Prof. Aaditya Lohana - Executive Director, The Acres Foundation

An expert in setting up and managing the growth of K12 Schools, Pre-primary Schools, College Instituitions, Prof. Aaditya Lohana has 29+ years of rich experience in the Education industry which has nurtured him with the right acumen to understand ‘Education as a business’ holistically. He specialises in startups of Educational Instituitions which include, Fund raising, Planning and Budgeting, Identifying locations-Surveying-Dealing-Developing the brick and mortar infrastructure, Branding, marketing and admissions plan followed be its execution.

 

India has one of the largest educational systems in the world. In recent years, India has enrolled more than 35 million students in higher education. As per Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India’s education sector is expected to be worth US$225 billion by FY25.

With its talent, India has the capacity and capability to meet global needs. All it needs is the right mode of shaping and cultivating those talents and skills. lf you’ve been thinking about venturing in the education sector, now is the time.

One can open a good school but it takes tremendous efforts to build a great school. A school is a place where students can access a variety of opportunities for developing their talents and skills, as well as help them communicate and express themselves effectively. Following are the five things to consider when planning to open a new school:

 Location

“Location” refers to the particular area in the city/ town and the area in which a school is intended to be built as this point will attract more students to your school. It is important that the city/ town has an adequate population to meet the demands of establishing a new school.

  • Site

The site on which the school is planned to be constructed is one of the most critical decisions to make before opening a school. The platform should meet all of the standards and adhere to all the rules. Besides this the site should not be very far from the city population, should be visible from the main road preferably and should have a proper approach road to reach the school. One needs to take-care that there should not be any water bodies or high tension electric wires above the land to ensure safety. On the other hand, availability of Groundwater at an accessible level, Electricity sub-station in near proximity and availability of municipal drainage facility adds to lifelong comfort of the investor.

  • Market Survey and Feasibility study

The next step will be a meticulous market survey and a feasibility study. Firstly, it is important to know the needs and demands of parents. Secondly, analyzing the competitor schools with key factors of differentiation such as their fees structure, affiliation to which Education Board, services being offered, quality of infrastructure, quality of teachers etc. These inputs can help a new school in planning an edge over the existing schools, if rightly analyzed and implemented. Lastly, a feasibility study based on the capital expenditure required, Operating Break-even, IRR and Capital payback will help the investor take a well-planned decision for the venture to be successful.

  • Budgets

Investing in schools being a long gestation annuity business model, it is most essential to chalk out a budget for a span of 15 to 20 years. With budgets is meant, mostly internal records that are used to keep track of your cash flows, based on projected revenue and expenditures. There are many factors included in expenditure such as construction cost, furniture and fixtures, operational cost, etc. which need to be rightly timed in the budget and accordingly pre-arranging of funds helps a hurdle free operating of the school venture. The promoter should provide a well-thought-out strategy for obtaining financing and, if necessary, a contingency investment.

  • Documentation & Human Resources

The term “Documentation” applies to the State Government NOC, permits, and registers that are needed for a school’s affiliation and without which the school’s function would be impossible. To obtain the NOC for opening a school, developers must obey the rules and regulations. Employees are the voice of a school thus recruitment of Principal, teachers, non-academic staff and their proper timely training at the beginning and thereafter at regular intervals should be conducted to ensure quality of education as well as the operation of school.

Planning and opening a school can be challenging for an individual or a group, it is during these difficult times that realistic arrangements are formulated and aligned in a practical and strategic manner. The above 5 points will give you an outline of aspects to be considered when starting your own school. Starting your own school will not only encourage one to get engaged in an industry with positive growth, but it will also help make a daily difference in the lives of children and thereby the future of India as well.

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