How to setup a school

If you have a background in education i.e. you are a teacher or if your family members are educators; and you are planning to put up a business, why not consider putting up a school? In our city, there’s a family who put up a kindergarten school (Pre School), which I guess, is the easiest for starters, and they eventually expanded and now included an elementary and high school with plans to include a collegiate level that offer degrees soon. I reckon an education business is profitable to many.

Your probability of success is superior because you will be drawing inspiration and technique from your own expertise, and also because it is something you will enjoy doing; therefore, you will be more likely to sustain the business than someone who is just in it for the money. Furthermore, schools are always in demand and the tax outlook is good.

Going into this business becomes more compelling if you have partners that can help you and provide you with school space or building and when there is a capital available.

So, how do we start setting up a school?

Basically, a school is an organized space for learning, approved and monitored by the relevant government agencies, and follows a curriculum and staffing pattern set by the Department of Education or Commission on Higher Education; depending on what level of education your school is offering.

1.Staffing

Pre school or Elementary and high schools— which should probably be your starting point, as it would be too complicated to venture into higher education right away—are staffed by a principal and teachers who must all be licensed educators (that is, board passers). This can include you or some of your family members if they are educators themselves.

The principal must have a Master’s degree in education. The following personnel are also mandatory: school administrator, administrative staff, head teacher, librarian, nurse, security guards, maintenance people, and cafeteria staff.

2. Build it up

Should you decide to open a school, it would be less-capital intensive if you first start with a preschool and then gradually expand to the grade levels at the rate of two or three grades per year.

Or, you could just stay at the preschool levels forever. It really all depends on your personal preference. For school space, you could either lease or purchase property in a safe neighborhood, or if you already have one of your own, just confirm that it is situated in a safe area and you’re good to go.

3. Requirements

You will need to obtain the following:

•Clearance from the Homeowners’ Association in the neighborhood where your school will be located.
•Barangay clearance from the barangay where the school will be situated.
•Registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). To comply with SEC requirements, your school must have a board of trustees and officers such as president and vice president.
•Registration with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
•Mayor’s permit from the local government unit where your school will be located. [See nine signs that you're ready for entrepreneurship here]
•Permit to operate from the Department of Education (DepEd).

4. Safety issues

A DepEd official will visit your school and inspect if it passes the requirements before issuing you a permit to operate. To obtain the permit, you will have to prove that your school is a safe structure built of strong materials; has fire escapes, a fire alarm, and fire extinguishers on every floor and in every room and corner; has good ventilation and spacious classrooms as well as clean toilets; has a playground or athletic field and a gym or auditorium hall; has a clinic, a library, a laboratory, a computer room, and a dining hall or cafeteria; and administration offices with a separate teachers’ lounge.

5. Year-round operation

For starters, you can offer scholarships, tuition discounts and other promotions of similar type to entice prospective students to enroll in your school. As you already know, you will have to operate your school year-round and even during the summer and vacation months of April and May, your staff will have to be paid and the school will have to remain open for summer classes.

Reference: Entrepreneur Philippines Magazine, June 2010

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