BENGALURU: With the Karnataka government giving the go-ahead for LKG and UKG classes to reopen from Monday, the preschool sector that was dormant for 18 months is gearing up to keep its infrastructure ready to welcome the children. However, standalone, neighbourhood preschools are in a dilemma whether to open now or watch for a while.
A few standalone preschools who own their spaces are likely to start functioning on Monday. A large number of preschools that were operating out of rented spaces had left the place and moved their infrastructure to godowns after the lockdown forced them to down the shutters. Of these, some of them are looking for spaces again.
“Challenges are many now. Preschools cannot have a small set-up in a house again…. While many houses had remained locked up for the past one and a half years, the owners are asking for higher rents… Getting the right place is becoming a tedious task,” said Pruthvi Banwasi, secretary, Karnataka Council of Pre-schools. Pruthvi, too, is on a space hunt to restart his schools.
“We want to have a space first. Only then can the school have a face and admissions will come through. A school cannot be online forever. Once we find an ideal space, it is just a plug-in for us. Rents are high in non-residential areas and we also need a bigger place,” said Swati Krishnan of Ira Early Years.
Some preschools hunt for space
The challenge is to read parents’ minds. We are on an active space hunt. Two of our landlords were considerate to allow us to continue for the past few months. In the other spaces, we had to vacate,” said Chirag Agarwal, founder director, EarlyVentions – Chain of Preschools.
For a very large number of preschool owners, it is wait and watch. “First of all, we do not know how many parents will be willing to send their children. We need to do a survey for that. Additionally, we do not know whether another wave will hit us. For us, it will be starting from scratch and the investment will run into lakhs of rupees. We would rather wait for a few months,” said Ayesha Singh, director, CreativeKidz.
“We have to hunt for a new space, rehire teachers and recruit more staff to ensure Covid protocols. Admissions have been only one-fourth of normal times. We held a survey among parents and saw that 60%-70% do not want to send children as many have migrated to their hometowns. We will wait for 2-3 months to see how things turn out,” said Deepshika Varma, who runs Cradle2Crayons in Kalyan Nagar.