Crunching numbers, reconciling balance sheets, and organising financial documents were the life of our group’s founder, Mdm Cici Koh, over 30 years ago. Originally trained as an accountant, she soon found the day-to-day tasks repetitive and lacking a deeper purpose. She wanted to search for something more meaningful – something with the power to positively impact others in the society.
That was when she decided to leave the accounting industry and started her journey in education.
Shortly after vernacular schools ceased in Singapore and when all schools transited teaching and learning in the English language, Mdm Koh recognised the importance of keeping the Chinese heritage alive and in 1992, she started a business to provide speech and drama programmes as well as Chinese enrichment programmes to preschools and Primary schools across Singapore. As she started to increasingly interact with preschools and young children in the 1990s, it dawned on her that there was a gap in the market in the provision of quality preschool education.
Coupled with her newly-minted status as a mother, she believed that children were the future and it was important to inculcate positive values and provide quality education to a highly impressionable child. It is at this age where they learn at a fast pace and absorb information, skills, and knowledge like a sponge. It was also at this point in time where she felt that the programmes available in the market were unable to fully equip a child for the future. This compelled her to do something to improve how preschools were managed and enhance the programmes available for preschoolers. With that in mind, she envisioned young children to be moulded with the right values and have access to engaging and interesting programmes from a tender young age.
That sparked her foray into the preschool sector in 1995 when she opened her first preschool at Alphabet Playhouse @ Dublin. She invested in having a wondrous environment for children to learn and play and took time to recruit passionate and dedicated educators. Each of her 4 sons also became students and graduates of Alphabet Playhouse.
Behind the scenes, she soon found that managing and maintaining the quality of a preschool business is certainly not easy. Through her involvement in handling numerous operational issues, she became experienced and adept at solving problems. At the same time, she sought to continually improve the processes and standard operating procedures in order to deliver better quality experiences to the children and their families.
With the experience she amassed, she wasn’t content at stopping at one preschool as her vision was to spread quality education to more families across the island. She also acknowledged that her teachers would have limited career advancement opportunities should she keep to a single preschool structure. She knew and wanted to do more for her staff.
That sparked her to set up more preschools in the following years. In 2003, a preschool in Bukit Batok was added, followed by 4 more preschools in Kovan, Jurong East and Choa Chu Kang between 2004 and 2005. By 2011, the group grew to a network of over 15 preschools and the Global Eduhub Headquarters entity was established to provide centralised support functions to fuel the further growth of the group. Today, the group has grown to manage over 50 school operations across Singapore, China, Australia, and Panama and has expanded into a diversified educational group, with related businesses in enrichment, educational publications, teacher training, and corporate programmes.