Core Education eyes GCC |
Khaleej Times - 22 July, 2012
Core Education & Technologies, a global leader in education sector, plans to set up quality institutions in the GCC as it sees huge potential for business growth in the region, its top official said.
The Atlanta-based company, which has already established its subsidiary in the UAE — Core Education & Consulting Solutions — would soon announce first-ever project to expand its presence in the GCC’s Dh238 billion ($ 65 billion) education sector. The diversified business group plans to invest heavily in the transformation of the region’s education segment.
“The GCC will be the thrust area for Core Education, going forward. We have had good business traction already and a strong pipeline created for our future projects,” Sanjeev Mansotra, chairman and global chief executive of Core Education, told Khaleej Times in an interview.
Core, which recorded $ 343 million revenues during financial year 2010-11, is a global education company offering end-to-end solutions in three continents across the world. It provides various products and solutions at various stages of education — K12, teachers training, higher education and vocational training courses.
Listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange, Core works with more than 34 million students worldwide. It has trained and placed 105,000 teachers and partnered 85,000 schools across the world. As at March 31, 2012, it operates across 36 offices in 13 countries with over 2,200 employees worldwide.
Core, which has a corporate headquarters in Mumbai, is now rapidly expanding its footprint in the Middle East and Africa. It took over the Birla Institute of Technology-Ranchi in Ras Al Khaimah in February this year. Recently, the company also signed a joint venture agreement in Qatar with Mackeen Holding and the Muscat Overseas Company in Oman to spread its penetration in the education business. The company is in the process of finalising similar joint venture agreements with partners in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries. “Soon we will be able to announce our first-ever project in the GCC where we are working with the governments to infuse technology-enabled learning solutions,” Mansotra said.
He said the current education infrastructure across the entire GCC is impressive, but the challenge is to be geared for the future requirement and to keep education relevant in the ever changing global scenario.
“We focus on 21st-century learning skills and solutions for education systems and believe that technology-enabled learning solutions, skill development and comprehensive school quality improvement programmes will play an essential role in the GCC in the coming years.
Mansotra said there will be an increasing pressure on the GCC’s education sector, with the total number of students in the GCC region expected to rise from 9.5 million in 2010 to 11.3 million in 2020. To meet this demand, the region will require an additional 6,200 schools by 2020, with an additional 163,200 teachers to educate the students.
“Core Education is not just a mere business venture but a way to impart research-driven innovation and technology to enhance or improve education systems around the world,” he said.
In reply to a question, he said: “Core focuses on the entire continuum of education — K-12 [formal education, higher education, vocational education]. Our solutions impact the four basic pillars of education — teaching, learning, assessment, governance.
PPP in education
Mansotra had also come up with an innovative public-private partnership, or PPP, offering to the government. He has forged alliances with key partners like the University of Oxford, Centre of Higher Learning of Nasa and Texas Instruments. He has also formed long-term associations with the governments of the US, the UK and India, amongst many others.
“We do seek prestigious local partners who can complement our expertise and skills in the education sector.”
About the PPP in education, he said it is an important focus worldwide and governments have realised the importance of having a stronger and deeper private participation to enhance the efficacy of their initiatives.
“Core has been working with governments across the world — the US, the UK, India — on several large-scale PPP projects.
“We believe that public private partnerships in the education sector are important to make education aligned to the needs to the industry. PPP helps in the rapid expansion and improvement of the education infrastructure in terms of reach and quality through investment in the resources, which otherwise would be very difficult for the governments to achieve in short period of time.”
UAE — an investment destination
In reply to a question about the business environment in UAE, he said: “I have been visiting the UAE for the past 12 years and our group has been operating here for more than a decade through diversified business interests. What strikes me is the vision with which the UAE government operates, along with the excellent infrastructure, investor-friendly environment and swift decision-making process. All this make the UAE an investment decision of choice for global companies.”
Mansotra’s first corporate venture was in the iron and steel industry. Later, he made successful forays into education and health sectors and recorded significant business growth in recent past.
“Our financial year ends on March 31. In the previous financial year, we grew by about 50 per cent with all our subsidiaries and geographies showing robust growth. The first-quarter of financial year 2012-13 has been significant in Core making landmark progress and inroads in the Middle East Africa region,” he said.
“Our joint venture with Mackeen Holding in Qatar was a milestone for Core as two prestigious and strong companies were joining hands in an effort to reform the Qatar education system. We have made good business traction in Africa as well. We have already received a letter of intent from Ghana for an order of $ 14 million to provide digital enabled school solutions and there are at least four to five more countries in the pipeline.”
In reply to a question about another foray into the region, he said the company is planning to expand its wellness business in the Middle East. “Apart from Core Education, which is of course the flagship business of the Core group, we operate successful business entities in wellness, energy and international business. We already have an established international business company based out of Dubai for the past decade.”
“In the coming years, I hope to expand our wellness business to the Middle East as I see a huge potential for quality holistic wellness experience. Our spas have been rated as one of the best in Asia for three consecutive years and soon the people in GCC will have the opportunity to experience our ‘Sohum Spa’ brand,” Mansotra concluded.