Last Updated:- 2020-05-18
The Government of India’s draft education policy 2019 has tilted the scale towards the regulation of every mushrooming private preschools in the country. This necessitates greater regulatory control of designated authorities under various ministries - Ministry of Women and Child Development for Anganwadi’s, Ministry of Social Welfare for Balwadi’s, the MHRD for private and government schools with pre-primary sections, etc. This means that the status quo of laissez-faire in the name of compliance for existing preschools must go!
An estimate of private preschools in India is a little difficult to put together given the under-the-radar complexion of the industry. Industry estimates peg it at around 50,000 with an industry CAGR of more than 20% as estimated for FY 2020. Non-branded preschools in India rule the roost with anywhere between 70%-80% in numbers. Branded preschools with national franchisors (a small% of the overall industry) should do better on regulatory compliances although that’s a statement that’s laced with several sweeping assumptions.
The advantage of taking up a franchise with a national preschool franchisor is the belief that defined operating protocols and industry connect should stand the franchisee in good ground when it concerns meeting with statutory requirements and fulfilling regulatory compliances. Preschool franchisors of all hues and colors abound in the Indian early childhood industry though. There are very few that actually do physical inspections to assist in some manner to push you towards compliance. And without fear of repercussions, such as preschool license cancellations, we all know that it becomes an exercise on paper.
However, now with the regulatory framework of compliances becoming more sharply defined, the good-to-have-service tendered by only a few national preschool franchisors, becomes redundant as preschool owners themselves must run a proactively compliant preschool at all times. The role of the few preschool franchisors who do audits and checks, in our humble opinion, becomes more marginalized, as this requirement moves from being a feel-good criteria to must-have criteria. And when business continuity is at stake, preschool owners are sure to jump in to ensure proactive compliance.
So what are the regulatory requirements for opening a preschool in India? There are two parts to this – first what’s currently being followed. Second, what is expected to be a regulatory framework that would be adopted by various state actors with the complete extension of the RTE 2009 Act in the preschool segment?
To be clear, most preschools in India run without even basic compliance requirements being met. Fire safety, POSCO Act 2012, building and staffing norms come much later. Most neighborhood preschools don’t even have a trade license due to the conveniently misplaced notion that this is not a ‘commercial’ activity. Equating this to the home-based coaching and tutoring industry, this notion gains notoriety due to the flagrant disregard for child safety as a central requirement when operating any establishment targeting young learners.
An edupreneur does not need to pursue a preschool franchising model just to be aware and stay updated of the regulatory environment surrounding the preschool industry. Teeny Beans’ compliance and regulations team keeps all partners completely aware and clear about all the requirements of a compliant institution serving young learners in this space.
The broad norms and standards for starting a preschool today cover the following subjects- Staffing norms, Building norms, Curriculum Norms, Teaching Aids, Library, Play Equipments, Health, and Records. There are also additional declarations covering POSCO Act 2012, Juvenile Act 2015, Child Labor (Prohibition & Regulation) Act 1986 and Child Labor (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016.
These guidelines have been formed under the spirit of the Constitution and Right to Education Act, 2009 and based on the National ECCE Policy 2013, as Regulatory Guidelines for Private Play Schools. These regulations are meant for states to take a call on notifying these guidelines or adopt the content of these guidelines as legislation to regulate private preschools in their respective states. With the regulatory compliance enforcement expected in the near future, these guidelines are the closest we have to imagine a statutory framework for norms and standards that private preschools would have to adhere to in the future.
Teeny Beans remains committed to educating all partners and practitioners in this space to remain educated about the guidelines in anticipation of their incorporation as a standard regulatory requirement in the near future. To subscribe to our newsletters and stay abreast of changes and notifications in this space. You can also request a detailed norms and standards document from us. We’d be happy to oblige.
Published By:- Teeny Beans