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Gurgaon’s most admired preschools 2016

EducationWorld December 16 | Cover Story EducationWorld

With private entrepreneurs having quickly established Gurgaon as a hub of the IT, automobile and BPO industries, globally benchmarked schools and universities, new-age pre-primaries have inevitably mushroomed. Here are Gurgaon’s most admired preschools for the year 2016:

Sapna Chauhan, vice-chairman Amiown GroupAlthough sited in the neighbouring state of Haryana (pop. 28 million), the new steel and glass city of Gurgaon (pop.900,000) — ill-advisedly rechristened Gurugram by foolish state politicians after it had established a global reputation as an IT (information technology) hub — owes its rapid growth and development to its proximity to Delhi, the national capital and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) marketers among others who include it in Delhi NCR (National Capital Region).

Typically, Gurgaon/Gurugram has grown in jugaad (improvised) style for which India is notorious. Private sector real estate developers have built world-class housing estates and layouts, but government-constructed infrastructure lags way behind. Roads are pot-holed and crowded, garbage is ubiquitous, power cuts are frequent and air pollution reaches 13 times the WHO (World Health Organisation)-recommended level.

Despite these constraints, private sector edupreneurs have established several globally benchmarked schools (Pathways, Scottish High, G.D. Goenka, Heritage) and universities (Ashoka, O.P. Jindal) in Gurgaon and/or its fringes, to cater to the city’s large and growing pool of professionals employed in IT/ICT (HCL Oracle, IBM, Microsoft), automobile (Maruti-Suzuki, Hero Honda, TVS Sundaram), BPO (American Express, Amazon, Bank of America) among other industries. Inevitably, new age pre-primaries have also sprung up in this fast-track new millennium city which has the third highest per capita income in India. To rate and rank Gurgaon’s most-reputed preschools inter se, C fore field researchers interviewed 584 parents and 61 principals of this buzzing city.

OWNED/PROPRIETARY SCHOOLS

Pallavan, Sohna Road (estb.2001), promoted by Arun Kapur, renowned educationist and director of Delhi’s top-ranked Vasant Valley School, has firmly established itself as the millennium city’s most admired pre-primary. It has been voted the city’s #1 proprietary pre-primary for the fifth consecutive year but is obliged to share top billing with Amiown, Sector 27 — one of six Amiown preschools promoted in Delhi NCR by the Amity University promoters — this year. The Shri Ram Early Years, ranked #1 in 2015, is ranked #3 while the Idiscoveri Preschool, Sector 46 has maintained its second rank.Sangeeta Basu, Medhaam South City

Pathways Early Years, Sector 49, ranked #7 in 2015, has made a great leap forward to be ranked #3. Steadily improving its ranking since 2014 and voted #4 this year (#5 in 2015) is Medhaam Preschool, South City 1 which is followed by the previously unranked The Sixth Element, South City 1, which at #5, is tied with Amiown, Sohna Road (#6). 

Sapna Chauhan, an alumna of the Wharton School of Business and vice chairperson of the Amiown Group of pre-primaries, is unsurprised by the top rank awarded to Amiown, Sector 27. “It was only a matter of time before the public acknowledged that the quality of ECCE we offer is far ahead of the competition. Nevertheless, this recognition is a morale booster for my highly qualified and dedicated team which has worked very hard to set new benchmarks in early childhood care and education. I am particularly pleased to be ranked #1 on the parameter of teacher welfare and development because we believe happy teachers make happy children. Therefore, we invest substantially in the continuous professional development of our teachers providing opportunities for promotion and innovation while respecting and valuing each faculty member. Our modest tuition fee (Rs.4,000-5,000 per month) explains why we are also #1 for value for money,” says Chauhan, who highlights that Amiown, Pushp Vihar, Delhi, and Amiown, Noida are also ranked among the Top 3 in these cities. 

Sangeeta Basu, founder-principal of the Medhaam Preschool, South City-I, is also enthused this pre-primary has been elevated to the Top 5 table. “It’s a moment of glory for our teachers, students and most important, our parents community. Medhaam’s child-friendly infrastructure and innovative curriculum, which draws from the Montessori and Reggio Emilia pedagogies delivered through our team of 35 highly qualified and motivated teachers, are the factors behind the growth and development of Medhaam Preschool. The top score awarded to us for infrastructure is a validation of the heavy investment we made in well-lit and ventilated classrooms with well-planned play areas,” says Basu. 

Amit Bhargava and Akansha Lamba, Kidzee DLFFurther down the 17 preschools-strong proprietary league table, Salwan Montessori, Sector 5, ranked #10 in 2015, has jumped to #6 this year. This has had a cascading effect on Klay Prep School, Sector 49  tied at #7 with Intellitots Early Learning Centre, Sector 28 and Apple Blossom Early Learning Centre, Sector 45 (#8) — all conceding rank this year. However, several new previously unranked pre-primaries — GD Goenka la Petite, Sohna Road (#9), Ryan Global Montessori, Sector 40 (10), Knowledge Bus Global Preschool, DLF Phase 2 (11) and Maple Bear, Palam Vihar (12) — have made sufficient impact to be included in this year’s proprietary preschools league table.     

FRANCHISED PRESCHOOLS

Although 645 parents with preschool children, principals and teachers of Gurgaon rated and ranked 17 proprietary preschools of this new steel-n-glass city, only eight franchised pre-primaries in Gurgaon are sufficiently well-known to be included in the separate franchised preschools category (pre-primaries rated by less than 30 respondents are not included in the league tables).

Nor does there seem to be much enthusiasm in Gurgaon about topping the annual EW preschools league table. For instance, Shalini Singh, promoter-principal of EuroKids, Sohna Rd, declined to react to the top ranking awarded to her preschool. Several phone calls and emails remained unanswered. 

However, Akanksha Lamba, co-promoter and principal of Kidzee, DLF1 (estb.2014) — a franchisee pre-primary of the Mumbai-based Zee Network Education Group which claims to be the largest chain in Asia with 1,500 preschools across 550 Indian cities — is delighted with the previously unranked Kidzee’s DLF1’s #3 ranking. “This is a huge morale booster for us, and we are overwhelmed that our two years of hard work is attracting public approval. I believe our focus on providing personalised attention to children, direct involvement of parents, and the innovative Kidzee curriculum provided to us, are behind our success,” says Lamba, a business management alumna of Lancaster University, UK who co-promoted this mint new preschool together with her university classmate Amit Bhargava, director of the Gurgaon-based Aramis Clan Pvt. Ltd, which runs a day care for 18 months to 10-year-olds on the same campus as Kidzee. Bharani Ahluwalia, Little Millennium

Sarika Bharani, a commerce and business management alumna of Delhi University and IMT Ghaziabad, is also delighted that Little Millennium, Sector 14, which admitted its first batch of 100 students instructed by nine teachers this year under licence from the Delhi-based Educomp Solutions Ltd, is ranked #4 in its very first year. “I am surprised and elated that we’ve been ranked among the Top 5 in our very first year. The credit entirely goes to our hard working team and parents whose word-of-mouth publicity has surely helped. Our top priority is to ensure our school is a safe, healthy and joyous centre of learning for youngest children,” says Bharani. 

Adds co-promoter and director, Bhavana Ahluwalia, an alumna of Delhi University: “We are particularly pleased about our #1 ranking on value for money (tuition fee: Rs.2,500-3,000 per month) because we are driven by our love for children rather than the profit motive.”

To read the EW Gurgaon Preschool Rankings 2016 please visit: http://www.educationworld.in/rank-preschool/gurgaon/2016.html

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