A BESA Q&A with Aditya Gupta, Didactics Association
Given the landslide victory for Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in May, what changes are likely to happen in the education sector as a result? Are there likely to be opportunities for suppliers?
Prime Minister Modi has led his party to an overwhelming majority leading to a continuity of momentum in his government policies and growth trajectory of Indian economy, which is closely associated with growth in education sector too. Some of the key initiatives of the previous government fuelling the growth of this sector are:
- Skill India
- Start-up India
- Digital India
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Save the Girl, Educate the Girl)
In addition to the continuity of the earlier reforms, a huge thrust will be on job creation and employability since this was the agenda where government was slightly on the back foot trying to justify itself during the election campaign. This will lead to an increased investment in ICT and ICT enabled solutions to create larger access and enhanced quality in education and skills sector. This priority focus would open up immense possibilities for service providers to penetrate & expand in the vast Indian Education market.
Some of the new initiatives proposed by the government, after starting their 2nd term, are:
- New National Education Draft policy chaired by the prime minister that gives an equal representation from ministries and eminent educators and shows the commitment and importance for this sector
- Thrust on Study in India programme that puts emphasis on the existing education institutes to upgrade and encourage advancements in order to attract international students
- Expansion of research sector by allocating funds up to USD 3 billion and setting up of the National Research Foundation
- Allocating USD 60 Million for upgrading selected Higher Education institutes to create World class institutions
- To keep expenses of government under control, without effecting the momentum of growth in education, a larger role for private sector investment in K12 & higher education is proposed
- HRD ministry has planned to raise approximately US$ 15.52 billion from private sector in the country to improve infrastructure of education in India
There are over 250 million schoolchildren currently studying in India – over three times the size of the population of the UK. Hence, it is clear that the opportunity for education suppliers is immense. But, equally, it can be hard to know where to start! What advice would you give to a UK supplier looking to engage with the market?
India is a lucrative market for any company looking at expansion in its market. It just requires a focussed approach and target segmentation of the consumer as the scale is pretty overwhelming. Few salient features of Indian education landscape are as follows:
- More than 1.6 million schools (K12 segment)
- Over 330,000 private K-12 schools
- 50,000 + colleges
- More than 900 universities
- 22000+ vocational training centres
- India Education market is expected to reach US$ 180 billion by 2022
India should be considered as ‘a continent’ where each state is a country in itself. Each state in India with different demographics has diverse needs and requirements.
Thus, any fresh entrant or a company would benefit by focussing on specific target segment and not observe the entire country as one market. If required, an organisation should appoint different channel partners for each region or select states in the country.
IDA can support the organisations in identifying & shortlisting the reliable distributors in the market.
India is a huge market for solution providers in education but it has a slow starter and fast mover approach. Working with patience and perseverance and not looking for quick results would be an ideal stance for companies in such a case. It is significant to figure out a correct market entry strategy first and then get a ‘proof of concept’ with a few implementations of the prospective solutions.
The extremely competitive market among educational institutes will trigger the ‘me-too’ effect with Institutes vying for fast procurement and implementation of technological solutions in their institutions.
A much higher proportion of Indian pupils go to private schools compared to the UK should UK education suppliers focus on selling to these?
The private sector in India has grown by leaps and bounds during the last couple of decades in the country. Few prominent features about the growth of private sector in education are as follows:
- The most prominent K-12 schools, which are in highest demand across various states of India, belong to private groups. There are about 3,30,000 private sector schools in India, almost 23% of the total nos of schools in the country
- In the higher education space as well, we can feel the dominance of the private sector with approximately 50% of doctors and 90% of engineers graduating from private institutions
For micro, small and medium enterprises wishing to enter India, following features of the private sector would be lucrative:
- Low hanging fruit with access to funds and intent to invest & grow
- Willingness to compete and adopt new technologies, solutions and trainings
- Quick decision-making and faster action
Once the ‘Proof of Concept’ with acceptance and aggressive adoption is created with institutions in private sector, the companies can envision easier expansion in the public sector institutions also. This would be our general recommendation for most of the companies looking forward for an easier entry and a sustainable growth in the Indian market. However, course of action for each entrant may be case specific.
Didac India returns to Bangalore this September. What are the opportunities in this region for potential UK exhibitors?
Companies looking to expand their business in Asia shall immensely benefit from their presence in Didac India held at Bangalore this year due to its following noticeable features:
- India is centrally located in Asia attracting prominent select distributors from all across Asia
- It is one of the fastest growing economy in the world with a consistent GDP growth of 7, & more, each year
- It is the third largest economy in the world (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity)
- India, having 17% of the world’s population, is reaping the benefits of a young country with 45% people under the age of 25 years
- The country is also the second largest English speaking community in world making it an easy access market for international suppliers
- Massive internet penetration showcases adoption of technology by society and youth population was demonstrated in past few years which places India as:
- Second largest number of internet users in the world
- Second largest smartphone market in the world
- Largest number of Facebook users in the world
All these points depict the growing need and demand for ICT solutions in education to cater the requirements of Education 4.0. India is considered a hub for the region as a strong economic force in Asia. Distributors and channel partners look up to India for solutions in education, which are tried and tested in the diverse landscape of a developing economy. Didac India taking place in Bengaluru (erstwhile Bangalore) also puts a prominent focus on ed-tech as the city is acknowledged as the Silicon Valley of Asia.
Are there particular types of education suppliers from UK best suited to exhibit at Didac India? Where is the greatest demand for education resources at the moment?
According to a report by Google and KPMG, the ed-tech industry of India is poised to attain a growth of approx. USD 2 billion by 2021 as increased numbers of K-12 institutions consume content through technological tools.
Following are few products areas that are in extremely high demand in the sector:
- All technology based products and solutions that can be positioned as a ‘differentiator’ or as an ‘enabler for change’ in the teaching-learning mechanisms of educational institutes
- Various pedagogical advancements and tools including FDP’s, products and training material to up-skill and reskill the existing faculty
- Online courses, blended learning programmes, and self study or enhanced study tools for learners
What would be your top reasons as to why a UK company should exhibit at Didac India?
Any company or brand entering Indian market would want to reach out to a large numbers of educational institutes having substantial purchasing power or to numerous potential distributors in the country. A few alternatives they have to penetrate this lucrative market are extensive research / abundant advertising / face-to-face meetings across the length and breadth of the country.
However, all these choices need large investment of time, effort and money. This is where the role of Didac India becomes significant, as it is most cost-effective and time-effective platform for achieving the following objectives:
- Market Survey
- The market size?
- The nature of competitions that exists in the market?
- The segment that synchronises with their products and solutions?
- Market Feedback
- Feedback from senior management & decision makers (end-buyers) of education establishments about:
- The intent & need to buy
- Capacity to spend & invest?
- Talking to educators (prospective end-users) to find:
- Their willingness to adopt the product or solution
- Usability of a product or solution in a classroom in its current format
- If there are any changes or adaptations which are required for market fitment
- Channel Creation
- Through meeting hundreds of distributors or resellers under one roof
- Meetings with national distributors as well as prominent distributors having deep regional or state penetration
- Pre-fixed meetings with select distributors
- Complete assistance in shortlisting relevant and reliable distributors of the country based on the company’s requirements
- Support for up to six months’ post event in recommending a shortlist of distributors and also facilitating with legal framework, if required
- Sales Lead Generation
- Meeting all relevant education institutes which are prospective buyers
- Creating a database of interested clients
- Accelerating the speed of market entry for the company or their potential distributor by marketing the product at the event and listing possible buyers
- Instant conversions
Didac India works as an ideal platform for entire education, training, and skills sector of India. The event is organised by India Didactics Association that possess a network of more than 83,000 thousand educators from 250+ cities of India. It is also boosted by the support of prominent ministries and regulatory bodies of India such as:
- Central Government: NITI Aayog (Erstwhile Planning Commission), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) & Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE)
- State Governments: Relevant Ministries from various state governments
- Regulatory bodies: Prominent education bodies, under the aegis of the government, like UGC, AICTE, NCERT, CBSE, etc.