Affordable Rural Education Centers

Grameen Koota, in partnership with Hippocampus Learning Centres, opens new, affordable rural education centres seeking improved school results for very low-income children

This is part of the Unitus Labs’ India Microfinance Innovations initiative

Update: Unitus Ventures (formerly Unitus Seed Fund) invests in Hippocampus Learning Centres >

In June 2011, Grameen Koota piloted 18 education centers in rural Karnataka (near Bangalore), Inda with learning programs for pre-school, primary and high school children. Grameen Koota’s field staff worked tirelessly to identify villages with low access to quality affordable education, adequate households to meet enrolment targets, and cultural acceptance for children from different backgrounds to study together. Within the first month and a half, over 600 children enrolled across the three programs in 18 centers.

The pilot showcased that quality education can be offered for as low as $2.50 per month, by using technology, video based coaching and low cost education materials. However, several challenges such as competition with government Anganwadi programs, low-availability of quality teachers, and timing of center rollouts led the team to fall short of enrollment targets by 50%. The centers are expected to achieve operational breakeven within the second year, and breakeven of subsequent centers should be achieved within a shorter timeframe.

Grameen Koota has shared a detailed business plan showcasing learnings and challenges from this pilot, allowing other organizations to assess the viability of rolling out a similar program on their own.

NOTE: This is published in the spirit of open source. You may use and modify this content with the condition that you provide credit and intellectual property rights acknowledgement to Grameen Koota and Hippocampus Learning Centres, and provide a link back to this page.

Download Hippocampus Education Centres Project Report (PDF – 7MB)

Download Hippocampus Education Centres Business Plan (PDF – 1MB)

About Grameen Koota

Grameen Koota is the microfinance arm of Grameen Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. (GFSPL) with operations across Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Beginning in 1999, Grameen Koota adapted the Grameen Bank’s group lending methodology of microfinance to the Indian setting and steadily groomed a class of mature and financially literate women entrepreneurs. Today, the organization offers a wider variety of financial services including micro-credit and micro-insurance, and non-financial services include vocational training, education and health awareness.

About Hippocampus Learning Centres

Hippocampus Learning Centres (HLC) establishes learning centres in villages offering preschool and after school programs to age groups from 3 years to 10 years with the aim of improving a child’s capacity to learn and do better in school. HLC hires woman from the local community as teachers, trains them to run the centres and provides them ongoing support. HLC intends to make these ongoing sustainable community enterprises and also achieve financial sustainability as an organization. HLC is based in Bangalore, India.