13 international schools keen to set up campuses in Amaravati

Inspired by the vision of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu of making Amaravati a world class capital city, 13 leading international schools from across the globe expressed keen interest in setting up their campuses in the new capital city.

This interest was expressed at the Round Table on International Schools that was hosted by the CRDA in Vijayawada under the guidance of Minister for MA&UD P.  Narayana here on Tuesday. Continuing with its focus on making Amaravati an Education hub of the country, the Government, on October 4 hosted a round table conference with the promoters of 13 of the world’s leading international schools in Vijayawada, including some of the schools from Singapore and Dubai. Principal Secretary, CRDA, Ajay Jain, along with Additional Commissioner, Rammanohar, chaired the meeting with the promoters and representatives of these leading schools.

Laying out the context, Ajay Jain explained in detail to the audience about the vision for overall economic development and employment generation in the city. He detailed out the recent developments in the capital city regarding infrastructure, funding, and the anchor sectors chosen for the capital city. Elaborate details regarding the estimated numbers in the capital city pertaining to the jobs, population and GDP expected were also shared. Ajay Jain then proposed to the schools the options available in Amaravati. Around 2 international schools and 5 private schools would be required in Amaravati by the year 2019. Details regarding the land requirement for the schools, the model of engagement and the process of engagement were discussed. It was proposed that for international schools, for a non-residential campus 3 to 5 acres would be allotted, and for a residential campus around 7 to 8 acres would be allotted. Ajay Jain proposed that the process being considered for the allotment is a Quality-Cost-Based-Process (QCBS), where an initial qualification will be conducted of the applicants, and then a cost based short listing would be conducted for the qualified participants.

The leading schools which actively participated in the discussion, also shared their views and concerns regarding the proposal of the Government inviting international schools to participate in the development of Amaravati. DPS International, which counts alumni like Raghuram Rajan, mentioned that while they preferred outright sale of land, they would be fine with the proposed leased model. Global Indian International School (GIIS), Singapore, mentioned that a cost based process might not produce the best quality in schools. A concern around viability was also discussed for schools in the context of the land prices and the demand in the capital city.

Ryan International expressed consonance with the proposed lease model and stressed on the need of future ready schools in a futuristic capital city. Their representative invited the Government to visit their campuses to get a feel of the quality of infrastructure provided. Given the initial low demand, Ryan proposed a ballooning model for lease payments instead of an upfront payment. Podar International expressed keenness in picking a land parcel in a residential area, and expressed keenness to study the market before finalising the curriculum to be chosen at its schools.

Indus International expressed concerns about the policy of capping of fees followed by various states. They also proposed to the Government to formalise the Right to Education (RTE) requirements as a part of the city education/school policy. Pathways,one of the top 3 international schools from NCR, discussed in detail about the considerations for choosing land for setting up their campus.     Mr Prabhat Jain, from Pathways, mentioned that investing in land was just a minor portion of the investment that goes into the investment in setting up of a school. Around 150 to 200 crores is required to set-up the remaining infrastructure to run the operations of the school. GEMS, from Dubai, who has presence in 17 countries, spoke about the different models they use for schools and their agreement with the lease model.

Apart from these schools, Chirec International, Jubilee Hills Public School, Amity International, HLC International and Candor International also participated in the discussions. Various participants expressed that the process of allotment need to be completed quickly so that their planning and construction would start soon commensurate with academic schedules.

After detailed discussions, Ajay Jain proposed to release an RFQ (Request for Qualification) by the end of October and assured all support from the Government to ensure that allotment of required land and approvals would be finalized latest by February 2017. He mentioned that the next level of discussions would happen after the RFQ is released. (NSS)