|Ecokids awaits children with a green environment and staff trained to the highest Japanese standards|
Visiting Ecokids GoldmarkCity Hanoi on a cold rainy day of November 2018, the gloom was dispelled by the happy smiles on the faces of children and the warm atmosphere and green coverage at Ecokids. This was indeed the green of trees and of hope.
I met Tran Thi Huong, who regaled me with her impressive rise from a HR director of several well-known companies to become the founder of Ecokids.
DREAMS OF JAPANESE QUALITY
Remembering 2013, when she moved to Ecopark – Green City in the southeast of Hanoi, Tran Thi Huong could not find a qualified kindergarten for her kids because at the time there were almost no such kindergartens at Ecopark.
“I was so worried and tossed and turned for many nights until an idea sparked in my mind: opening my own international-standard kindergarten for my children. All I want is to bring a warm and loving house to children, make them feel happy like they were at home,” said Huong, who is general director of Ecokids Training and Creation JSC.
Huong took the risk of quitting her well-paid jobs as HR director at FLC Group, Ecopark, Sacombank, and deputy director of a number of other companies to devote all her time to the education cause and began preparations by selecting modern infrastructure and equipment, as well as qualified and experienced teachers.
“It was a challenge and a tough decision because it would turn my life upside down, especially my family life. I seemed to have far less time for my home and spent the whole day working on Ecokids,” Huong shared.
The fruits of her toils ripened when the kindergarten was full of children in just five months – all resulting from her vision of creating a truly unique and welcoming kindergarten that offers high-quality facilities but is affordable nevertheless.
Ecokids pays due attention to outdoor activities by placing emphasis in its curricula on helping children enjoy and discover nature and get plenty of exercise, thus igniting their curiosity and awakening their inner potential.
What is more, Ecokids helps children improve their life skills and approach bilingual curricula, with all foreign teachers being qualified with university certificates and other relevant qualifications. Ecokids now co-operates with the famous MaySchool English training centre to provide qualified English teachers for its network.
“I am pleased to send my children to Ecokids. Their English language skills and life skills have improved much. Especially, they became more active and self confident. At first, I had doubts about so-called international schools, but now I think differently: they are not at all the same, Ecokids is different,” said N.T.M., the mother of two kids, both of whom learn at Ecokids.
With trust and encouragement from parents, Huong continues her desire to further improve the quality, thus helping the next generations better adapt to globalisation and future trends. Huong has worked with many international education groups in Singapore and Canada on potential partnerships and she decided to choose Global Kids under Global Group – one of the five most prestigious and high-quality education groups in Japan.
“After long travels and discussions, I chose Global Kids because Japan is famous for the quality of education and training. Moreover, Japanese culture is closer to Vietnam’s,” Huong said.
Operating more than 160 facilities with over 6,200 children, Global Kids can support Ecokids to standardise curricula, management methods, and the training of teachers. The two sides have regular meetings to discuss improving training quality and ensuring proper nutrition for the children.
The co-operation with Global Kids is a special distinction elevating Ecokids head and shoulders above competition, building on the 5S management standards of Japan: SERI, SEITON, SEISO, SEIKETSU, and SHITSUKE, creating common standards from infrastructure to teaching quality.
|Ecokids’ wholesome curriculum includes playful education and ample physical activity to raise children to be not only healthy and active but ready for life in an advanced world|
FUTURE EXPANSION PLANS
Boasting six educational facilities, mostly in Hanoi, Ecokids plans to boost its presence nationwide by franchising, starting from 2019.
“I am going to open kindergartens in the northern provinces of Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen next year, where we can build on the rapid development of industrial parks and increase in residential areas. The provinces are also adjacent to Hanoi and locals’ incomes have been steadily growing,” Huong said.
The plan for 2019 means to lay down the foundations of strong expansion in 2020 when Ecokids and Global Kids will launch the Global Ecokids kindergarten network, expecting to bring the highest quality education for the future generations of Vietnam.
Through the co-operation with Global Kids, Ecokids is confident to stand firm in the market amid stiffening competition from domestic and foreign players.
Vietnam has been on the radars of domestic and international education groups, driven by a growing middle-class and foreign direct investment (FDI).
At present, so-called international kindergartens are popping up all across Vietnam in anticipation of growing local demand. However, their quality remains an issue of special concern.
Global Kids is an example of the recent moves by foreign investors to break into the local education sector. The Japanese group is pursuing its plan to expand in Vietnam by franchising. A number of businesses from European and Asian nations have also made similar moves.
As shown by statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, education has risen to the ninth rank among foreign-invested sectors as of October 20, 2018 with a total of 443 valid projects worth $4.34 billion.
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