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Apr, 19 2010

SCHOOL WITH A DIFFERENCE

There is a huge demand for quality schools in the organized education sector. The need of the hour is not only preschools but high school education that is stress free and enabling. Working on these principles is KKEL, which is set to make a difference in

There is a huge demand for quality schools in the organized education sector. The need of the hour is not only preschools but high school education that is stress free and enabling. Working on these principles is KKEL, which is set to make a difference in the education market.

Today, there are a lot of names that are entering the education market but not many can boast to be educators. One such person who realized the vision and mission behind education and strived to make a difference has been Lina Ashar, Chairperson of Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd (KKEL). Today, KKEL boasts of several divisions involved in preschool, K-12 and teacher training.

Starting with only 25 students in one school in 1993, KKEL today, has expanded into a renowned educational group, with 80 schools across 17 different cities in India, Dubai and Maldives, and is still growing.

Different realms

Started as a preschool (Kangaroo Kids), KKEL introduced a radical approach by providing research-based curriculum with learner-centric methodology.

Sixteen years later, with high schools (Billabong High International School) and teacher training institutes (KITDR) added to its portfolio, KKEL has successfully achieved a paradigm shift by creating powerful solutions emphasizing practical application of knowledge and constructivism over rote learning.

Touching different spheres of the education domain and being a complete education provider has been the aim of KKEL. This further led to the launch of its secondary school Billabong High. “We wanted to extend our philosophy to the high school level. The Billabong difference is that we take the registered board's curriculum and enrich it. We make it more relevant, engaging and integrated to a skill-based programme that reflects skills required in the 21st century,” says Lina Ashar. KKEL's proprietary curriculum, modeled within the IGCSE, ICSE and CBSE frameworks, is ingeniously crafted to be disseminated across various touch points, immediately increasing teacher efficiency, a one of its kind product delivery model in the industry.

Considering the importance of business which rests on the teachers in the education business, KKEL forayed into the teacher training segment. The special Teaching Development Department ensures that the gap between design and implementation is plugged by identifying teacher competencies required to facilitate student outcomes. Detailing the importance of this department Ashar enlightens, “We have identified a continuous development programme as part of the in-service professional development for skill enhancement. We also have a teacher upgradation strategy to retain and upgrade our teachers.” All facilitators and teachers are also exposed to training sessions before delivery of the curriculum.

Franchise forte

Realizing the strength of franchising and how it helps brand penetration, the company rightly followed this model to enhance its reach. On a question about the company's foray into franchising and its franchisee profile, Ashar answers, “We opted for franchising the schools because it was the best way to grow, especially since ex parents and teachers approached us proactively to set up centres across the country.”

Having developed a really strong product capable to deliver sound and effective teaching to children, growth was bound to follow. It was a challenging step to maintaining quality in the schools that did not directly come under its administration. And the next challenge was to put systems and controls in place to maximize quality learning and teaching.

KKEL provides unparalleled assistance to its franchisees in operational setup and maintenance, HR, marketing etc. It follows the best international practices in education to ensure standardization in processes across all its centres. These processes are put in place to ensure effective school management and curriculum delivery.

KKEL is the first, and probably the only industry player, doing 360 degree quality reviews with its school improvement team, that visits all centres on a regular basis to deliver quality guidelines to schools on short intervals.

The franchise agreement covers all the aspects that KKEL has in its kit for all its franchisees. It ensures a uniform curriculum and teaching methodology to all KKEL schools. The USP of KKEL is its in-house team of 100 people in the R&D section, who enrich and make its curriculum updated and meaningful. The detailed curriculum provides a support tool for every level of the school layer - the management, the principal, coordinators and teachers to ensure teaching learning practices based on pedagogical theories of how children learn and adapt.

The vision

KKEL plans to partner with people who are passionate about joyful learning and put education before profit. At present, the company's 70 per cent franchisees are women. For upcoming franchisees, Lina comes as a true inspiration as she herself started everything from a scratch. Donning roles of Project Manager, Interior Designer, Administrator, Curriculum Developer and changing job profiles, helped Lina play out on a day- to day-basis.

Sharing her vision on role of private sector in education, Ashar says, “People and government are finally accepting, that for education to be more meaningful, it has to be relevant and engaging  something we have been propagating since we began.”

The KKEL vision is to be a fully integrated education company, offering learning services whether in school or outside, vocational learning, e-learning et al, across age groups. The company is keen to explore the JV model also besides franchise and would like to spread its wings across western and northern region. To continue its accelerated growth KKEL plans to open around 300 to 400 centres in the next few years.

Franchise facts (per unit)

Kangaroo Kids
Investment: Rs 20-30 lakh
Area: 2,000 sq.ft

Billabong High
Investment: Rs 6.5 crore
Area: 45,000 sq.ft

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