The past ten years have seen an increase in the number of private colleges. However, many have since been forced to close down due to a number of challenges, chief among them, maladministration, failure to retain skilled personnel and economic woes. Far from being a deterrent, this creates an opportunity for new players to come in and make a difference. The need for quality education cannot be overlooked. Be it primary, secondary or tertiary education, the market is alive. In this article, we explore how you can start a private college in the country.
The first port of call is company registration. You then need to approach the Education Ministry to get the registration for your institution. This entails a pre-inspection report and a health certificate among other things. Your nearest education ministry offices will give you a checklist of what needs to be completed before you are fully licensed to operate. You should bear in mind that requirements differ for rural and urban colleges.
This business requires a lot of capital to set it up. This is because building your own premises can be very costly. Even if you choose to rent, the rentals will not be cheap and you may have to invest in renovating the premises to suit your purpose. Procurement of equipment can also be costly. Remember, certain subjects require equipment. To counter this huge capital requirement, you can opt to start small and then grow as resources increase. For example, for a primary school, you can have one class for each grade and then open up more classes with time.
You should ensure that your college premises have ample space and facilities like ablution blocks. No one wants to send their child to a college where they learn in an overcrowded classroom with inadequate health considerations. Clean water is also a must at your premises. In addition to this, you must have at the very least first aid trained personnel on staff. The location of your premises also needs to be accessible by public transport. Not everyone has their own transport. In addition, if you are going to offer practical subjects like Metalwork or Carpentry, make sure you have workshops to use for learning those subjects. Depending on affordability, you can rent or build your own premises.
Equipment and machinery
That you need desks and chairs is a no brainer. Ensure that all your students have a proper desk and chair. For science subjects, you need certain equipment and machinery. Laboratory equipment like test tubes, thermometers and the like are essential. Similarly, a computer room needs to be fully equipped with computers and related consumables. The availability of adequate equipment and machinery will enhance students’ learning and that way, parents and guardians will fall in love with your college.
The staff that you recruit for this business should be well trained in the subjects that they teach. Well trained and experienced personnel will positively contribute to the quality of the teaching at your college. As we all know, good results are the most critical measure of a good college. You must also ensure you have enough personnel so that your teacher to learner ratio stays respectable. You cannot have one teacher attending to 100 students but a ratio of 1:25 is respectable and is likely to produce good results.
Those staying close to your college are a good starting market for you. However, you still need to explore those further afield as well. If you offer boarding facilities, that increases your market even further. Take your time to research on your market’s needs before opening your doors. Come up with a college that solves the challenges that the market has been grappling with. Even after you open your doors, your marketing efforts should be continuous and comprehensive. This is because the success of the college is in the numbers that you can attract. The more students the better.
This is a business where competition is stiff especially in cities and towns. From the onset, it is not wise to open your college in close proximity to one that offers the same subjects or courses. This can be counterproductive. However, if premises close to your competition is all you can find, dare to be different. Study your competition well and find ways to be better in everything you do.
The use of technology in education keeps gaining traction worldwide. As a new business in this sector, you must lead the way as far as technology is concerned. Explore how you can gain market share by providing quality education using technology as a tool to enhance what you teach and how you do business. This can be costly but, if you do it wisely, you will attract more students.
Education is not stagnant. Teaching methods and equipment evolve over time. Do not be left behind. Always stay ahead of the pack. Ensure that your teachers attend professional development courses so as to remain sharp and relevant.
Many colleges have closed down due to maladministration or noncompliance with government regulations. Avoid this at all costs. Your finances should be handled by highly qualified and experienced personnel, full of integrity. That way, you will not find yourself falling behind in salary payments and other obligations.
There is no point in trying to be a jack of all trades. Allow your teachers to do what they do best and focus on your own capabilities. It is better to seek guidance where you are not sure than to make the wrong decisions. The subjects or courses that your college offers should be exactly what your staff are capable of teaching.
Although this business requires a lot of capital, the return on investment cannot be ignored. If you do your homework, you stand to make a lot of money out of it. Never compromise on quality though.