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Nov, 03 2012


Though calculators and computers have taken over the drudgery of mathematical calculations, the need for developing arithmetic skills has not lost its import, especially for youngsters competing among themselves for a bright academic and professional care

GAINING from the boom in the education sector, the franchisors offering abacus training are making huge profits owing to the popularity of the training among children.

The abacus, also called a counting frame, is a calculating tool used primarily in parts of Asia for performing arithmetic processes. Abacus training has taken a leap ahead as it has become a regular feature in schools and helps in developing clarity with numbers. The training not only helps in grooming children's maths but it also polishes their personality, confidence and analytical skills. Says K Kumaran, MD, Aloha, India: “I had started abacus training franchise in 1993 and the first institute was in Mauritius. The brand finally reached India in 2002 and have been growing since then. The training is very beneficial for children for a bright future. It leads to development of the brain and compliments the regular method of teaching mathematics. The child also tends to develop interest in the subject.”

Vanshika Raheja, MD, Jigsaw Abacus, asserts: “When my son was in the first standard, I realised that his arithmetic skills were very poor. I tried to find a solution for that and in the process I found the concept of Abacus, which was very popular abroad. Mental arithmetic and calculations in a fraction of seconds swelled my interest in it. I immediately picked up the plan and the results were not just satisfying but surprising too. This made me think that our kids would lag behind if they didn't get such knowledge. So, we started working on it. After almost two years, when we were confident that we had evolved a programme which could improve speed, efficiency, accuracy, concentration and memory power of kids, we stepped into the market.”

Having a strong background in the education sector B Amudhavalli Director of Baalagurukulam says, “Our family members being n the field of education for more than a decade, operating K12 schools in four places in Tamil Nadu, and devoted to preschool operations in Chennai for the past 4 years, we also thought upon the idea of offering children value added programs like “Brain Train.”

Customising a cost-effective model

While abacus training is becoming increasingly popular and a common feature in a child's daily routine, the franchise holders are striving to evolve the training being imparted and customising it to cater to the Indian market.

Elaborating on it, K Kumaran says: “We have centres in 26 countries and our research and development team prepares franchise models suitable for the people of that particular region. Indians are very cost-conscious people and the franchise business model has been specially tailored for them. The franchise model designed for potential Indian franchisees is very cost-effective and helps in generating early returns. In fact, we have lucrative incentives as well for the cost-conscious Indian audience. Besides, our R&D team has developed a very strong curriculum and methodology.”

Vanshika Raheja agrees. “I have been in the field of education for a long time and have rich experience in this field. Apart from Abacus, we have customised our training programmes like Ganit Gyan and Membrain that focus on the overall brain development of kids. We ensure that our efforts are centred towards laying a foundation that facilitates the overall success of our students. Our teaching methodology is based on the concept of fun-learning without feeling overburdened.”

Well, Baalagurukulam has personalised their services to cater to kids of all age groups. B Amudhavalli specifies: “We offer preschool services, educational programs for extra curricular activities like “Brain Train”, and we are also coming up with our child care and activity centre “Kinder Lounge” a “home away from home “ for children from 1year to 12 years. Our programme is unique with its six child-oriented techniques being offered in one module at a nominal fee structure.”

Fruitful outcomes for all

The abacus training has not only been successful in yielding profits for the franchisee but also for the children undergoing training. “The abacus training produces rich and early dividends for the franchisee and its consumers as well,” says K Kumaran who claims that the children undergoing such training are confident and have been successful in making a place in Limca Book of Records. He adds: “We have trained more than five lakh children till now and many of them have appeared successfully in competitive examinations and have won several awards from the government. People in the abacus franchising business are also blossoming as there is no stopping for it. For example, if a lady who came as a parent turns into a teacher and from there a unit franchisee and then a master franchisee.”

Likewise the training imparted by Jigsaw Abacus has proved beneficial for students. “Many of our students, who have enrolled for our abacus and Ganit Gyan course, have now got admission in IITs and IIMs. Even at the school, the speedy calculations have proved to be an added advantage to their routine math sessions,” affirms Vanshika.

Listing the benefits of abacus training, B Amudhavalli asserts, “Children are in a competitive world and most parents concentrate on the IQ and not on the Emotional Quotient which plays a vital role in shaping their future. A child loses heart if he has not scored high in academics and a child who has scored high lacks ability to speak up in an interview. Our program helps in overcoming these issues and grooms the child with self confidence.”

Tailored plan for franchisee

The franchise business plan has been designed for people from all walks of life. The business model provides training and support to the franchisees from their trainers who have been trained in China. “We have various plans and offers for our franchisees as per their budget and schedules. Other than this we provide professional training to the franchisees. Our trainers have received their training from Chinese experts in abacus and they help in erecting the institute. The franchisee should have two classrooms and then there won't be any looking back,” says K Kumaran.

Even Vanshika has a focused proposal aiming at returns for its franchisees. “We ensure that our efforts are centred towards laying a foundation that facilitates the overall success of our franchisees and students. Our teaching methodology is based on the concept of fun-learning. Our books have been designed in the manner so as to help the students understand the topic without feeling overburdened. By conducting national level competitions and various exams, we keep a check over the progress of the students while boosting their confidence simultaneously. The research and development division ensures that our students get an exposure to the best available techniques.”

For the franchisees Baalagurukulam has opportunities set on the platter. “We can offer them unit franchisee or master franchisee opportunities at minimum investment. The infrastructure is also reasonable and the break even is achieved within 6 months of investment. The franchisees can also cash in on the opportunity during summer/winter holidays, says B Amudhavalli.

Abacus: A bagful of opportunities

With the rising population the opportunities in the education sector, especially abacus training, are vast. Thus, opting for an abacus training franchise is a good option owing to its low investment and high returns.

“Our potential investors are given the opportunity to drive the venture in their respective markets while availing maximum returns at low investment. We unfold before them the opportunity to become an entrepreneur and for gaining financial independence,” says Vanshika. K Kumaran also says: “The expansion of an abacus franchise is inexhaustible in a country like India, as in every 30 seconds a child is born and will be taking abacus training in the near future. “We started with one product and are now serving to numerous franchisees with multiple products,” adds Kumaran.

B Amudhavalli says, “We give training of all the levels that we have developed and we offer marketing materials which will suffice 4 to 6 months for any Unit Franchisee.”

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