How to Start a High School in India

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Starting a private high school is often considered a difficult procedure that takes a fair bit of time. However, it is not an altogether impossible task as plenty of entrepreneurs have shown previously.

In fact, any businessman looking to set up a high school can get a lot of practical knowledge and inspiration from the way previous school owners have gone about their businesses.

Things to do before setting up a high school

As a matter of fact, the entrepreneur looking to start a high school it is better to have a look at the website of a successful school and get some useful information. This will show that starting a high school can be a time consuming affair that needs a lot of support and money.

It normally takes around 2 years to get a high school started. In case of India, an entrepreneur needs to get affiliation from any of the following national level boards:
  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
  • National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)
  • Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE)
They can also apply for affiliation of the different state level education boards if they prefer it that way.

Steps to follow while opening a high school in India

Identifying the location

It is important to locate the place where the high school can be set up. It is practically useless to start a high school in an area which already has a surfeit of such schools and needs institutions for the lower grades.

Entities looking to start the high school will be better served if they can employ professional market researchers to do the job for them. This needs to be done at least 2-3 years before the school becomes operational.

Committee Formation

This process has to be completed at least 2 years prior to the school’s start. It is advisable to start with a smaller body of supporters who are good enough to do the initial work – this can include parents who have financial, management, legal, and construction related experience.

However, it is important to make sure that every member gives some quality time and financial assistance to the project – they can also become the first members in the board of directors.

Entrepreneurs can also employ professionals for this purpose if they have the necessary financial resources – they will come in handy with regards to meeting various problems and challenges.

Incorporating the High School

This function should ideally be completed 18 months before the school gets off the ground. The incorporation papers should be registered with relevant authorities – it is better to let the lawyer member in the advisory committee handle these procedures. These processes have a certain expense but the owner should try to convince the member to contribute his or her legal services to the program.

As per experts, this is also an important step in the context of long term fund generation as legally registered bodies find it easier to procure funds than an individual. However, if the school is proprietary in nature then only the owner will be responsible for collecting the funds.

Business Plan Development

The business plan for the school should be ready not late than 18 months before it starts operating. Ideally it should outline the way the school is going to function in the first 5 years.

It is better to be reserved while making these estimates and not want to attain the top position right away. However, if there is a person willing to donate for the entire program then more ambitious plans may be made.

Making a Budget

Like the business plan, this task should also be accomplished 18 months before the school gets off the ground. Initially the budget should be developed for a 5 year period. The budget should be handled by the committee member who is adept at financial matters. It should be done in a realistic manner and there should be some breathing space to accommodate future problems.

Two types of budget need to be created – a capital budget and an operating budget. Facilities such as arts rooms or swimming pools will be regarded as capital expenditure while social security should be classed as operational expense. It is better to get expert help on this critical matter.

Following are some areas in a school’s budget:
  • Electricity
  • Books
  • Lab equipment
  • Staff salary
  • Conducting examinations
  • Equipment for students (this is applicable if the school is being opened in an economically disadvantaged area)
  • Facilities such as playgrounds, pools
  • Sports and musical equipment for students (this will be applicable if the school is a regular participant in such events)
  • Additional facilities like arts rooms
  • Rents
  • Applicable taxes
  • Food and lodging (the later will be applicable if it is a boarding school)
  • Water connection
  • Maintenance for pipes and sanitary equipment in bathroom
  • Building maintenance
  • Classroom equipments such as whiteboards, markers and computers
  • Chairs and tables for teachers and chairs and desks for students
  • Participation fee at events
  • Excursion expenses

Construction of the School Building

This needs to be done a minimum of 20 months before the functioning starts. An entrepreneur looking to build a school should either locate the building or develop the plans by this time if he wants to start from ground zero. This assignment should be looked after by the contractors and architects, if there are any, in the committee. It is always better to check out the following factors:
  • Building location
  • Expenses
  • Building history
  • Environment friendly nature
When it comes to size, experts make the following recommendations:
  • 32% of the gross area in a high school should be used for circulation – this means corridors, lobby, and stairs
  • Mechanical rooms, storage rooms, and electrical closets should not be included in the circulation space
  • The corridors should be big
  • There should be no interior classes without windows
  • Materials such as drywall and metal studs may be used for reducing wall area but that might increase the maintenance expenses
  • In case of multistoried buildings, the lower walls should be thick and strong enough to support the upper walls
  • The building should ideally be two-storied and have a lot of floor area so that students are not unduly stressed while moving between classes

Procuring Tax Benefits

For an entrepreneur to generate sufficient funds for the school, it should be exempted from taxes and for this to happen the owner needs to make relevant applications. The lawyer on the board can handle these issues – it is better to get started as early as possible so that they can get more people interested in contributing to the school.

The tax exemptions granted to a school from the national level administration can also apply at the state level but it is better to pay the local taxes as a mark of goodwill.

Normally the total income of a school is exempted from taxes in India. However, the employees in a school and the school itself can also be eligible for tax benefits in the following situations:
  • If their gratuity is less than INR 3.5 lakhs
  • Payment from superannuation fund
  • If their pension is within specific limits
  • If the school provides its employees special privileges such as house rent allowance
  • If their leave encashment money is less than their total salary for 8 months – however, there are certain conditions to this
  • If it pays interest to an international bank that has RBI’s approval
  • If their voluntary retirement amount is lesser than INR 5 lakhs or equal to it
  • If it receives payment from an award provided by the Indian or state governments
  • Money received from Statutory Provident Fund or Public Provident Fund


By 14-16 months before formally opening the school, the owners should identify and appoint the business manager and the school head. They should look at as many options as are available. In addition, they should pen down the responsibilities of various employees of the school.

The school head and the business manager should be hired as soon as possible so that they have the time and mental peace necessary to make sure the foundations of the school are strong enough. In these cases the owners can also look for also professionals to make sure that the school is opened on time.

An important factor in recruitment is employing people according to the immediate requirement and this has to be done in lieu of competitive salaries. New school owners can try to convince experienced faculty members that they are getting an excellent opportunity to shape an educational institution and play a decisive role in its future. Professional help can also be sought in this regard.

An owner should make sure that prospective teachers are mentally tuned with the school’s vision and requirements. Otherwise, any gap in this regard could harm the institution in the long term.

The following factors should be kept in mind while recruiting teachers:
  • Should be able to create curricula
  • Should be able to instruct students properly
  • Should be able to plan the activities that will keep students interested
  • Should at least be a bachelor in the subject of focus
  • Should have a Bachelor’s degree in Education
  • Should regularly take education instruction and development courses
Under ideal circumstances, the teacher of a high school should be receiving INR 4-5 lakhs in a year and his or her yearly bonus should be at least 30,000 rupees. They can also be paid part of the profit but the amount should not, in the interest of the school owner, exceed 50,000 per teacher. If they are eligible for commission payment it should be limited to INR 25-26 thousand a year.

Funding Operations

14 months before a school is opened the owner should collect the initial funds through subscriptions and donations. The owner needs to develop a plan carefully so that the funding campaign gathers momentum gradually, yet is at par with financial requirements.

The owners can look for lively people from their board of directors to spearhead the whole exercise. It is better to avoid small fundraisers. Instead, the owners should apply to philanthropists and foundations for help. It is better to get professional help for writing the appeals and locating prospective donors.

Generating Awareness

This process should be started 14 months before a school starts to function or even earlier. The owners can use community based activities such as service club presentations to promote their schools and issue advertisements for students.

Owners can also set up mailing lists for connecting with prospective students and donors. It is better to have professionals perform the task. Nowadays, with the advancements of technology, communication has become easier. Following are some ways in which the owners can publicize their school:
  • Open a Facebook page for the school where you can post all the latest developments and goings-on
  • Start a twitter page which shall serve the same purpose as the Facebook page
  • Issue advertisements in local newspapers and magazines – choose ones that have the maximum readership
  • Organize cultural and competitive events at their school and let other schools
  • participate. This will project a vibrant atmosphere
  • Run advertisements in television, movie theaters and local events
  • Run advertisements in television, movie theaters and local events

Initiating Operations

9 months before the proposed opening date of the school, the owners should start the office and start doing the interviews for admissions – they can also give prospective parents a tour of the school if it is complete by then.

The owner can also employ professionals to take care of the following:
  • Procuring instructional material
  • Coming up with a timetable
  • Planning the syllabi for various classes

Training and Orientation of Faculty Members

Your faculty members should be ready to go the day the school opens. The first year of a high school is always critical as it always requires lot of planning sessions and meetings to ensure smooth operation. So it is better if the teachers are trained beforehand.

Stay Updated

It is considered useful if the owner becomes a part of regional or national level associations for privately held high schools because of the resources on offer as well as the chances for networking. It is better to attend conferences and other events right from the start as it guarantees a great lot of visibility.

Attracting Students

This is an important part of the school business. There are several ways in which entrepreneurs can attract students for their school:
  • Providing scholarships
  • Providing residential facilities
  • Setting up exchange programs with other top schools in the region or outside the country if possible
  • Providing sports, arts, or music training programs
  • Providing recruitment opportunities upon graduation
  • Providing vocational programs search to find out which products or keywords can be helpful for affiliate marketing and then promote them through their websites or articles.

List of leading high schools in India

  • Cathedral and John Cannon School, Mumbai
  • Campion School, Mumbai
  • Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi
  • National Public School, Indiranagar, Bangalore
  • Mallya Aditi International School, Bangalore
  • Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai
  • The Mother’s International School, New Delhi
  • Padma Seshadri Bala Bhawan Senior Secondary School, Nungambakkam, Chennai
  • Springdales School, Dhaula Kuan, New Delhi
  • DAV Boys Senior Secondary School, Chennai

Last Updated on May 15, 2015