Privatization and Education

Every sector of Noida around my residence has good private schools for up to Class XII- Kothari International, Khaitan, Ramagya, Ryan International, Millennium, and many more such as Amity, DPS, Cambridge, Bal Bharati, DAV, Army, Lotus Valley in sectors at some distance. Whenever I drive around Noida to Haridwar, Bulandsahar, or Agra, I find scores of private professional colleges on both sides of the highways. According to Dr. Kavindra Rai of BHU who visited me recently after admitting Ishita, his daughter in mechanical engineering of IEC College of Engineering, Greater Noida has 200 private professional institutes. Almost all over India, one can notice this development. As estimated, India in private sector has 140 medical colleges with a total students’ capacity of 70,000, 1,200 engineering colleges with 1,440,000 students capacity and 300 schools of business management with students’ capacity of 90,000.

Here are some data on private education sector:

·India’s 75,000 private schools account for just 7 per cent of total institutions and enroll 90 million students. About 129 million go to public schools. 142 million students are still not in the system. Is it not a great challenge and potential business?

·India has nearly 370 universities and 18,000 colleges, 500,000 teachers and the third-largest system in terms of enrolment with more than 10 million students. India certainly needs more as Japan with its nearly 128 million people, has 684 universities, and USA with 300 million people has 2,364 universities. NKC has recommended 1500 universities.

·According to analysts estimate, the education industry-Kindergarten up to Standard XII (called K-12, for short), coaching classes, business schools, etc.- to be worth $40 billion, with a potential 16 per cent fiveyear CAGR as per the CLSA report.

···1. The marker size of the pre-school level (i.e., for children aged between two years and four years) is estimated at around $900 million.
···2. The primary education business is valued at $20 billion.
···3. At least 20 million children take some form of tuition outside the classroom.

·As per an estimate, the demand for the paraphernalia around education is huge: textbooks (worth $2 billion annually), stationery ($1.3 billion) and learning aids such as CD-ROMs ($120 million) all recording exponential growth.

·As the wired classroom is going to transform education in the years ahead, analysts estimate its market to worth $30 million at present and with the potential to be an $800-million market. Interactive whiteboards, appliances for assessment, laptops, Internet, and related accessories are in huge demand. Business houses, startups, NGOs, and many are trying to cash on the rise of education.

·The preparation institutes for students wanting admission in IITs, MBAs, medical colleges and civil services are pulling in $1.7 billion a year.

·The market for vocational training soar is estimated to be worth $1.4 billion a year.

·Training for BPOs is another area of demand with a $40 million potential.

·PE and VCs last year invested more than $90 million in Indian education companies, against the $17.5 million they invested in 2006.

·According to the CLSA report estimates that over the next four years (i.e., 2012), the entire education space would be worth nearly $70 billion (some predict it to be of $170 billion), with nearly 40 per cent of the urban children going to pre-schools and some 90,000 private K-12 schools. Among colleges, there would be an addition of 800 engineering, 300 MBA and 60 medical schools in the country.

Education is big market. Many private companies have come up to fill the gaps in education sector and going is so good that many aspire to be at least a billion dollar big in the next few years. StudyPlaces, Tutor Vista, Brainvisa, Career Launcher, New Horizons, India and Everonn systems are some of them. Manipal Group, Amity, Rai University and many have become mass scale graduate manufacturing companies. Fund raising is no problem. And these companies are investing impressively. Educomp Solutions is looking to invest around Rs 800 crore. New Horizons is aiming to put in Rs 100 crore.

All good teachers with a little entrepreneurship mindset can go for tutoring on line. Tutor Vista, set up in 2005 has now 800 teachers across 29 Indian cities and has over 10,000 students on board.

Established companies such as Infosys, HCL, and many are having huge facilities to train the employees. Some are tying up with ITIs and colleges to provide specialized skill training. But professional skills development companies are also emerging perhaps mushrooming.

Technology is assisting education in many ways to deliver better education to the children. NGOs are helping to improve the quality of teaching in schools away from the metros.

The whole task of educating and skilling India’s human resources presents huge potentials for teachers, scientists, technocrats and entrepreneurs. But the numbers at the bottom of the pyramid being largest, the solutions are to be innovative and affordable, IIT and IISc are working on a Rs 400 or $10 laptop beside Anil Ambani Group getting into ‘one laptop for every child’ initiative. The wave must cover all habitations, and also include those in higher age group who had not been lucky enough in their childhood.

There is hope of brighter days- Tamaso maa jyotirgamaya

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