How Extramarks plans to capture the tuition market

Thomas P Abraham Chennai | Updated on November 30, 2014


Firm leveraging affordable technology to help students study independently

Atul Kulshrestha, Chairman and Managing Director of technology-enabled learning company Extramarks, says the company is different from other e-education players in the field.

It tries to create an engaging child-centric, teaching-learning environment to make learning easy and effective in the classroom and at home, he says. Reliance Industries holds a 38 per cent stake in the Delhi-based company which employs over 1,300 on direct rolls and another 2,000 on contract. In an interview with BusinessLine, Kulshrestha shares his plans for the company’s growth and views on the education sector in the country. Edited excerpts:

What is Extramarks Live? Walk us through this recently-launched product.

Extramarks Live is our latest contribution to the education space. It is a class on-the-go.

After a successful foray into school digital learning solutions, our natural move into the after-school space completes the circle. Extramarks Live enables students to learn at their own pace and space. It is designed for deep immersive learning and involves mentor support wherever needed. Through Extramarks Live we have leveraged on technology, which is affordable, to make students independent learners without the support of tuitions or classes.

How different is Extramarks from other solutions providers?

The basic differentiator for Extramarks would be the fact that content has been developed after considerable research from across the best education practices across the globe.

Clear differentiators would be as follows: We offer a 360° learning solution, where the student can ‘learn, practice and test’ oneself

The content is precisely mapped to the curriculum, which no one other than us can offer.

Our content is aligned to boards such as CBSE, ICSC and different state boards

We possess virtual laboratories where students can carry out practical experiments on a digital platform

Which are the key markets for your growth?

India, South Africa, Middle East and South East Asian countries are the markets where we are focused on, for now. We are present in Kuwait and UAE in the Middle East, besides South Africa. We are now entering Malaysia.

What changes do you foresee in the education sector?

One of the biggest changes would be the adoption of technology in classrooms but the outcome of this change is what will set the foundation of the teaching and learning process in future.

Classrooms will now be made available anytime-anywhere and will also allow students to collaborate globally. Students are likely to adopt technology for their learning requirements and will become independent learners using this global platform.

In India, where the government is promoting digital programmes, students will now have access to the best learning solutions online.

What is your market size in the digital learning space?

We have two types of products — one focused on schools and the other on students. In India, we have an immediate market of about 2,50,000 schools for adoption of technology in classrooms, which translates to about 5 million class rooms, of which only about 1,50,000 have been converted to tech-enabled ones. This leaves a huge unfilled gap. The potential value of this market is $1 billion.

Similarly, the market for after-school study, or for example, online tutoring is also huge, and largely unorganised. Various estimates suggest that in India about 160 million students take tuitions (after-school study), making it an overall market size of about $17 billion.

How is education changing in India?

There is a paradigm shift in the teaching and learning processes and the classrooms which have not changed for centuries are adopting the changes, particularly with regard to adoption of technology. Rapidly evolving technology outside school is also forcing schools to adopt technology in classrooms. There is a lot of change happening in the government’s approach towards implementation of technology in schools.

Another change which is negligible as of now but is quite noticeable is that many schools now offer IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum. This is probably to avoid the “trust” and “not-for-profit” structure which is compulsory for CBSE/ICSE curriculum. This is likely to put pressure on the government to allow an open policy towards educational institutes.

What has been your strategy in reaching out to international markets?

We have tie-ups with global majors like IBM to use the cloud to deliver our services and are in the process of tying up with a global devices giant which would offer our solutions in tablets.

Published on November 30, 2014

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