Douglas Crets: How does technology best augment efficient learning in a world where students will eventually work as digital professionals?
Gopal Jain: The Indian education system faces several challenges none unique in itself but the combination and the scale make them unique. Simply speaking we don’t have enough well trained teachers, serious limitation in terms of financial resources, deficiencies in curricula, wide variance in opening balance of students and lack of purchasing power by the consumer. And to top it all thanks to demographics the largest K12 population in the world over the next 2 decades. Technology can help and is helping in various ways. Our ventures are leveraging technology to help provide a much richer value proposition at an affordable value proposition to millions of students. Technology is helping supplement teacher quality, lack of resources, customization of curricula, remedial and lower the price point.
Douglas Crets: Learning on digital platforms seems to demonstrate that we are reaching a tipping point when global learning may happen, at scale, with education institutions enabling their student communities to interact with other students in other institutions. Do other countries see the US traditional education system as a viable content-sharing or collaboration partner? Are there technological, cultural, legal, or capital-based constraints to this interaction?
Gopal Jain: Clearly the US has an unparalleled repository of content. However the US educational system might not be the ideal model for countries like India. Take k-12 for example. The US system is a public educational system which spends USD 10K per student per year. It’s a rolls Royce not suited to Indian conditions. The Indian public delivery system is far less efficient and even a fraction of this level of spend will bankrupt the Indian state. The Indian K12 system therefore is being led by private providers who operate at affordable price points relevant to Indian purchasing power and needs.
Douglas Crets: Where are you funding startups, which sectors or verticals make sense in the education space?
Gopal Jain: We are a hybrid of venture and growth. We have funded ventures across the spectrum in the education space both core and ancillaries right from k12 to higher ed. We rarely fund start ups but are perhaps the most experienced and comprehensive investors in Indian education.
You can read more about Gopal Jain here.
Gaja Capital Partners is an India focused, mid-market, private equity firm. Gaja invests in emerging sector leaders that leverage domestic demand in India. Gaja invested in Educomp in 2005. Gaja is working closely with Educomp on various aspects of its growth strategy including business development for new and existing businesses, fund raising, investor relations, M&A and corporate finance. Gaja also helped manage the company’s successful Initial Public Offering.
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