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India's Education System Needs More Women For Early Childhood Development Encouraging women entrepreneurship in this space can lead to tremendous social change, making women more empowered and independent

By Arunprasad Durairaj

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When William Wordsworth wrote "Child is the father of man" in his poem "The Rainbow', what he rightly meant was that adults are the outcome of what they learn during their childhood in terms of their behaviour, manners, feelings, and conduct. This clearly makes it crucial to raise smart kids who have been imparted with good education and instilled with moral values so that they can grow into well-groomed and responsible global citizens.

The Role of Preschool Education in Early Childhood Development

Preschools offering early childhood education prepare toddlers for the future and help in building a robust foundation for their overall development. They play a significant role in enhancing the self-esteem of the children and optimizing their learning habits to shape them into future leaders. It is no wonder then that the trend is fast catching up in India as well. According to industry estimates, the current preschool market in India is witnessing exponential growth. However, despite a 25per cent CAGR of the Early Education Industry in India, only a dismal 10per cent of children receive early education and reaps its benefits.

India is currently the youngest country with 35 crore children in the age group of 1 and 5 years. This essentially means that by the next decade, the country would need around 10 lakh preschools to accommodate the fast-growing number of children. While many individuals and brands are opening preschools in the metropolitan and tier 1 cities by buying franchises, there is a dire need to encourage women to start preschools, especially in smaller cities.

Why Women Can Thrive in the Early Childhood Development Sector?

While women constitute around half (48 percent) of the total Indian population, their participation in the country's economic activities is only 25 percent. Even though a significant number of women are in the workforce, leading to substantial economic growth and productivity, their contribution towards innovation, job creation, and economic growth as entrepreneurs is still untapped.

Considering a woman's unique tendency to build and uphold long-term relationships, the preschool space can be attributed as the best possible industry for them to start a business.Moreover, keeping in mind their nurturing and empathetic nature, they indeed bring a unique set of expertise and experiences that can help in enhancing the quality of decisions in India's education system.

Currently, the preschool industry in India is undergoing remarkable changes. As it becomes more organized with many leading brands tapping into its potential, the sector is set to witness massive growth. Encouraging women entrepreneurship in this space can lead to tremendous social change, making women more empowered and independent. It can also lead to a conducive balance of men and women entrepreneurs in this space. Additionally, it will also encourage more women to don the entrepreneurial hat and achieve new heights of success.

What's Holding Them Back: Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs in India

While we painted a very rosy picture above, the truth remains that it is not easy for women to start independent preschools in India. The existing inclination towards branded preschools due to educators in rural regions and small towns lacking good communication skills and training prevents many women from taking the entrepreneurial leap.

However, with the dawn of flexible and new-age solutions, women are finally being able to successfully start their entrepreneurial journey in the preschool industry. Tech led start-ups that facilitate standardized Product-as-a-Service models to power the independent/ unbranded preschools to deliver high quality early learning programs, are enabling women to not only become but thrive as entrepreneurs in the preschool sector.

Women have always been the key pillars of their family, shouldering numerous roles and responsibilities, which indicates their ability to multitask, and take risks and initiatives. It is on the back of these inimitable qualities that women are the perfect choice for the early childcare learning business. With innovative solutions facilitating numerous business opportunities, women in India are on their way to becoming empowered leaders shaping the future global learners.

Arunprasad Durairaj

CEO and Co-founder of FlintoClass


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