What will be the immediate focus of Pearson after completion of the acquisition of TutorVista?
Our immediate focus after completion of the acquisition process would be to consolidate our investments and ensure their growth by investing more in our core areas of direct delivery and educational products and services. We have been working towards creating customised technological innovations in the areas of school management services, online tutoring, ICT (information and communication technology) solutions, technology-aided coaching classes and test preparation services. We aim to establish ourselves as the leading technology-enabled education services company in India, offering global standards of learning to Indian students at affordable prices.
You will not have the guidance of a reputed entrepreneur like K Ganesh, who has built up the business over the past many years. How do you plan to fill the vacuum?
I have worked very closely with Meena and Krishnan Ganesh for the past six years and it is indeed very difficult to find a replacement for entrepreneurs like them. They were excellent leaders with incredible vision and their presence will definitely be missed.
I believe our business has traversed three phases in the past 13 years. The first phase was conceived when I co-founded Edurite Technologies, an e-learning company which provided content to students through CD-ROMs. The company went on to enjoy high institutional sales in India and abroad, and branched out to the retail and tutorial segments.
The second phase of our journey began when Edurite was acquired by the global online tutoring company, TutorVista. TutorVista’s phenomenal growth story, expansion into various segments of the educational space and subsequent acquisition by Pearson was a propitious sign of our future. We are entering the third phase of the business now as we align ourselves with the global Pearson goals and strategies and focus on achieving aligned objectives rather than entrepreneurial objectives. Being an information technology entrepreneur for the past 20 years, I have been at the helm of all these phases and the inspiring success story of our business. We are further aided by the fantastic leadership we have at Pearson International and the guidance and support of their senior management.
What are the expansion plans in India through TutorVista?
The focus areas for Pearson in India will be, direct delivery and offering a suite of products and services. We currently manage and run 35 schools across India and plan to grow this at a rapid pace. We also are a dominant player in the business of offering technology-enabled products and services to schools and will continue to be active in this segment.
As part of your India focus, will you partner more government schools and agencies to expand your base in the country?
In India, the government is the largest spender on education. We would definitely see a lot of benefit in government schools using our regional language multimedia content and related services. So we will be very keen to ensure that our products especially in regional mediums of instruction reach as many government schools as possible.
Are you planning to diversify into online certification, professional coaching and other e-learning models?
Pearson worldwide is a leader in online certification and assessment and I would be very keen on bringing these best practices and services to India.
As the education sector in the country is growing at a rapid pace, will you be looking more at inorganic route to growth?
Pearson is very clear about the potential of the Indian education system. But it will be premature to comment on anything related to inorganic growth.
Will the TutorVista brand be retained?
TutorVista has achieved significant popularity in the US markets, which we definitely want to capitalise on. So yes, it will be retained.