16 December 2019

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Beyond Classrooms

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Shainaz realized her passion for teaching as she used to drop her son at school when they were in UK. Given that she had free time on hand, Shainaz volunteered to help the school with activities like gardening and taking the school children for walks. When she was requested by them to assist in the phonics class because of her ability to bond well with children and speak good English, it was a turning point in Shainaz’s life.

The subsequent year they re-located to India and she started teaching phonics in a nearby play school. Initially she partnered with this playschool and help them build their Phonics offering. After 3 years, the entrepreneurial bug bit Shainaz Jussa and Phonickids was born in 2007. Today Phonickids offers Phonics & Grammar courses for children, teachers and schools following Jolly Phonics methodology from Jolly Learning, UK, which is used in over 100 countries.

PhonicKids works mainly in the early childhood education domain, offering a fun and child centered approach for teaching like teaching sounds using examples of sound, jingles, stories, field-trips, videos, pictures and practicals. “More than 40% of Indian children are unable to read English well even by 4th Standard. They are taught alphabetically and to pronounce whole words with the help of a picture (e.g A for apple)” says Shainaz. “Due to this 'look-and-say' method children are not able recognize words that are not taught” she continues.

PhonicKids helps children in establishing an excellent foundation for a smart personality, high self-esteem and self-confidence and thereby set a strong foundation for a bright future. Shainaz, a Certified Jolly Phonics Professional Trainer from Jolly Learning Ltd.UK, also conducts exclusive teacher training workshops on Jolly Phonics across India,  Bangladesh and Oman and helps schools implement Jolly Phonics in their curriculum.

Shainaz started very small an initial investment of Rs.3 lakhs to setup the place and initial marketing. Today Phonickids has its main center in Goregaon East in Mumbai and 4 branches across Mumbai which operate under franchise program. This woman oriented business collectively trains over 1,000 children and over 500 teachers annually.

“We grew primarily through word-of-mouth. We have been very fortunate to have delivered high quality training to our children making their parents talk to others about us” says Shainaz about their growth. All their capital as well as operational fund requirements are comfortably met through internal accruals. “By Gods grace, our profits far exceed our expenses. We are at a good run rate of closing current financial year and should get closer to the Rs.1 Crore mark” she continues. No matter how glossy your brochure or website looks, it is the feedback of parents that impacts the most.

As there are very few Jolly learning certified trainers in India, Shainaz got listed on their website, which helped her a lot. She had participated in two global conferences held by Jolly Learning and have close ties with Jolly Learning’s Leadership and Management Teams.

As parents want to do a thorough research on the offerings and track record of the centre, they have made sure that our website has all the latest and relevant information. “While we have not done any formal SEO on our websites, we have received many calls from parents, teachers and schools finding us on the internet” says Shainaz. She also uses Facebook for regular updation about their workshops and other interesting things they do with students.

Shainaz says that she has been fortunate enough for not having any significant challenges while running her business so far. She enjoys her work and gets huge satisfaction from her students. “The happiness of many parents itself is a great satisfaction for me. That makes me feel great” says Shainaz. She also ensures that she makes adequate time for her priorities around her family and her personal self.

Phonickids offers franchise opportunity, especially for women. The association with the only branded exclusive Phonics Center in India is also an additional benefit for the franchises.  However, at present they signup Franchisee only on annual basis as it is a 10 month course and are also very choosy in approving Franchisees to ensure the quality. “The requirements for franchisees are around 600 sq.ft premises, look and feel similar to existing Phonickids centre.

Her short term plan is to take larger premises for operation and to introduce more new courses from Jolly Learning for children as well as teachers. “Teacher Training Workshops has been an enjoyable offering and I would like to increase my frequencies for the same” says Shainaz.

Shainaz also focuses on trainings for charity; conducting trainings for children & teachers of poorer schools. She had already started the same through her own efforts and through NGOs like Akansha. She has also been approached by Jolly Learning, to conduct a charity based training to poorer schools in India sponsored by them.

“I am quite happy with how I am moving with the Phonickids business and my future plan has always been to work on the present in the best possible way one can” concludes Shainaz, who is a fitness freak besides this.


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