Education Sector Will Grow At 7.5% To $144 billion By 2020

Vikas Singh, MD, Pearson India shares his thoughts about virtual international education narrowing gap between upper and lower strata, and skills needed to create studetns skilled enough to be employed


Give me some insights about virtual international education, and will technology help bridge the gap between upper and lower strata in terms of education affordability?

We have recently launched first-of-its-kind Virtual International K–12 Education in India with International Connections Academy (iNaCA). It aims to help students learn in their own way and at their preferred pace through a personalized and engaging experience that includes various multimedia tools such as enhanced videos, social, adaptive and game-based learning.

The teachers personalize lessons, evaluate student progress and provide feedback and assistance through real-time virtual sessions to offer a targeted support based on student learning.

International Connections Academy (iNaCA) uses a proprietary web-based platform called Connexus, to provide a complete virtual school experience and to connect teachers and students who are dispersed geographically. The platform delivers the online content anytime and anywhere, facilitates teacher-student and student-student interaction both synchronously and asynchronously, and allows students around the world to participate together in online activities from robotics to poetry club.

The ability to connect excellent teachers with students everywhere and provide engaging, effective content online may be emulated by those focused specifically on affordable education in India.

Some NGO’s are working to take education to the farthest parts. Do you have some strategies to help the underprivileged children and nurture the talent from every nook and corner of the country?

Pearson IndiaCan Vocational operates several vocational training centres for youth in rural areas to train them on basic skills, enhance their knowledge base and provide relevant employment opportunities. Pearson IndiaCan Vocational is playing a pivotal role in planning, designing, and implementing vocational skill development courses, in partnership with the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India.

Young Indians from disadvantaged and underprivileged backgrounds have been motivated to undertake skills training and education post which they are provided employment in various companies.

The programs are designed keeping in mind the specific requirements of the students coming from economically weaker sections. It entails:

1. Working with local community to understand the challenges of youth

2. Career counselling for students to make the; best choices

3. Customized residential and non-residential training programmes

4. Training encompassing modules on trade-specific skills, IT and soft skills

5. Stay and travel support to students during training

6. 75% assured placement above minimum wages

7. Post-placement support and counselling

Education is the root of every working professional. How to create students who are skilled enough to be employed?

Though the quantity of universities, colleges and programmes are going on increasing in the country, the lack of quality education still persists. The curriculum that is offered by institutes of higher education in India hardly keeps pace with industry demands. Therefore, dire need to foster a shift from an input-centric pedagogical approach to an outcome focused, learner-centric approach, to impart holistic learning.

India needs a focus on outcome-based measures to skill its workforce for the evolving industry trends. There is an urgent need to understand the kind of jobs that the industry requires and create specific skill sets accordingly.

Assessment is a potent tool which can not only measure the learner's performance, but can also modulate the overall teaching strategy with the help of analytics. We are making a big shift from just "Assessment of Learning" to incorporating "Assessment as Learning" and "Assessment for Learning",  in a more pro-active and pedagogical manner, facilitating learning capacities.

What skills can be imparted to students from K-12 to prepare them for the changing job demands? 

Focus of education in schools must be on infusing and developing innovation skills among students as opposed to filling them with knowledge. For this to happen, there is a need to break away from standardized testing processes that is at odds with creativity. Some of the ways in which innovation can be encouraged at school level:

1. Encouraging students to explore possibilities and find their own answers to questions rather than following the teacher-driven lessons for better imagination, observation, judgment and reasoning skills.

2. Acknowledging and rewarding students for their ideas and innovation

3. Adoption of technology-driven models such as “Virtual or blended learning classrooms” to improve access as well as basic education standards in the country.

4. Designing curriculums that enable students to meet with demands and challenges of future workplace.

What has been the company growth in terms of technology?

Pearson is world’s leading learning company. Our products are researched, expertly developed and continually improved to ensure that they deliver the best possible learner outcome that enable learners around the world to make progress in their lives. Our focus has always been on digital programmes and learning and we continue to deliver technology enabled products that are accessible and flexible for learners. Some of the innovations from Pearson have been –

MyPedia - giving teachers and other faculties the opportunity to develop their students’ digital skills, integrating technology in education helps them stay engaged.

iNaCA (International Connections Academy) - iNaCA provides a flexible world-class curriculum for students studying in classes up to class 12, aiming to help students learn in their own way and at their preferred pace through a  personalized and engaging experience.

Digital Learning Solutions – Students are eager to participate in engaging rigorous digital learning programmes and we partner with institutions to implement Digital Learning Solutions.

PTE Academic - It offers the fastest score reporting in the market, with test takers receiving their results typically within five business days. It provides simple and seamless experience for the user which makes this process less stressful for applicants and assessors.

What is the target the company is looking at and the strategies to be adopted to reach the target?

Pearson has a formidable presence across all segments of education. We are looking at the next generation of courseware and products coming in, which will help fuel further growth for the company. Digital courseware will be one big step moving forward. The second is getting into distance education and we are partnering with the best in the world to bring it back to India. Some of them are giving us content relevant to the Indian context which we then customise to suit the needs of the Indian market. The third is strengthening people’s English language.

How is the job market in the education sector and what are your hiring plans?

India has the largest school going population and higher education infrastructure in the world. According to a report, the sector is pegged at $ 100 billion and will grow at CAGR of 7.5% to $ 144 billion by 2020. It is expected that employment opportunities will continue to grow in this sector for the next two decades.


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