Friday, June 29, 2007

Education sector requirements - big business opportunity

This morning I came across a copy of Education World – Special Directory, January, 2007. The publishers call it “path-breaking first-of-its-type special directory.” The stated objective is to make “a platform available for the country’s top institutional needs suppliers to inform prospective schools about their excellent products and services.”

This sector could very well be what the editorial calls the last frontier of the Indian economy. Look at the enormous volume – 900,000 primary and 133,000 secondary schools, 17,700 colleges, 344 universities, 950 management schools, over a hundred ‘international’ schools, 120 million students, 5 million teachers! And the outlay? Over 110,000 crores, (say nearly US$ 27.5 billions?) This amount might double in the next three years. (All figures except the US$ conversion are from Education World.)

What are the needs of the educational sector? Anything from pencils to school buses. Education World lists them: desks, chairs, blackboards, audio-visual learning systems, personal computers, air conditioning, laundry, kitchen and water cooling [and purification] systems; classroom equipment such as text and notebooks, black and white boards, pens, pencils etc and consumables such as convenience foods, toiletries and snack-foods, beverages and fruits and vegetables. Items like uniforms, school bags umbrellas are not mentioned, but they too are part of the requirement.

It would appear that a major portion of this market is being catered to by local or regional small enterprises. According to Education World, “Invariably the quality of supplies is uneven and variable.”

What I feel is that the field is so vast that it can accommodate all kinds and sizes of players – from household enterprises to big companies. With India’s focus on literacy and the huge volume, this is a segment that is bound to grow rapidly. The present trend is for parents to provide better education to their children than what they had. And the schools, particularly in the private sector, are constantly improving in quality.


Also see:

Back to The School

Autobiography of a School

No comments: