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A Rs 20-cr school at Gurgaon
Jai Arjun Singh |
November 06, 2004
Kartikay Saini spent 15 years in the Indian Navy where he worked as training commander for IT training and as joint director, Foreign Defence Procurement. In 1997, he received the CNS (Chief of Naval Staff) commendation medal.
But a few years later, when his family business, the Hema Group, acquired Tobu Cycles, Saini became actively involved with the business. Under his leadership, Tobu saw vast product diversification in the next two years, and Saini got the impetus to start a dream project of his own -- a day boarding school that would focus on personality development.
The result is Scottish High, a Rs 20-crore project in Gurgaon, which will open in April 2005.
"I grew up in Ludhiana and did my schooling at the Sacred Heart Convent there. Then, at the age of 16, I joined the National Defence Academy in Pune where I did my engineering; subsequently, I joined the Indian Navy.
"I spent 15 years in the defence service and worked in the fields of engineering, logistics, information technology, foreign procurement and training. During my tenure, I helped with the design and development of online inventory management systems for the naval fleet, as well as designing ERP systems for the Navy.
"My family had its own business in Ludhiana, manufacturing auto parts. The business operations were shifted to Delhi in 1986 under the name Hema Group, and we became an OEM for leading two-wheeler and four-wheeler companies. Initially, I didn't have much to do with the family business, but a little over two years ago we diversified into children's products and that's when I became actively involved with it.
"We took over Tobu India around this time and started to redefine it. At that time it was only into the manufacture of children's cycles, but over the past two years we have diversified into 56 other products -- from walkies to cots.
"With the acquisition of Tobu, the group had started moving towards the children's segment in a sense. Now I wanted to take that further. I envisioned an institute that would provide comprehensive education, focusing not just on academic excellence but holistic development of mind, body and spirit. Thus the idea for Scottish High germinated.
"We got started on a project plan immediately -- research was done with the help of the Indian Institute of Industrial Research -- and there was plenty of brainstorming before work got underway. We wanted to be sure of our focus, which is to build a personality rather than a person. In keeping with that USP, the school motto is "Interrogo Percipio Adicio", meaning "Question, Understand and Apply".
"This will be an integrated school in the truest sense -- for instance, we don't believe in separate sections for special children; they will study in the same classroom as the others and the teachers will have instructions to consider their needs. We are very particular about our staff -- the student-teacher ratio will be 12:1. Milkha Singh has endorsed our sports programme and J J Valaya's studio has designed the school uniform. Even our furniture has been designed on the advice of a psychologist.
"The building is located over a 5-acre area in Gurgaon and our first session will begin in April 2005. This is going to be a day boarding school -- we have mapped out a programme wherein the child will be at school between 8 am and 5.30 pm. With such a schedule, we have to ensure they spend quality time at home; so no written homework will be assigned."Naturally, no expense is being spared. But on the flip side, Tobu Cycles is growing by leaps and bounds too. The company's turnover is around Rs 8 crore (Rs 80 million) and we are targeting Rs 16 crore (Rs 160 million) this year -- a 100 per cent growth.