As part of its global expansion plan, Singaporean preschool MindChamps is getting ready to take over several preschools in Beijing, according to the company’s executive chairman, David Chiem.
So far, the company has almost 100 schools, 40 of which are in Singapore. The rest are in Myanmar, Vietnam, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia.
Chiem called MindChamps’ foray into Beijing “a very important move… strategically for us,” while speaking to The Straits Times at its launch at a seminar for education there on Sunday, November 18.
“We’ve been quite selective and focusing on Beijing first. There are some targets we are looking at.”
He said that MindChamps is in talks with three or four preschools, and was preparing for a major announcement soon.
The company aims to capture 5 percent of China’s premium preschool market, of which there are 30,000 schools.
He reiterated that the company’s hopes are to improve the standard of preschools in China, which the MindChamps is in a strong position to do. “The physical schools are already here, what we are bringing is the software – this is our research, the curriculum, the teacher training, and management system.”
Preschools are multiplying quickly in China, and government regulations have been slow to keep up. In 2017, there were 255,000 preschools for 46 million children, while in 2012, there had only been 181,000, according to the China Daily.
Industry experts gathered to discuss related topics at the seminar yesterday, including the vice-president of the Chinese Society of Educational Development Strategy, Xu Hui, a Chinese education expert. While noting that the number of preschools has grown rapidly over the past five years, this has come with attendant issues such as differing standards in teaching quality as well as a lack of teachers with professional training.
He also discussed the problematic issue of high fees charged by certain schools, saying, “Education institutions are for public benefit, this include preschool education centers, this is a principle that must be adhered to.”
Chiem has said that MindChamps is making a long-term commitment to China and that he welcomed regulations on preschools that were out to make too much profit. “From our perspective it’s great, these guys that rely on doing this can’t sell their schools for ridiculous prices anymore.”