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Jun, 01 2008

Big business of teaching young

Academics are just one part of a child`s education, and equally important is developing skills like confidence, creative and logical thinking, problem solving, communication and team work that are critical for a child to survive in this competitive world.

Academic excellence involves a lot of hard work and stress, and, unless the process is made enjoyable for the children there will be a tendency for them to get alienated from studies and developing skills.

The concept of computer in the field of interactive education is new in India and the emphasis on computer education for children has, undoubtedly, been delayed.

The latest mantra for I-T trainers is to catch them young. Teaching kids to use computers, today, is becoming serious business with over a dozen players already existing and a similar number contemplating to enter the field. According to industry observes, the segment would be worth Rs 10,000 crore in the next three years and is likely to double within the next five years.

Expansion of these centres and new ones that are to come will be easier through franchising. Many international firms have adopted this method to spread their centres.

Enter `edutainment`

Training institutes like NIIT Leda, Boston Cyberkids, Fourth R, Futurekids, Planet IQ, Cyberkids, IT Kids are mushrooming across the country. Their special courses are full of games and multimedia effects for children between the age group three to 14. Most of them help a child not just in learning computers, but also help in understanding the academics better. Their goal is to make the kid IT-literate, if not IT-savvy. The punch word here is `edutainment` or learning with fun.

International players like Future kids, Fourth R have already started their operation in India, and others like Computer Tots, Fastrackids are planning to come soon. While NIIT has over a 100 Leda Family Club centres, The Fourth R has 50 and catching up is Boston Cyberkids with centres in 29 major cities. I.T.Kids` concept of sub-franchisees is paying off well. At present it has 74 sub-franchisees and plans a total of 300 by next year.

The training media

A lot is being harped about the computer influx, its many advantages and the necessity for children to be computer-literate. However, can children cope up with their regular academics along with computer courses?

Mr Abhinav Dhar, head of NIIT Leda business group, answers, “This is definitely not a burden on a child. Through computers a kid understands computers and also brushes up the regular school curriculum. There is a need for schools to gear up and understand the latest technology.”

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