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Sylvan Learning Corporation Merges With Computer-Training Firm

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Sylvan Learning Corporation, which operates 475 supplemental-learning centers across the United States and Canada, has merged with kee Systems Inc., a workplace-based computer-training and software company.

The merged company has been renamed Sylvan kee Systems, with separate divisions for the Sylvan and kee operations, officials said. The company will be based in Columbia, Md., the headquarters of kee Systems. Sylvan will move its headquarters staff from its current base in Montgomery, Ala.

The merger was announced March 6. Kinder-Care Learning Centers Inc., Sylvan's former parent company, traded Sylvan for a 50 percent interest in the merged venture. Kinder-Care has been struggling in recent months to pay off its creditors. (See Education Week, Jan. 30, 1991.) Two kee executives have become the top managers of the merged company. Chris Hoehn-Saric is the president of the Sylvan kee partnership and of the kee division. Douglas Becker is the executive vice president of the partnership and president and chief executive officer of the Sylvan division.

F. Eugene Montgomery, Sylvan's president and ceo, left the company following the merger.

Bigger Role for Computers

Sylvan owns 35 of its Sylvan Learning Centers and franchises the remaining 440.

The storefront and office centers offer after-school remedial and enrichment instruction in reading, mathematics, writing, college-admission test preparation, and study skills. Sylvan and its franchisees employ more than 5,000 certified teachers, who provide individualized instruction at a three-to-one pupil-teacher ratio. Sylvan, founded in 1979, had revenues last year of 70 million, officials said. It is the largest competitor in a field with two other major national chains--American Learning Corporation's Britannica Learning Centers and Huntington Learning Corporation's Huntington Learning Centers. (See Education Week, Feb. 27, 1991.)

Kee Systems, founded in 1968, provides computer training and testing software programs for the workplace. It also operates training centers for users of personal computers, under agreements with computer sellers such as nynex Business Centers, Tandy Corporation, and Computer land of Canada, officials said.

"We are very excited at bringing kee's product-development abilities" to Sylvan's expertise in teach teaching basic skills, Mr. Becker said.

"We are interested in making technology play a bigger role in the Sylvan centers" through computers and software, he added.

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