Education New Zealand, the government agency to promote and market the country’s education overseas, is getting active in the Indian market. New Zealand-based not-for-profit organization Core Education in collaboration with education services provider Sun Global Services is opening the first pre-school centre with New Zealand curriculum in Chennai.
Kiwilearners Early Learning Centre is led by New Zealand early learning expert Jocelyn Wright and is based on Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum.
“New Zealand has a world class early childhood education system that we believe should be shared with the world. We are delighted to bring KiwiLearners to India and, we believe, to be the first New Zealand based early learning centre on the continent” said Core Education CEO Ali Hughes.
The launch of Kiwilearners is part of the broader programme of Education New Zealand to promote its system in India. As per the website of Education New Zealand, India is a very important market for New Zealand’s education sector. “With its growing middle class and increased government and private education investment, the outlook is positive in the world’s second most populated country,” it said.
The preschool sector in India is undergoing high growth based on an increasing awareness of the benefits of early childhood education, increase in family incomes, low barriers for entry like less capital requirements and little regulation. While India already has a clutter of preschools, the quality varies greatly and so aggressive promotion will provide a strong selling point.
“There are opportunities to set up franchises in India, although New Zealand providers can also offer their expertise in providing curriculum and teacher training. With such a strong growth in demand for preschool education, the sector faces shortage of teachers, opening up the possibility of New Zealand providers offering online teacher training,’ it found.
In 2012, more than 11,300 fee-paying Indian students studied in New Zealand. The numbers have been steadily growing from 2600 in 2006 to 12358 in 2011. However, there has been a slight decline in the number of students in 2012.
The government agency finds that the demand for education in India across all sectors – from early childhood to university level – is expected to continue to exceed supply for at least another decade. This creates opportunities for foreign education providers inside and outside India.
“New Zealand’s government-to-government relationship with India is strong. However creating relationships with India’s private and corporate sector will be essential to achieving success,” it said.
The first Kiwilearners centre will cater for up to 70 children aged 2-5 years as well as a child and parent playgroup for young babies. “We believe that parents are at the heart of the child’s first steps in education, our philosophy is to support parents to be involved in the centre as it enriches the learning experiences for all children.” said centre director Jocelyn Wright.