A learning education company, Educomp Solutions has grown over the years a pure education company today, pioneering in digital content, online tutoring, ICT in Education, and many more, through management of learning, content creation and delivery of learning all around the globe. And the man reckoned as the global learning enabler, Shantanu Prakash, the Managing Director of Educomp Solutions, makes education the vision and mission of his life.
For Shantanu Prakash, education in India is a INR 10,000 Cr business to tap!
“In a country currently 1,50,000 schools short, you need to encourage more private capital to come into the sector, so that more infrastructure can be developed. Yet for historical reasons education has always been considered a non profit. We as a for-profit company, certainly look at education as a business, and bring in all the efficiency of the best practices and processes to education industry, starting from the content creation, till delivery. Being for profit enables us to sharply focus on results and the educational ROI to students, Shantanu says.
True! Then why only INR 10,000 Cr? What about nurturing this business further?
India spends about 5% of its GDP in education and this is a number that is still lower if compared to other countries, where as countries like Thailand or Indonesia have 6-8% of their GDP spending in education. If India reaches to that level, then not INR10,000 Cr, but 100,000 Cr business opportunities will be created for India, envisions Shantanu.
Shantanu Prakash, the Managing Director of Educomp Solutions Limited founded the company in 1994. He is well known as a thought leader in the education technology space. He founded Deumatics Corporation USA in 2001, and Lakshya Digital Pvt. Ltd. a game development company in 2004. He is also the managing trustee of Learning Leadership Foundation a non-profit working in the areas of bringing best practices in education to schools in India
Today Educomp Solutions, which is growing at over 100% annually over the past 3 years, with ten offices in India, a fully owned subsidiary in the US and more than 1000 employees, presence in over 2,000 schools in more than 30 cities across India has scaled up to creation, management and delivery of content for the school education system in a big way. Though the visionary man is not thinking of diversifying beyond schools, today Educomp’s technology solutions cover the whole gamut of education starting from multimedia based curriculum content to teacher training for technology and pedagogy, custom content in regional languages, education portals, and online tutoring. Shantanu does not forget to add, however, ‘We are the largest digital content company, and the largest professional development company. We are into Education Process Outsourcing too. And recently we have ventured into pre-school initiative- Root to wing, for basic education.’
This is adding to the fact of Educomp recently acquiring 76 per cent stake in ThreeBrix E-Services, a company that owns ‘The Learning Hour’ tutoring service and was started in 2005 by three IIM – Ahmedabad graduates, and also has gained quick success in e-Tutoring service in the Middle East and Dubai markets.
‘The acquisition of ThreeBrix is part of our move to get into the value added part of the education business. A part of the education business happening outside classroom too, through tutoring. ThreeBrix is into e-Tutoring, and we believe online tutoring has a vast potential in near future. By this acquisition, we can jump and tap the online tutoring market more conveniently.’
The company eyes on the Indian market for providing its e-Tutoring service, although it sees the US as an important market for its digital contents. And why not? India’s tremendous potential is visible through its 220 million student learners! The size of the instructor led tutoring market is over INR 5,000 crore in India.
Here is a critical view that Shantanu added. ‘We want to bring in an enduring understanding; understanding the fundamental concept behind any learning. Tutoring is the area where we are trying to expand. Instead of tutoring we rather use the word supplemental educational service. By tutoring we supplement teaching outside the classroom.’
“Preschool education is another area of expansion for us. And online education is the third expansion area. ‘Mathguru’ is the example of that expansion.”
The maths help programme ‘Mathguru’ hits a massive success with 10000 students as registered users across India. With this, Educomp is all set to launch probably the country’s first online science tutor – ‘Scienceguru’, a unique model to help students to learn about science subjects as per their school curriculum over the next 6 months.
How does the company read the minds of the students? How does Educomp’s educational services cater to different learning styles of the students? What gives the company the impetus to venture into such services and products, that matches the student needs? ‘No, we don’t read their minds’, Shantanu contradicts.
‘We don’t need to! CBSE data gives a clear information of the fail percentage of the students in subjects like Maths. CBSE does not prescribe how we should teach; they have only laid the curriculum. It is we who decide how to make teaching effective. And we understand, we should not allow rope learning. A multi-sensory environment for student education can break the learning barriers.’
‘We want to bring in an enduring understanding; understanding the fundamental concept behind any learning. Tutoring is the area where we are trying to expand. Instead of tutoring we rather use the word supplemental educational service. By tutoring we supplement teaching outside the classroom.’
Educomp not only helps building student capacity through technology enhanced learning, it also helps improving teacher competency by providing teacher education. ‘We are the largest teacher training company in India. This year we trained 250,000 teachers in the country. Our focus is very much on the teachers, as we understand, they are the key.’
Any teacher training academy Educomp runs?
‘We don’t have any academy as such’, Shantanu answers. ‘We send the trainers to the schools and there, they train the teachers. We have a programme called QuEST – Quality Education for Schools and Teachers, through which we take care of both the pedagogy as well as the technology aspects.’ So, with all these diversified services taking Educomp to the No 1 position, does Shantanu see a competitor in the education services market?
We are also the largest teacher training company in India. This year we trained few lakhs teachers in the country. ‘We send the trainers to the schools and there, they train the teachers. We have a programme called QuEST – Quality Education for Schools and Teachers, through which we take care of both the pedagogy as well as the technology aspects of training’
‘We compete every day. For example, in our Smart_Class project, our competition is not really with other companies. Our competition is with the sluggish school management system.’ Educomp competes for change; And any change needs a fast pace. But never to worry. The company works for well designed learning that can improve the quality of learning. Yet there is a lot of pressure in quick learning too. Educomp thrives with the balancing act between a well designed and a rapidly designed instruction occupying the same space in the education world.
So what does he expect ultimately? The sky is not far up for the man with so many service packages, acquisitions, and expansions. ‘In a recession-proof market that is usually not affected by the external forces, it is not much required to aim and achieve high. Our ROI (Return On Investment) is non-financial, which is more in terms of globally educated and trained talents.’
Digital Learning wishes more ROI, more feathers of success for this learning solution company, and for the man behind its vision, to expand the horizon of growth.