Education: Worse to Bad


TIE has formed a special interest group (SIG) on education, which is great.  I wonder why we don’t have a lot more SIGs in Bangalore – ostensibly the silicon valley of India.  Perhaps entrepreneurial activity in the city isn’t all that it is cracked up to be?

Coming back to education.  A couple of quick observations:

1. Scale continues to be the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs.  Whether in terms of students, teachers, infrastructure

2. In the quest for scale, quality seems to be taking a back-seat – the general focus still seems to be on improving the masses and improving employability.   This is not to say that there are no quality players – there are several – but they are a marginal voice today.  This despite the relative lack of price sensitivity in the sector.  I see this with a lot of schools too – a desire to replicate the model, but not the soul.  Sadly, a DPS in Bangalore is not considered the same as a DPS in Delhi

3. Technology provides some opportunities to address both scale and quality  – but not many people have cracked the model so far

4. Regulations are improving, but are still a challenge.  Most entrepreneurs are forced to work outside the mainstream – or find areas where there are currently no regulations (e.g. e/m learning, test prep, primary school etc).  Alternately, you have to find a way to work extensively with government (e.g. Educomp)

5. Supply is improving.  We’re still on the upward part of the hype cycle – so there is a lot of entrepreneurial and VC activity in the space.  Several models are being experimented with

Overall, its not time yet to bring out the bubbly.  But things are improving.  As one panelist put it very well, things are going from worse to bad.

There’s still hope!

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