When after several years of invitation, the top management of the low-profile Hyderabad/Vijayawada-based Sri Chaitanya Group of Institutions (SCGI) agreed to tell its story, there was considerable excitement in the offices of EducationWorld. Because over the past 36 years since foreign-returned medical practitioners Dr. B.S. Rao and Dr. Lakshmibai Jhansi Boppana established a higher secondary school in Vijayawada to prepare Andhra Pradesh’s under-served youth — especially girl children — for entry into the country’s top-ranked engineering and medical undergrad colleges, the Sri Chaitanya Group of Institutions (SCGI) has evolved into the country’s largest K-12 private schools chain.
Although liberal academics and purists tend to disparage academicsfocused K-12 education as stressful, drill-and-and-skill rote-learning, SCGI’s extraordinary record in preparing students to top stiff public entrance exams such as IIT-JEE, NEET and AIIMS, has made the Sri Chaitanya Group a household name in Andhra, Telangana and several neighbouring states of the Deccan plateau. But now the next generation led by two highly-qualified and competent Boppana sisters has signalled a clear intent to rollout the tried, tested and successful SCGI English-medium K-12 education model across the country. They contend that far from dispensing stressful memory-based primary-secondary education, by ensuring that children grasp fundamental theory, concepts and application skills, SCGI teachers make learning a joyful and stimulating experience for children.
Over the past 35 years driven by public demand, the number of SCGI schools and junior colleges have multiplied to 750 with an aggregate enrolment of 650,000 students mentored by 29,360 well-trained and well-remunerated teachers. Having attained economies of scale, SCGI tuition fees are modest ranging between Rs.13,000-80,000 per year (and less than Rs.2 lakh in boarding schools) varying across geographies. They have empowered tens of thousands of children from aspirational middle class homes to enter the country’s top-ranked professional colleges and carve out successful careers in industry and the professions in India and abroad.
SCGI schools aren’t high-ranked in the annual EducationWorld India School Rankings because our sample respondents are drawn from high-income SEC (socio-economic category) ‘A’. However to millions of aspirational middle class parents and students they have provided academic passports that have catapulted them into SEC ‘A’. That’s extraordinary public service which needs emulation and replication.
In EducationWorld we believe in acknowledging and celebrating education institutions committed to pursuit of excellence. That’s why the substantial number of pages allocated for Grand Jury and preschool ranking awardees. May their tribe increase!