Sanjeev Mansotra speaks on CORE’s venture in India
After cementing his stature as a leading force in the education sector in the United States and the United Kingdom, Sanjeev Mansotra, founder and CEO of CORE Education & Technologies Ltd realized that back home in India, there was an urgent need for a revamp in the Indian education system after an exposé in a business daily showed how just a fraction of the public money meant for educating poor students actually reached them.
Hence by emulating his model used in the United States, i. e, using his Student Tracking System (STAR), in India, Core eventually signed a contract with the Jharkhand government under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to develop a modified version of STAR to track a staggering eight million children from classes 1 to 7 across 22 districts. The benefits of such a scheme was, in a state where the drop out levels were high, it could check on whether the student was getting his mid-day meals on time, whether he had changed schools, his grades or if he had ever dropped out, all through a click of a button. Other state governments started following the footsteps of Jharkhand. In 2010, Core’s presence became more evident after Maharashtra, Gujarat, the far north eastern state of Nagaland, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh started implementing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based Computer Leaning Aided Programs (CALP) to catch the attention and most of all, retain them at the grass root level of education, i. e. rural schools by using animated multimedia-based educational content.
The Mathematics of it
The immense success of CALP led to the Maharashtra government signing a Rs.119 crore contract for 947 schools. A Rs.120 crore project was awarded by the Gujarat government for 3,121 schools and a separate Rs.24 crores targeting 586 schools to implement CALP and ICT services. Haryana and Punjab too have signed up for similar projects for 2,622 schools worth Rs.295 crores and 1,420 schools worth Rs.6 crores respectively. The northeastern state of Nagaland too signed a contract for Rs.2 crore for 72 schools. Vocational training too is on the cards by Core for the Indian market.
Initially, Core watched from the sidelines before they entered the Indian market. Sanjeev Mansotra says “We specialized in technology-driven education solutions, but the Indian education market, even the information and communication technology (ICT) market, was very hardware driven — computers were installed in schools without much thought given to the software and services one could offer through them. ” But now the scene has changed drastically where much focus is emphasized on software education solutions though hardware solutions still linger on, but that will change soon.
Mr. Sanjeev Mansotra is confident that he can gain the trust of governments and hence win bigger projects. He also believes that managing slow moving government machinery can be handled in an effective way. He goes on to say. “My business competency is not IT but working with governments. Even in the US, government business is our main business. We understand what governments need and how they work”.