Modern Montessori International Group (MMI), the master franchisee of Modern Montessori International (London) for the the Asia-Pacific region, has opened its first preschool in Myanmar.
MMI said this latest addition to the group’s preschool network is part of its strategy to accelerate its expansion plans in the region to capitalise on the growing demand for high quality early childhood education in Asia, especially in countries with very large, young, vibrant and upwardly-mobile populations such as Myanmar.
MMI has an estimated 100 preschools and teacher training centres in 16 countries worldwide, including twelve in Asia.
The preschool in the affluent Bahan township in Yangon is the first of a number of MMI preschools being planned in major cities and townships across the country, the company said.
The 5,000-sqft school building sits on a quarter-acre plot with an area for outdoor activities. The school is expected to commence operations this month, with an initial intake of 100 students.
MMI’s preschool in Myanmar will be managed by MMI’s local franchisee, Singapore Education Training Academy Co Ltd (SETA), a 50-50 joint venture between Singapore and Myanmar partners, headed by CEO Kalimuthu Ponnusamy.
With an initial investment of $500,000, MMI said the preschool is expected to achieve revenues exceeding $200,000 in the first year of operations. Revenue is projected to double in the second year.
MMI Chairman and CEO Dr T Chandroo said, “The opening of our first preschool in Myanmar as part of MMI’s 25th anniversary, underscores our overall aim to accelerate our expansion especially in emerging markets overseas where we will target 20 new pre-schools and teacher training centres in Asia by 2017.
“As MMI turns 25, we are confident that our unique MMI pedagogy incorporating our brand of early childhood education will help nurture future leaders in Asia. Beyond Myanmar, MMI also has plans to expand to Vietnam by the end of this year.”
Florence Loh, centre director, Yangon, for International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, a government agency that promotes trade and the overseas growth of Singapore companies, said, “The development of human capital is an important area for Myanmar as the country develops. Investments in training and education will contribute to Myanmar’s development of a strong workforce.
“We are happy to see that in addition to existing partnerships in urban development and hospitality, Singapore companies are now exploring other channels to reach local consumers through modern retail and service offerings.”
As part of MMI’s overall corporate social responsibility objectives, the group said it has plans to promote literacy among rural areas in Myanmar.
MMI has expanded its operations in Singapore and ventured into 14 other countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Hong Kong, China, Egypt, UAE, Kenya, and Nigeria.
It currently operates 30 preschools and a teacher training centre in Singapore. The MMI Group has currently has close to 100 preschools and teacher training centres worldwide.
SETA said there is growing demand for foreign education based institutions, as more people in Myanmar are seeking foreign education and employment opportunities abroad.
Myanmar has seen three leading international schools venturing into the country’s education sector to tap the demand for international standard education as the country opens up. Harrow International Management Services and Dulwich College International tied up with Yoma Strategic Holdings last year to open schools, while the British International School started operation in August.
SETA said it aims to expand the MMI brand in Myanmar for the pre-school sector by opening more centres throughout Myanmar.