The franchise model involves the association of a franchisee who is responsible for establishing and managing the school, and a franchisor, who offers the curriculum, teaching methodologies, and other essential resources.” writes Mr. Anirban Bhattacharya, VP- Partner Schools, Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Schools, as he pens a piece for The Financial Express on ‘How would children in a rural background benefit from the strategy of the franchise model?

The franchise model in education has emerged as a viable strategy in recent years for enhancing access to quality education, especially in rural provinces of India. The Indian education system is one of the largest in the world, with 26.52 crore students enrolled in 14.89 lakh schools. As per Central Square Foundation, about 85% of these schools are in rural areas but the enrollment remains at 71%. Given the fact that most of India’s population resides in villages, there is a clear need to bring more children in rural areas into mainstream education. Private schools, through their franchise model, can help further the cause of universal education espoused by the National Education Policy 2020.

The franchise model involves the association of a franchisee who is responsible for establishing and managing the school, and a franchisor, who offers the curriculum, teaching methodologies, and other essential resources. The franchisee is required to adhere to the guidelines and standards established by the franchisor to ensure quality education delivery and teaching practices.

One of the noteworthy advantages of the franchise model in education is the standardisation of the curriculum and teaching processes. This ensures that the quality of education being delivered is uniform across all franchisee schools. Children in rural areas often have limited access to quality education owing to the lack of resources and infrastructure.

The franchise model in this regard can help bridge this gap by delivering access to standardised education, which is on par with schools in urban areas.

This benefit can particularly accrue to girls in rural areas who have high aspirations and are looking for avenues for empowerment. According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022, the proportion of 15-16-year-old girls from rural areas not enrolled in schools stands at 7.9% in 2022. Private schools operating under the franchise model have the potential to reach the far-flung areas and provide an opportunity to these girls for availing quality education.

Franchisees garner access to a proven curriculum, teacher training programs, and other pivotal resources. Moreover, the franchise model also addresses some of the logistical obstacles associated with delivering education in rural areas as by collaborating with local entrepreneurs, education franchises utilise their knowledge of the local community and infrastructure.

The association ensures that schools are established in areas where they are needed most and that they are accessible to students and families.

Another key benefit of the franchise model is its capability to generate jobs and bolster economic growth in rural areas. With this, education franchises can allow opportunities for entrepreneurship and help to create a more sustainable local economy. This in turn can mitigate some of the root causes of educational inequality in rural areas.

The franchise model in education also enables the franchisee to benefit from the brand value and reputation of the franchisor, drawing more students and parents to the school. Furthermore, the franchisor often furnishes continuous support to the franchisee in terms of curriculum updates, teacher training, and other resources.

It has also created new avenues of opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the country. Women who are eyeing to initiate a business in the education sector can leverage the franchise model to establish their schools, fostering gender equality and women empowerment in India.

Furthermore, the model boosts accountability and transparency in the management of schools since franchisees are regularly monitored for their academic and administrative activities. With this, schools operate in a transparent and accountable manner, leading to more significant trust between the school and the community.

Additionally, the franchise model in education can also nurture innovation in teaching and learning as franchisees can experiment with new teaching methodologies and deploy technology in the classrooms to optimise learning outcomes. This can foster innovation in teaching and learning, leading to the evolution of new best practices which can be implemented across the franchise network for an overall improvement in the quality of education.