The school entrepreneurship in India is more dynamic than it seems. The policy shifts in the education domain sometimes exposes eduprenurs to unforeseen situations , in certain cases the school promoters decide to hand over the school entirely to other management and relinquish ownership. Such schools get listed on the market and are open for purchase. Buying an operational school to start your own school project might seem like an easy proposition, it is deceptively so. The schools that are up for sale are obviously schools in distress. The set of circumstances that brought about the closure is a study in school positioning and management in itself.
If an eduprenur who is trying to start a school chooses to buy an operational school, own and manage it, he is advised to pay attention to certain details—
The progression of the school—try to gain information about the circumstances in which the school started, the way it progressed and the final stages before the management decided upon selling it. An incisive study of these three stages in its lifecycle will provide invaluable insight into the prospects of its re-emergence.
The schools that are in distress have at least one thing in common, inadequate number of admissions. The school fails to get admissions owing to factors including improper positioning, lapses in management, being far removed from parental preferences etc. even though it is assumed that fundamentals are thought through before investing a sizable sum and time into a school venture, there are cases which fail to take care of the basics. What we call in the industry a feasibility study is what is required before starting a school and the appropriateness of the chosen board of education, medium of instruction etc. are other basic factors to consider.
One of the biggest challenge on the hands of the new administration of an unsuccessful school is failed reputation to contend with. It must be analyzed how the reputation of the school can be redeemed.
Even more obvious issues may be there including the unaffordability of the school fee, transportation problems, and consistently bad results and so on. The buyers of an operational school will do well to investigate and find out which of these reasons contributed to the demise of the idea of the institution.
The purpose behind this inquiry would be to discern if the mistakes or miscalculations that led to the failure of the school are redeemable or not. If the eduprenur after a thorough examination of the history of the school and prevalent circumstances has enough reasons to believe that the new school in the same building or the same school with new management will do well unlike its predecessor then the decision may be considered well-founded.
The infrastructure—the infrastructure often serves as the USP of the schools on sale. It is so for a good reason. It is the most palpable aspect of the school and can be showcased immediately. The infrastructure should be modern or, at least, renovation must not be implausible. The vicinity should be inspected and there must not be obvious issues with the environment, say, an industrial unit etc.
The school that is being bought or adopted will obviously require and undergo changes. It is essential to communicate or broadcast those changes to the community. It must be examined if it is possible to bring about changes and subsequently convince the community that they are indeed substantial.
The location—the success of the school obviously depends upon the location, even for the boarding schools. The school must cater to the need of the community and therefore the one who is considering buying a school must analyse if the envisioned school will be able to do that. Will it be possible to synchronize the institution to the need of the community residing in the locality is the question to ask.
The other things that are worth considering is how well-connected the school is, will it be possible to find teachers and station them at the place, the cost of transportation besides the environment etc.
It must be said that buying an operational school does have its pluses in particular conditions. The suitability depends on several coincidences of needs and if they are there then the decision to buy an operational school may be the right one and may involve minimum compromises. The apparent benefit and intention is saving time and possibly funds, the decision is not to be made in a hurry nonetheless and the entity must be evaluated on abovementioned grounds to find if it is worth the investment.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.