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A Market Opportunity in Education



Education in IndiaThis blog post has been contributed by Aparna Sanjay.
I noticed large ads in the Delhi papers recently, touting the opening of 2 new Shiv Nadar Schools, in Noida and Gurgaon. Yes these are the education hotspots in NCR nowadays. Getting admissions into Delhi schools has become such a nightmare that Delhi parents do not mind (or, to be more precise, they are forced to) enrolling their children in Gurgaon/Noida/Faridabad/Ghaziabad schools, with all the commuting hassles that it entails.
I was excited to see this particular ad as I am familiar with the work of the Shiv Nadar Foundation and I mistakenly assumed that they have opened schools for that very underserved section of society which is aware for the need for high-quality education,  cock a snook at government schools, willing to scrimp and save to send their children to private English-medium schools, but sadly have very few options in terms of privately-run education that produces credible results.
Take my maid, for example. All told, she makes about 6000 pm. Her husband makes about the same. Given the fact that they have 3 kids, live in high-rent Gurgaon, and have various family obligations back home in Bihar, their savings are nothing to speak of. Her eldest son is a child of 8, and she hopes to enroll him in DPS (Delhi Public School) under the EWS (economically weaker section) category.
In an ideal world, the government education machinery would be good enough to accommodate her kids. I personally am against the duplication of any such pre-existing setup and the establishment of a parallel school network. However, we all know we do not live in an ideal world/country and in the meantime, there is an entire generation of kids whose potential and talent is simply being squandered because of the limitations and constraints of the system. So, even taking the step of keeping the social aspects aside for the moment and concentrating only on the profits which could accrue to the greedy capitalist (!), I think here is a terrific market opportunity here.
An opportunity for establishing a chain of good, cheap schools which cater to the market segment which is far above the poverty line but cannot afford high-priced private schools. A market segment in between municipal schools and shady private schools on one hand, and the bastions of upper middle-class India on the other.
Such schools do exist, here and there in isolation. But it needs the deep pockets and the organizational acumen of the likes of corporate foundations to invest in a chain of such schools across India. It can be run as a pure for-profit model. No handouts required. Affordable education, anyone??

Also Check out School Finder

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ParentEdge is a bi-monthly magazine for discerning Indian parents who would like to actively contribute to their children’s education, intellectual enrichment and stimulation. The magazine’s premise is that learning is a continuous process, and needs to happen both in and outside of school; thus parents have an important role to play in shaping their children’s interests and intellect.


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