Business-format franchising is booming in most developed and developing countries worldwide and in most sectors of activity, including retailing and services and, more recently, in the social sector. This corresponds to the application of the main principles of franchising in various social sectors, such as education, healthcare, energy provision and water purification in African, Asian, and South American countries.
One of the sectors gaining prominence is the education sector. This has become particularly important in countries where public education is hampered by lack of funds and inefficiency in administration. As part of a broader research program dedicated to franchising in the social sector, we investigated how franchising works in the education sector with a particular focus on the Pakistani market.
There are 22 education franchises active in Pakistan. Some examples of established franchise chains are The Educators with 700 franchised campuses in 212 cities and villages with 175,000 students, Allied Schools with 730 franchised campuses in 243 cities and villages with 195,000 students, and Dar-e-Arqam with 525 franchised campuses in 164 cities and villages with 150,000 students.
Through a series of 43 interviews with franchisors, franchisees, employees/teachers, parents, and students, we set out to gather information on the background of franchising in education in Pakistan, what attracted franchisors and franchisees to these businesses, and what parents and students thought about the education these franchised schools were providing in terms of quality, price, and other key aspects.
The emergence of franchising in the education sector in Pakistan results from the perceived limitations of the public school system to accommodate a broad section of the population and from its lack of resources, which affects the quality of education offered by the government.
A franchisee explained that, contrary to public schools, the success of the franchised schools is based on their efficient use of resources. One parent expressed his satisfaction with the franchised schools, saying that he preferred them "because they offer excellent teaching services at a low-cost fee, which is indeed a very attractive feature for all parents. They use impressive advanced teaching and learning techniques that public schools are not using at all." A student maintained that when comparing franchised schools to public schools "without any...