By Sheena Joseph
“India, China and Brazil are the focus now. We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in these markets.”
As a part of a crucial business agreement of about Rs 577 crore, Pearson, the leader in the worldwide publishing industry and the owner of the Financial Times newspaper has acquired Tutor Vista, the leading online tutoring company. With this, Pearson has gained control of over 76% stake in TutorVista. The deal has been touted as the biggest business deal in the history of India's education segment. “This acquisition – which we believe is the largest transaction in education in India by any company – signals our excitement about the vitality of India's education sector,” said Pearson's chief executive Marjorie Scardino.
The acquisition will further expand Pearson's business in the education services in India and in global online tutoring. Pearson has rapid expansion plans in Asia and Latin America, as expressed by John Makinson, chairman of Pearson, “India, China and Brazil are the focus now. We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in these markets.” The transformation of Pearson from a purely paper based book publishing sector towards becoming a leading education technology provider has proved greatly advantageous and enabled them to gain markets in North America and expand rapidly.
Tutor Vista was founded in 2005 by Krishnan Ganesh and is a leading online tutoring company in the world, providing affordable and high quality education to thousands of students globally. Pearson had earlier held approximately 17% stake in TutorVista. “TutorVista was started to provide affordable education services and content globally. Together with Pearson, the world's leading education company, we can make this happen even faster and enable millions of students to achieve their educational goals. TutorVista already has presence as the largest consumer online tutoring company and with the help of Pearson, we will now have an opportunity to take our high quality tutoring to schools and colleges directly,” said Krishnan Ganesh.
The education sector in India is garnering renewed attention from foreign companies and huge investments are being attracted in education services, technology and infrastructure.
Tutor Vista has more than 800 employees and a roster of 2000 tutors. Its main activities have included providing online tutoring services to about 10,000 students principally in North America. It uses Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol and online whitebards to connect instructors in India with school and college students abroad. In the K12 segment, it provides a full suite of services including curriculum design, teacher training, technology solutions and school administration services to several schools in India. Additionally, it also provides test preparation and tutoring services to a network of 60 centres across southern India. TutorVista reaches out to the Indian market through Manipal K12 education, formerly known as Edurite Technologies. Founded in 2000, Edurite provides digital content for school curriculum to teachers, students, parents and administrators. Edurite has been leading the field of technology enabled education in India. It is currently functional in 60 centres in southern India and provides tutorial services in English language meant for higher education entrance examinations and additional tutorial services for students in the K12 sector. Edurite provides ICT enabled content to several schools across southern India and also manages administration of 19 schools.
The acquisition would imply that TutorVista's online tutoring services will be amalgamated into Pearson's education and digital services, and will be sold to schools and higher education institutions globally. For Edurite, it implies that Pearson's educational content would be promoted and used by schools managed by Edurite in India.