Tata Sky forays into school education

In a country where one in every four students takes private tuition to supplement the education they receive in formal educational institutes, Tata Sky's latest initiative, an educational service, Tata Sky Classroom in association with Tata ClassEdge, is likely to catch the fancy of the 17 million households this Direct-To-Home (DTH) service provider reaches out to.

DTH service provider Tata Sky, a joint venture between the Tata Group and 21st Century Fox, today launched the Tata Sky Classroom in Ahmedabad that would offer coaching of basic concepts of mathematics and science for students of standard five to eight as per the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research & Training) syllabus for Rs 99 per month. If one opts for the content of just one standard, the charge is Rs 59 a month.

Tata ClassEdge, a provider of technology based education solutions to schools, has designed the content for this service that would not only explain the fundamentals of these subjects using multi-media animation, but would also run on a systematic schedule, multiple choice questions, learning games and even mock tests.

The private tuitions industry in India is estimated to be around Rs 2.6 lakh crore in size and as per a report by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), one in every four students in the country opts for private tuitions.

Tata ClassEdge, which was launched in India in 2012, reaches out to 1300 schools across the country touching 1.5 million students and is currently being used by 70,000 teachers. Rajesh Khandagale, chief commercial officer, Tata ClassEdge said that they are targeting to reach 10 million students by 2025. The company which already operates as an educational service provider to schools, is thus now trying to tap the potential of the DTH medium to expand its reach given that as such internet penetration in India is not very high.

As far as digitisation of content is concerned, Khandagale said that nearly 35% of the content in the publishing industry is digitised, but the same percentage is far lower in case of education, about 3% or so.

While he did not share any figures on the investments made to customise the content to suit the DTH medium, which includes making changes like bringing in a mentor who would explain concepts to children, unlike the content for school classrooms where it acts as a tool for teachers, Khandagale said that since there is a huge demand for quality education in India, the service should pick up momentum soon.

Malay Dikshit, chief communications officer, Tata Sky Ltd said that as such the penetration of 'Actve' services, which includes a range of value added services like Actve Cooking, Actve learning & Actve Vedic maths, is around 25%. He also added that in terms of new customer acquisitions a clear shift is happening in town classes, towards class III and IV towns.