Hippocampus Learning Centres

Education Startup50

For its business model of delivering high-quality early childhood education to poor rural communities at scale through a financially self-sustainable model.

Hippocampus Learning Centre’s (HLC) business model is a demonstration of how to deliver high-quality early childhood education to poor rural communities. Funded by Unitus Capital, Khosla Ventures, Asian Development Bank and Lok Capital, it has as its key design principle – affordability and sustainability. To achieve affordability, HLC has designed its intervention, including curriculum and training, at very low costs. The fee per child is affordable for a large section of the population. This fee enables the centres to become self-sustainable by the third year of operation.

Local women with 12 years of schooling, soft skills and the ability to provide care to children are trained to be effective teachers. To ensure consistent levels of learning across centres, the teachers are trained on a monthly basis and are aided with daily teaching plans. The curriculum ensures that the children are able to achieve defined learning outcomes on a monthly basis.

In 2015, the HLC operated 213 centres, serving 8000 students with 650 teachers.

HLC has several strategies for building centre leaders to bring more administrative efficiency and create a cohesive unit in a village, where all programs are run efficiently under the supervision of a leader. The company also appoints mentors; whose primary role is to manage and mentor leaders of 5-10 centers within a 5-15 km radius.


Three years from now, HLC aims to educate 50,000 children in rural India. 

Project Finland: HLC has branded one of its internal goals ‘Project Finland’, since the program aims to educate more children than the population of Finland. 

It aims to demonstrate improved learning in children at scale, which will help shape policies around early childhood education in emerging economies.

Meera Srikant has been working with publishers and publications since 1993, writing and editing articles, features and stories across topics. She also blogs and writes poems, novels and short stories during leisure. Writing for The Smart CEO since 2010, she is also a classical dancer.

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