EuroKids To Triple The Preschool Network In Coming Five Years
Exclusive interaction of Mr Prajodh Rajan, Co-founder and Group CEO, EuroKids International with BW.
What differentiates EuroKids from other sets of pre-schools?
EuroKids pre-school is one of the leading early childhood education services providers in the country. With ‘Child-First’ ideology at its core, EuroKids has constantly worked towards developing holistic learning solutions for children and make learning for young children engaging and fun. At EuroKids the development, safety, and engagement needs of children are met in a home-like environment, which helps the child to play, learn & grow while they imbibe essential life skills. The emphasis on child’s well-being and development in close coordination with parents makes EuroKids the Child’s Second Home. At EuroKids, we have experienced and certified professionals who relentlessly work towards upgrading the curriculum every 2 to 3 years. Latest innovations in teaching methodologies and curriculum delivery are integrated for effective learning and setting the foundation for the future of the young learners. The company has recently launched its Version 7.0 curriculum called EUNOIA which brings forth the concept of mindful leaning to bring about holistic development of the mind, body and soul of a child to imbibe in them essential life skills and to build a foundation for them to learn and grow.
What is your success mantra?
EuroKids CHILD FIRST ideology is the single largest success mantra for the company. The company’s approach in identifying like-minded franchisee partners who understand this ideology and focus on delivering quality pre-schooling experience acts as a great boon to the network. We have more than 1000 preschools spread across India touching lives of more than 1,00,000 children in the country each day. This experience of learning from a young child on how they interact, explore, engage and imagine is the real inspiration on driving all our innovations in pre-school pedagogy. Having 90% of our partners as women entrepreneurs have added to the overall pre-school ecosystem which brings a rich nurturing experience for children across all our centres.
What are the major challenges you are facing currently and how do you overcome them?
One of the challenges we are faced with is the awareness among parents about the importance of early childhood education. Parents are still a little wary of sending their children to pre-schools as they feel, pre-schools are only about counting and learning alphabets. A constant effort is involved in creating awareness among parents through various workshops, of how pre-schools play an important role in shaping young minds in these critical years of development. We stress on how the curriculum model is not one of rote learning but one where kids learn as they engage and explore amidst loads of fun and develop essential life skills. Another major challenge that we face is the dearth of experienced and skilled support staff and teachers in the early-childhood education segment. This segment demands a specific set of skills with specialised training in managing young children with care and compassion. Faced by this challenge we started with our venture EuroVarsity, which now aims to provide an online diploma course in Early Childhood Care and Education for certified teaching professionals.
Where do you think we are leading and lagging behind in education? What sort of support do we need from our government?
There has been a lot of talk about the total expenditure the government makes on education in general which is close to about 3-3.5 % of our GDP. There is one chorus about moving that number up to maybe a 4 or 5 or something on the lines of what Finland does, which is about 7. But more importantly, there should be a fundamental shift in the thinking around how we spend this money. In my view, we are very input focused, which means it’s more so about, how much is the land, the built-up area, number of teachers and their qualifications, and rarely do we focus on the outcomes. We need to move away from being input focused to more outcome-based. We are also faced with a shortage in the market for qualified and skilled teachers, especially in the early childhood education space. There are very few teacher training institutes that specialize in early childhood education. We need an overhaul of the teacher training institutions in the country both for the content and the type of trainers that are available. We need to fix these institutions whether it’s for early childhood education or K12 education to provide the kids with teachers who have the right kind of qualification and skill to impart knowledge.
According to you how is the digital era impacting the way students are trained today?
The digital era brings with it the need for a technology inclusive setup for education, and yes it does help in creating and engaging experience for young. However, when it comes to schooling, the amount of technology that a child must be exposed to must be supervised. At EuroKids, we believe that what we provide is a controlled learning environment for the child where there is just appropriate tech-enabled learning. As part of our curriculum, we have various audio-visual based demonstrations of the curriculum which enables learning through games, stories, rhymes, videos, and more, making learning fun as well as informative and helps improve recall and reinforce learning. Also, to keep the parents updated, we have several apps like the Buddy App for pre-schools which showcases all the activities and learnings at the pre-school. All in all, when in a supervised environment, technology is a great enabler of education.
What goals have you decided for the coming 3-5 years?
We are currently expanding our preschool network from current 1000 to 3000 in the next five years. As we had demonstrated in the past by opening 250 schools per year in the last three years, we are very confident of achieving this number. On the other hand, we are going to expand our K-12 schools from the current 10 to 25 during the same period of time. We follow two different business models for preschools and K-12 schools. All our preschools are franchisee owned and EuroSchool owns K-12 schools. We have recently ventured into daycare business by opening seven daycare centres in six months, and we are in the process of expanding this to 100 cities in the country in the next two years. When we had ventured into K-12 schools, the primary objective was to provide excellent education for our preschool pass outs up to 12th Standard. Now with the day-care centres, preschools and the K12 schools we are looking forward to offer a wholesome educational journey from as young as 6 months to 18 years of age. We are thus looking forward to head forth in our endeavour of nation building.
Is there any exclusive update which you want to announce in the coming months?
We have recently introduced our new curriculum 7.0 that is based on the concept of mindfulness with a wholesome play of mind, body, and soul. This curriculum is called EUNOIA, which is exclusive to EuroKids. EUNOIA is based on the child first ideology, where the innocent and beautiful mind of a child is the origin of everything that they do. The activities and initiatives are crafted to nurture the mind of a child, keeping it healthy and well-balanced with Innovative methods to create a learning environment helping every child to utilize the pedagogy and achieve the milestones of learning and development. Integrated with Fun based learning methodologies Eunoia, our pre-school curriculum gives a great mix of activities and games impacting MIND, BODY and SOUL thus building a strong foundation for the little children to learn, grow and imbibe essential life skills.
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