How to start a private K-12 school in India
According to a report by E&Y, the current K-12 school system in India is one of the largest in the world with more than 1.4 million schools with more than 250 million students enrolled.
About the K12 education sector
Schools have grown at a CAGR of 2.5 per cent from 1.2 million in 2005 to 1.46 million in 2013. However, private schools have witnessed a growth at a CAGR of 4 per cent and have grown from 279,094 schools in 2006-07 to 338,371 in 2012-13. The number of students enrolled has gone up at a CAGR of 2.2 per cent to reach 253 million students in 2012-13.
54 per cent of all 1.46 million K-12 schools in India are managed by the Central Government/ state governments and 21 per cent are managed by local bodies/municipal corporations. Private schools account for 25 per cent of the total number of K-12 schools in India. Overall, utilisation in private schools is higher, more so at the primary and secondary level as compared to the government schools.
Tapping this growth, many edupreneurs have started their venture in K-12 school. It is usually advisable to start a secondary school as an extension of the pre-existing primary school as this helps in several ways. One should be prepared with the checklist of processes and documentation. Most of the set up processes are just an extension of the existing business. Getting approval for affiliations and sanctions is far easier if one already owns a primary school. However, there are certain schools that are exclusively secondary and involve classes V to X.
Once the city has been decided, the location of the secondary school can be decided by researching the market and the audience. The type of school is also an important aspect. For example, a locality in the vicinity of an IT hub will prefer an IB, ICSE or a CBSE school. One should avoid locations that already have a network of well-established schools.
A decision needs to be taken on the board or council for which one wishes to apply for affiliation. This helps in starting with the set up and operations that are expected for the affiliations. In case one has a primary school, he/she can apply for affiliation for the extended classes and one can also start with a new affiliation from class V onwards.
While preparing the documentation of the affiliation, one can simultaneously work on the legal documents, NOCs and other statutory approvals. This requires contacting the local Municipal authorities, education department and health departments for more information.
Basic infrastructure, interior and human resource planning or faculty are a must for the approvals. These involve various aspects from land, building, layout, facilities and staff. Every board has its own set of conditions for a secondary school.
Another important aspect for running a school successfully is marketing and with the increase in the number of people going online, one needs to develop a complete and attractive website for the school. It is also advisable to advertise through hoardings, handouts and other media as advertising using multiple media gets a good response.
Fee structure and facilities need to be decided well in advance while submitting business plan. A thorough research should be conducted of the earning power of people residing in the city and the fee structure that is convenient for parents to pay should be charged leaving some surplus. One can also apply for government grants.
Once all is set for admissions, proper counsel should be given to parents so as to understand their expectations. Expectations at a high school level are different from those at the playschool or primary level.
In case you want to open a K-12 school under a big banner, there are certain requirements set by the brand which need to be fulfilled. For example, to get a franchise of Delhi Public School, one should be educationally qualified enough and the motto should be to spread quality education through this institute. Requirement of land area should be 2500 sq ft for a pre school and a minimum of 2 acres land for a high school. There should be open play area, independent access, attached washrooms, good ventilation and a safe environment. For approval of site by DPS a fees is required which is refundable. Once the site is approved a Memorandum of Undertaking (MoU) is signed with DPS management and at that time 30% of licence fees is to be paid as advance. After signing the MoU, one can start construction and rest amount of license fees is to be paid once the construction is over after signing franchise agreement.
The franchise owner should inform DPS management before launching to get extended support from them for its promotion, training and recruitment of staffs. Even after the school starts continuous touch with DPS society is to be maintained for expert advice and to maintain the standard of education for which DPS is known.
Thus, recognising the growing need for education and the rules and regulations needed to be followed to open a K-12 school, edupreneurs can tap on the growing opportunity of providing quality education to students to make their career and also making a foothold in the education sector.