Hosting large offices of IT multinationals, this business-friendly city has attracted a swarm of edupreneurs who have quickly established dozens of new-genre proprietary and franchised pre-primaries to meet growing demand from well-educated young professionals for high-quality ECCE for their progeny.
The ancient city of Hyderabad (pop. 6.8 million), admin capital of India’s newest state Telangana (estb.2014) and de jure capital of Andhra Pradesh, rivals Bangalore not only as a major IT hub but also as a centre of early childhood care and education (ECCE). Hosting large offices of corporate behemoths such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Deloitte and Accenture, this business-friendly city in its new avatar has also attracted a swarm of edupreneurs who have quickly established dozens of new-genre proprietary and franchised pre-primaries to meet growing demand from well-educated young professionals for high-quality ECCE for their progeny.
This year, 89 sufficiently reputed pre-primaries (preschools rated by less than 30 sample respondents are eliminated) of Hyderabad — the largest number after Bangalore — are rated and ranked by 685 parents and 84 teachers/principals based in Hyderabad who were polled by field researchers of Delhi-based market research company Centre for Forecasting & Research (C fore).
Promoted by the Bangalore-based Indus Trust which has established three top-ranked IB-affiliated Indus International primary-secondaries in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune, the Indus International Primary School, Jubilee Hills (IIPS-JH), has been voted Hyderabad’s #1 proprietary preschool for the third consecutive year by the city’s 769 sample respondents. Ranked #1 (jointly with IIPS-JH) between 2015-2017 and #3 last year, CHIREC, Jubilee Hills, founded by well-known educationist Ratna Reddy in 1989, is jointly ranked #2 with Oi Playschool, Jubilee Hills, the model preschool of Hyderabad-based People Combine Educational Initiatives Ltd, followed by Glendale Edufun, Somajiguda and Indus International Junior School, Gachibowli, tied at #3.
“I am delighted that IIPS-JH has been voted Hyderabad’s #1 preschool again by this year’s sample respondents. I believe widespread awareness of our continuous efforts to improve curriculum and create pedagogies to enable the social and emotional development of children, is behind this top ranking. Joyful induction of music, dance, drama and learning into our age-appropriate curriculum is also one of our distinguishing features,” says Pushpita Balakrishnan, head of IIPS-JH. A commerce graduate of Osmania University with nine years’ experience of the IT industry, in 2010 Balakrishnan switched tracks and signed up as a teacher at the Glendale Academy and Srinidhi International Schools in Hyderabad, and subsequently in 2014 with the Indus International School, Hyderabad. Last year, she was appointed head of IIPS-JH.
Balakrishnan is especially pleased that the Hyderabad sample respondents have awarded IIPS-JH top scores on the parameters of teacher competence and development, infrastructure, individual attention to students, parental involvement, innovative teaching, leadership quality, and safety and hygiene. “In all Indus schools, highest importance is accorded to teacher training and development. In IIPS-JH, our 35 teachers regularly attend in-house and external professional development programmes, and are encouraged to innovate ECCE pedagogies which joyfully educate the hearts and minds of our children. Therefore, it’s really satisfying that we are ranked #1 for teacher competence, training and development and innovative teaching,” says Balakrishnan. Currently, IIPS-JH has 250 students mentored by 35 well-qualified teachers on its musters.
While this year there’s been minor readjustment of seating at top table, further down the 42-strong league table of Hyderabad’s most admired proprietary preschools, there’s been a major rejig. NASR School, Somajiguda has leapfrogged to #4 (#10 in 2018) followed by Kinder Kare, Gachibowli at #5 (4) with CHIREC, Gachibowli retaining its #6 rank. Promoted in 2016 by well-known Tollywood actor-producers Mohan Babu and Vishnu Manchu, New York Academy, Jubilee Hills has made an impressive debut at #7.
But the most spectacular advance in the 2019-20 Hyderabad proprietary preschools league table is of The Learning Umbrella Preschool & Day Care, Begumpet which has parachuted from #22 in 2018-19 to #8 this year. It is jointly ranked with the previously unranked Springfields Kids, Bandlaguda Jagir Jagir. Similarly, A’ala Nature Playschool, Shaikpet has been catapulted from #17 in 2108-19 to #9 in 2019-20 followed by Blue Blocks Self Learning Preschool, Osman Nagar at #10 (11).
Roopal Sagi, founder-principal of The Learning Umbrella Preschool & Day Care, Begumpet (TLUP, estb.2017), is overjoyed this two-year-old preschool has so quickly risen in public esteem and ranked among the Top 10. “This is fantastic news. I’m sure it will motivate our team to intensify their efforts to provide globally benchmarked ECCE to Hyderabad’s youngest children. I believe our defining feature is our in-house designed curriculum which focuses on activity-based learning. In TLUP, children learn experientially in a stress-free and joyful environment on our large nature-friendly green campus,” says Sagi, an alumna of the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Pune and former HR professional who believes that TLUP’s “work rather than words” has enabled it to quickly grow its enrolment to 250 students and 26 teachers.
Likewise Lubna Mazher, promoter-director of A’ala Nature Preschool, Shaikpet (ANPS, estb.2015) which has been catapulted from #17 in 2018 to #9 in 2019-20, is elated about the huge promotion given to this new pre-primary with high scores on the parameters of teacher competence and teacher welfare and development. “I would like to thank EW’s sample respondents for this recognition, which is a huge honour for ANPS. Our inclusion in Hyderabad’s Top 10 is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and professionalism of our teachers. We are one of few preschools in the city to institute a formal professional development programme under which monthly training sessions are conducted for teachers. This has empowered them to introduce innovative and child-friendly teaching practices which have made a huge positive impact on our children. In ANPS, we believe happy teachers translate into happy students,” says Mazher, a maths postgrad of Osmania University, Hyderabad. Sited on a well-landscaped 18,000 sq. ft campus with an outdoor play area, splash pool, traffic park, aviary and tree house, ANPS has an enrolment of 150 children and 13 teachers.
Beyond the Top 10, the highlight of the 42-strong EW Hyderabad Proprietary Preschools 2019-20 league table is the debut of 15 previously unranked preschools, indicating an ECCE boom in the city. Prominent debutants include The Gaudium School, Nanakramguda at #15, Olivers Early Learning Centre, Jubilee Hills #16, Insignis Transnational School, Chanda Nagar #21 and Pebble Creek High Montessori School, AS Rao Nagar #23.
Since 2015 when pre-primaries were divided into proprietary and franchised categories to eliminate apples and oranges comparisons, Hyderabad’s league table of franchised preschools has been dominated by Kangaroo Kids, Banjara Hills (KK-BH) and Birla Open Minds Preschool, Jubilee Hills (BOMP-JH). This year too, the 769 sample respondents of the city interviewed by C fore field personnel have reaffirmed KK-BH as the city’s #1 franchised preschool followed by BOMP-JH at #2.
But beyond this, there’s been a major rearrangement of seating at top table with several pre-primaries given huge promotions. Oi Playschool, Botanical Garden has surged ahead to #3 (#11 in 2018-19), Klay Prep School & Day Care, Gachibowli to #6 (16), Birla Open Minds Preschool, Gopanpally to #9 (30) and Oi Playschool, Kondapur to #10 (28).
Among Hyderabad’s Top 10 franchisees, Birla Open Minds Preschool, Gachibowli has retained its #4 rank as has Iris Florets, West Marredpally #7. Bachpan Playschool, Sagar Society, Banjara Hills, has moved to #5 (6), Oi Playschool, Vivekanandanagar to #7 (4), and EuroKids, Banjara Hills to #10 (3). The only debutant in the Top 10 is Kangaroo Kids, Suncity #6.
Chandrika Chalasani, promoter-principal of Kangaroo Kids, Banjara Hills (KK-BH, estb.2004), ascribes KK-BH’s predominant status and top score under nine of the ten parameters of ECCE excellence including teacher competence, teacher welfare & development, infrastructure, individual attention to students, parental involvement, innovative teaching among others, to the preschool’s child-centric philosophy. “Right from the start, we envisioned KK-BH as a place where young children are happy, safe and secure. Everything we do in our school is centred on creating joyful and memorable learning experiences for children and developing their emotional intelligence. We believe that when children are happy and secure, academic learning, socialisation and life skills develop automatically. Word about our child-centred philosophy is getting around. That’s why your knowledgeable sample respondents have given us high scores on all parameters of early childhood education excellence,” says Chalasani, an alumna of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and University of Texas, Austin. Currently, KK-BH has an enrolment of 375 students and 46 teachers on its muster rolls.
Satisfaction of a job well done is greater at Oi Playschool, Botanical Garden (OPBG, estb.2017), which has been promoted from #11 in 2018-19 to #3 this year. “We are very happy to be ranked the #3 franchised preschool of Hyderabad. Credit goes to the special effort made by our teachers to introduce best experiential learning practices for wholesome development of our children. This is reflected in our improved score under the parameter of innovative teaching. We will continue to work towards continuous improvement on all parameter,” says Hima Bindu, an alumna of Andhra University and director of Oi Playschool, Botanical Garden, a franchisee of the Hyderabad-based People Combine Educational Initiatives Ltd which has promoted 55 proprietary and franchised preschools across the country.
Yet the most amazing leap forward in the EW 2019-20 Hyderabad preschool league tables is of Birla Open Minds Preschool, Gopanpally (BOMP-G, estb.2015), which has been promoted from #30 in 2018-19 to #9 this year. “The entire team of BOMP-G is thrilled with this news because for the past three years, we have been consciously and determinedly working to improve under all EW survey parameters. Our entry into Hyderabad’s Top 10 is proof that our concerted effort to improve our operations has impressed Hyderabad’s informed public. Our much-improved score under the parameter of parental involvement is greatly satisfying as we truly believe that parents’ support is integral to school improvement and child development,” says Natasha Barua, an alumna of Dibrugarh University, Assam and centre head of BOMP-G. A franchisee of the Mumbai-based Birla Edutech Ltd, which has 61 franchised preschools countrywide, BOMP-G has an enrolment of 150 children and 12 teachers.
Further down the 47-strong league table of Hyderabad’s franchised preschools, licencees of national and local franchisor chains dominate in almost equal measure. For instance, the Hyderabad-based Oi Playschool chain has 13 franchised preschools listed while the Delhi-based Bachpan Playschool has six, Mumbai-based EuroKids has three, Hyderabad-based Iris Florets four, the Delhi-based Sesame Street Preschool two and Mumbai-based Tree House two.