CEO and MD
Pearson Education Services
Educating 100 million people worldwide, Pearson Education is among the world’s biggest global education companies. In conversation with Meena Ganesh, CEO and MD, Pearson Education Services, Sheena Joseph finds out more about the extensive range of products and services being offered by Pearson and the latest trends in the education sector
Pearson Education Services has three main players including: Pearson, Tutor Vista and Edurite. Could you give us a brief background of the company?
Pearson Education Services is part of Pearson, a global education, media and publishing group, represented by market-leading businesses such as the Pearson Education, Financial Times and Penguin. Pearson is the world’s leading education company that helps educate more than 100 million people worldwide – more than any other private enterprise. Pearson Education Services (PES) provides end-to-end education solutions in the K-12 segment, with a focus on technological innovations. Being a part of Pearson, PES aims to seamlessly combine content and technology and offer customised solutions of international standards to audiences not just in India but worldwide.
TutorVista is a leading global online tutoring company set up with the aim of making education accessible and affordable to the masses. In a short time, it has grown to over 20,000 students in 27 countries, mostly in the US. In India, it offers a wide range of solutions and services in the K-12 segment, including ICT solutions for schools and colleges, e-content for supplemental education, learning centres for test preparation and vocational trainingall through the Edurite brand, and school management services.
What are the diverse range ofsolutions being offered by Pearson in the school education sector?
Pearson Education Services (PES) provides end-to-end education solutions in the K-12 segment, with a focus on technological innovations. Being a part of Pearson, PES aims to
seamlessly combine content and technologyand offer customised solutions of international
standards to audiences not just in India but worldwide. PES’s current market offerings include: School management services, by way of which they manage, operate and build high
quality schools across the country that leverage Pearson’s global knowledge and expertise
in the school space; on-line tutoring, that offers quality online tuitions to students across the world at very affordable prices; ICT solutions known as DigiClass, for both schools and higher education institutions by employing the DigitALly application; technology aided coaching classes and test preparation services for various Entrance (CET, AIEEE, IITJEE, AIPMT) and School/Board exams (State, CBSE, ICSE).
Could you elaborate on the EduriteONE, VSAT based Engineering and Medical Prep Programme, recently launched by Pearson?
The EduriteONE, VSAT based programme is an initiative of Pearson Education Services. This is a two-way audio/video interaction that uses the latest technology to enable remote live classrooms, and incorporates comprehensive study materials with the aim of maximising students’ performance in State and ational level entrance examinations. The live sessions are beamed from studios in Bangalore and other major cities which are equipped with the latest audio-video equipment for high quality video broadcast. The VSAT infrastructure, set up in various school premises at various locations, receives the signal and broadcasts it in classrooms in real time. Thus, it allows the students to receive answers to their queries from the subject matter experts immediately. An academic coordinator is also present in case the students have any doubtsThis programme breaks the barriers of location and affordability, making available world-class entrance exam coaching to students across all areas in the country.
Pearson Education Services has partnered with Government schools in Rajasthan forprovision of ICTs in education. What aret he other ventures of Pearson in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode?
School education is the biggest thrust area identified by the Ministry f Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India and with Right to Education (RTE) becoming a fundamental right. We are also contributing our bit in this by engaging with the government in addressing school education needs. We provide end to end solutions in the school education space by deploying state of the art educational content and associated services. The domains that we are focusing within this space are primarily ICT Projects, SSA (Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan) Projects, RMSA (Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan) Projects, multimedia educational content deployment and teachers’ training projects in governmentschools. We have closely worked with the Government of Karnataka in the prestigious Mahiti Sindhu Project where in we provided our services in 1238 government schools and have also engaged with the Government of Punjab and Sikkim in school intervention programmes with educational content deployment & investigative studies in order to improve enrollments in government schools. We are presently executing ICT BOOT project in 450 secondary schools and Computer Aided Learning Project (CALP) under SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan) in 1672 schools spread across 22 districts in the state of Rajasthan. Pearson Education Services has provided education solutions to well known corporate houses as well. We have successfully implemented their CSR initiatives in the Education space especially in rural India and have, through these projects, impacted over 12000 schools and over 1 million students. Yes, PPP is important in the current educational context because while the government has access, the private players can add a lot of value through their expertise and infrastructure.
What are your views on the extent of ICT integration on schools across India. Do you think that the government of India gives adequate importance to ICTs in Education?
The K-12 sector is exhibiting a lot of promise andis expanding at a very good rate. Thus, this is the right time to invest. However, the rate of ICT integration across India is still a little slow and what we need right now is a combined effort along with the government.An intervention from the government, in terms of setting up government assisted schools would go a long way in reaching out to potential students through ICT in classrooms. Perhaps the 40% dependency on private institutions would also decrease, making way for the emergence of revered and respected government institutions.
How important is faculty training in the use of ICTs? Do you think that teachers’ in India re adequately trained in the use of ICTs?
Faculty training is most important in the use of ICTs because these tools have been made to assist the teachers in the classrooms and not replace them. It is essential for them to be well versed in its use to ensure that the students benefit the most from it. Pearson Education Services provides complete training to teachers through the Teacher Training and Certification programme. With the objective of maximising benefits of the DigiClass solution to the school, we provide a comprehensive teacher training, assessment and certification programme, which leverages Pearson’s global education standards and techniques. Teachers can take the assessment exams online as well through the link that is provided. All those who complete the programme successfully are awarded with a Pearson certificate.
Does Pearson also provide services to theHigher Education sector? If so, could you elaborate further on this?
Yes, Pearson Education Services does provide services to the Higher Education sector through our product DigiClass Pro. Right now, we are present in the Engineering field with plans to expand to Medical soon. Over 50 Engineering colleges are currently using this solution. DigiClass Pro is a multimedia enabled teaching tool that empowers Lecturers / Professors to teach Subjects with multiple interactive aids, which in turn engages the students and creates interest thereby improving their understanding and retention which results in improved results. It is complete with omprehensive training to Lecturers/Professors on using ICT Tools and support services to guide the college in the introduction of ICT and adaptation of newer ways of Classroom teaching and learning.
With skills development being undertaken by the India government on mission mode, does Pearson have any plans of entering the skill development sector?
Yes, Pearson Education Services is already actively contributing to the skill development sector by way of our Teacher Training and Certification Programme. While we are currently working with teachers who are part of schools that use our multimedia based ICT solution DigiClass, there are plans of furthering this initiative to a bigger scale, where we will extend this training to all teachers pan India. While this will benefit the teachers, empowering
them to make concepts clearer and more memorable to students, the end benefit will be reaped by students.