the dins and noise of cities/towns. Franchisees who are being screened and selected to move this Brand extension of KIDZEE are almost destined to reap rich rewards in terms of entrepreneurial success. Going by the established track record the association with ZILS, known for its commitment, innovativeness and highest standards of quality will churn yet another satisfying business experience in this sphere of formal school education. In addition to complete technical know how from blue prints of the school building to the operation of full fledged operational CBSC/CISCE affiliated school, ZILS also offers counselor service, documented curriculum, selection & training of teachers for Activity Based & Child Centric Teaching learning process as per National Curriculum Framework- 2005. As franchising has emerged as catalyst for growth & development in the recent year and accordingly ZILS is fully prepared to provide an exhaustive professional franchise orientation training to the new partners in the field of formal school education. More information about KIDZEE High is available at www.kidzeehigh.com

The buck does not stop here. Mr. Khetan and his non-complacent team has comprehensive command of the trend and tradition the history of Indian education created. They are ceaseless in their drive to identify the lacunas in the system and subsequently to offer breakthroughs. Childcare is one of such areas that ask for immediate attention especially in the context of fast growing nuclear families. Working mothers are the worst victims of this nonexistent facility for safe secure and proper environment that compel them to either punctuate their career or quit their job for good. ZILS has woken upto the realty with an exceptionally well-sensitized format of childcare in Franchisee model branded as KIDZCARE. It offers an infrastructure with regard to care, safety, security,

hygiene standards and to top it all a learning environment. It is all set to serve two purpose at a time, while on one hand reverse the trend of career sacrifices by the working mother and on the other unfold opportunities for women empowerment. Women can comfortably look forward to entrepreneurship with KIDZCARE and make their mark in the business of care. The market is still untapped and projects a growth to the tune of Rs.10, 000 crore in India. Mr. Khetan exudes both confidence and high degree of optimism about the nascent brand; " In fact our confidence as market leader in preschool education through KIDZEE has powered us with the right expertise and resources for backward integration in the sector of caring and nurturing the child and creation of KIDZCARE". The care format is developed after exhaustive research and analysis to make it thoroughly child friendly and then tailor-made with features like quality care providers, interactive ambience, a gamut of age appropriate development activities like art & craft, story telling/ making, music, general knowledge, etiquettes and grooming, outdoor activities, parent involvement and nutrition programs.

ZILS, with its canopy of credentials, has come a long way in not-so-long a-time-span and has kept its focus on the business that is changing in a breath taking speed. Their commitment to the field is so intense that it has been making niche moves one after another to convert problems into opportunities, gray areas into sunshine horizons. Out of this urge has come out International Early Childhood Teachers' Education Course (IECTEC). The goal is to create a pool of aptly trained professional teachers in the filed of Early Childhood Care and Education with a balanced blend of theoretical awareness and hands on experience. The teachers, primarily women can take charge of varied settings like kindergarten, daycare centers, preschools, school for impaired children. IECTEC, one more potent franchisee based business model thus not only addresses the need of professionals in early childhood education but also is instrumental in raising a new breed of women entrepreneurs. To get detailed views visit www.iecetec.com

ZILS with its exceedingly exciting brandwagon is today an education powerhouse that has benchmarked the defined knowledge segment. The organization is unmistakably prolific in envisaging education packages of international standard and in the process dolling out dollop of premium business opportunities for individuals with fire in their belly to make it big as entrepreneurs. Association with the leader-organization has already proven rewarding and the future it portrays is even more eclectic. So the business hunters can take the stance in this level playing field to play a long unbeaten innings. Be game.

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