50% play-school across Bhopal fold up due to COVID scare

  • | Tuesday | 23rd February, 2021

More than 50% have shut down over the past year and those that are running, are finding it hard to get new admissions in playgroup and nursery.

More than 50% have shut down over the past year and those that are running, are finding it hard to get new admissions in playgroup and nursery.

The preschool model had really taken off in Bhopal in the past few years, with some localities having up to a dozen. But the virus has thrown up an unforeseen and unprecedented challenge.

With the shutdown of campuses due to the pandemic and many parents working from home, preschools across the state capital are staring at an uncertain future. The Covid scare has forced many parents to put off admissions in playgroup or nursery, and directly admit them in junior KG when things improve.

With many people facing business losses or out of jobs, they aren’t able to even pay school fees. The owners of many playschools said they don’t have 100% fee deposits.

There are around 300 playschools in Bhopal. Nearly 50% of them have shut down, she said. “Only those schools that were able to pump in extra money during the Covid pandemic have survived. Most schools that started on rented property have closed, and several of these owners have switched to other professions,” said Pandey.

At this rate, barely 30-40 playschools will survive, she fears. “The bigger playschools have better resources. The rest are in poor shape,” said Pandey.

Corona concerns keep kids away from pre-schools

Vimal Kumar, who owns a playschool in Arera Colony, had to shut it down after running it for five years. He doesn’t know what the future holds. “How to run such a setup without fee and students? Some schools are also playing spoilsport — they are admitting students (in class 1 or higher classes in pre-school) without asking for the previous class mark sheet or certificate. Since parents get admission this way, they refuse to pay us fees, saying they do not need a mark sheet,” alleged Kumar.

Several franchises have also shut down. “I had to pay almost Rs 6-7 lakh to take the franchise of a major pre-school chain. The franchise owners demanded payment without understanding our problem. I had to shut down my campus,” said a school owner, requesting not to be named.

Parents say they’d rather not send their tiny tots to school when Covid is around. “I can teach my daughter at home. I do not find any reason to send her to school to learn ABCD. I will get her admitted in KG-1 next year,” said Ankush Ahuja. One cannot fault parents for playing it safe in Corona times, but the ordeal continues for pre-schools.



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