Helping Singaporeans Speak Good English
Since 1981, Veta, Asia’s largest Spoken English Training Academy, has successfully trained more than 2.2 million students in over 200 centres all over India, owing to a simple yet comprehensive course materials taught by specially trained faculty. Eager to expand in South East Asia, Amoha Education (P) Ltd., owner of this illustrious English training brand. It opened an international office in Singapore in early 2008 and was fittingly awarded the International Franchisor of the Year Award by FLA in 2009 – an astonishing achievement for a company that made a foray into Singapore not more than a year. Franchise Asia spoke to Mani Rajagopalan, Director of Amoha Learning Solutions (P) Ltd., to learn more about Veta’s ambitious overseas expansion plans.
Veta is Asia’s largest English training academy. Is it in terms of the number of students taught, the number of centres, the revenue achieved or selection of courses?
Veta has been in the business since 1981. That’s almost 30 years of accumulated experience, which means we are among one of the longest serving private companies in India. Over the years we have successfully trained 2.2 million students of all age group, from all walks of life through our 250 centres in more than 100 cities scattered all over India. Currently we have around 50,000 students enrolled in any of the eight courses that we offer, with some centres having more than 500 students. In terms of course, we provide the largest course contents in 16 different languages in India.
Being Asia’s largest English training academy, size surely would have given Veta the competitive advantage. However being the largest could pose an issue on quality and consistency relating to course delivery. How does Veta manage this?
Operating since 1981, we have built on a strong brand presence in every major city in India. We have thrived hard to create brand value and we are proud to say that we have no strong competitors as yet. Since we started small initially, we have made progressive improvements to our delivery systems to stay in tune with the needs of our students. As for quality control, we emphasise company owned to franchisee owned on a 2:5 ratio, where out of five franchise centres, two are company owned.
As for systematic course delivery, all our centres optimises on a system called CET (Computer Enabled Training) where all our lessons are delivered through one core server to avoid course duplication from our head-quarters in Chennai. For instance, we opened a Veta centre recently in Colombo, Sri Lanka. When this centre starts a batch, we will give them an access link to our server that is valid for only two months, just enough time to complete a course. Once the course is completed, access is denied. Our 13 regional trainers, and territory managers under them ensure that our teaching methodologies are relevant with the times. We hold tutor convergence every two months where we observe the trainers, retrain them and conduct refresher courses to maintain their standard.
As for franchise operations, we have a system called FMIS (Franchising Management Information System) in place for efficient management of receipts, payments and so on.
It is also mentioned that Veta’s English language curriculum is scientifically designed. How is this so?
With more than 30 years of experience, we understand our students’ mindset, which has changed over time, quite well. We constantly update our course curriculum to meet their needs and equip them with the essential knowledge that we believe will be important for them in the future. To ensure this, we have a dedicated R&D team spearheaded by our own Chairman to constantly analyse, fine tune and deliver programmes that are up-to-date to the evolving needs of the market.
Surely you have identified an untapped niche in the local Singapore market that led you to open a centre here. Can you share it with us?
Our main aim is to open an international centre with a two-pronged aim. Firstly, we believe as an acclaimed spoken English academy, we sensed an opportunity to offer our services to the ‘Speak Good English Movement’ that the Singapore government is emphasising on. Secondly, Singapore, being South East Asia’s prime financial and business hub was the ideal springboard for us to expand our network to other countries in the region, like China, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and others.
There are other English language academies in Singapore. How does Veta stand out from the rest to attract interested franchisees?
We adopt a bilingual approach where we have a Chinese tutor teaching English to Chinese students, or an Indian tutor teaching Indian students. In our experience, we find such method to be more efficient in helping students learn English. This is different from other English language centres where native English speaking tutor training local students. Also to maintain a close tutor-student rapport and interaction, we keep our students number to maximum 15 persons per class.
Veta was awarded the International Franchisor of the Year 2009 by Franchising & Licensing Association (FLA) in Singapore. Can you share with us the one deciding factor for Veta to stand out from the rest in achieving this prestigious award?
Over the past 28 years, Veta has grown widely in all aspects and has been accepted as the preferred institute to learn spoken English by people not only in India, but also across the globe. We strongly believe our consistency in delivering the course professionally through the years was instrumental in us winning the award.
At this point, I also would like to underline what our Managing Director, Ganesh Ram has said about us winning the award, that we are extremely delighted at being awarded this prestigious recognition in a very short time of one year of our presence in Singapore. Being acknowledged as the International Franchisor of The Year makes us proud of having brought our services to Singapore and creating the need for quality English.
Amoha Learning Solutions, the Singapore franchisee, has set an ambitious target to have 1,000 centres in the South Asian countries including Singapore, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Hong Kong and China by 2010. How close is Amoha in achieving this plan?
We are already half way through. We have just appointed a master franchisee for Malaysia and Thailand. We have opened around 16 centres in Sri Lanka while still evaluating a few UAE master franchisee applicants. We are also fine tuning our plans of moving into China.
What qualifications does Veta require from potential franchisees? Must franchisee be equipped with English language teaching certifications, e.g. TESL, etc. to operate a Veta language centre or can investors buy a Veta franchise and engage qualified teachers to deliver the courses?
Certainly someone with good business skills can apply to become our franchisee, and in turn employ English tutors to disseminate our teaching methodology. All master franchisees need to attend an obligatory 15-day induction process in India. We are extremely keen in capturing the Chinese market in Singapore, and in line of achieving this; we have applied to the Singapore Workforce Development Agency to be endorsed as an official English language training provider. As Asia’s largest spoken English training academy, we are confident that we can provide the knowledge and skills to meet the changing needs of Singapore’s economy. global.com
For more inormation on Veta, visit www.vetaglobal.com.sg or contact Mani Rajagopalan at +65-6334 6003 / email firstname.lastname@example.org.