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Tree House rollout: Rajesh Bhatia

EducationWorld April 14 | EducationWorld People

Rajesh Bhatia is the founder-managing director of Tree House Education & Accessories Ltd (estb. 2006), and promoter of one of India’s largest self-operated preschool chains with 444 (including 340 company-owned) centres. The publicly listed company employs 1,848 staff including 1,758 teachers in 55 cities and towns countrywide, and recorded a revenue of Rs.121 crore in 2012-13.Rajesh Bhatia

Newspeg. Last June, Tree House launched Global Champs, an initiative for affordable, high quality English-medium pre-primary education to children in the 1.5-6 years age group, catering to the low-income and slum areas of suburban Mumbai with annual fees of Rs.10,000-12,000 per child. Three Global Champs preschools have already been established in the suburbs of Chembur, Malad and Kandivali, with the fourth recently launched in Dharavi — Asia’s largest slum cluster. Meanwhile, Tree House has also completed a Rs.5 crore acquisition of the Brainworks brand from Brainworks Learning Systems, a chain with 64 preschools across India.

History. An engineering graduate of MS University, Baroda with an MBA from Pune University, Bhatia began his professional career in 20th Century Finance prior to promoting the first Tree House preschool in 2003 in Mumbai. As a young parent he became aware of the severe shortage of affordable preschools in the country’s commercial capital which prompted his first academic initiative. In 2008, Tree House attracted its first round of private equity funding of $7 million (Rs.42 crore) from Matrix Partners India. Since then, this ECCE (early childhood care and education) company has recorded a scorching pace of growth to emerge as a nationally recognised heavyweight in preschool education.

Direct talk. “With the acquisition of Brainworks and launch of our Global Champs brand of preschools, we have realised our objective of offering high quality pre-primary education to children from all segments of society. Now our standard preschools are grouped and marketed under the Tree House brand; franchised preschools under the Brainworks brand and self-operated Global Champs preschools target children from low-income households. This ensures a complete 360 degree coverage of every section of society,” says Rajesh Bhatia.

Future plans. “Our focus will be on well-structured curriculums, qualified teachers and strict adherence to quality wherever we go,” enthuses Bhatia. With Tree House having achieved its objective of offering high quality preschools to all segments of society, Bhatia is set to impact the company’s footprint nationwide. “Although infrastructure and facilities of Tree House, Brainworks and Global Champs schools will vary, the common thread binding all our preschools will be high quality curriculums, well-qualified teachers and quality content. This will ensure the success of all our brands,” says Rajesh Bhatia.

Sunayana Nair (Mumbai)

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