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Indian IT firms teach US, UK students

Companies like Educomp Solutions, Core Projects and Technologies and Everonn Systems are developing software for the education sector to aid students, reports Venkatesh Ganesh.
Hindustan Times | By Venkatesh Ganesh, Mumbai
UPDATED ON OCT 04, 2007 03:33 AM IST

Certain Indian software companies are beginning to influence the way students in the US and UK get educated.

Companies like Educomp Solutions, Core Projects and Technologies and Everonn Systems are now making forays into these markets with an eye on a niche segment – developing software for the education sector to aid students in areas like online tutoring, classroom management, web-based learning and aiding students with learning disabilities.

In an effort to acquire a foothold in the US market — the US government has earmarked spends of $12 billion in for education — these companies have also sealed a string of acquisitions.

In September, both Educomp and Core Projects made acquisitions abroad. While Educomp acquired a 70.5 per cent stake in Canada-based Saavica, which it says will allow it to provide Internet-based skills, Core Projects and Technologies acquired two education services providers, Azzurri Education in the UK and KC Management Group (KCMG) in the US, in all-cash buys.

"The acquisition of Azzurri Education will add around 1,000 schools in the UK, while with KCMG we will have presence in 18 states, including Michigan and North Carolina in the US," said Hari Iyer, Director, Core Projects.

Educomp's acquisition is fourth this year after ThreeBrix e-services, an online tutoring company, Ask n Learn, Singapore's largest e-learning company, and AuthorGen Technologies, a player in the area of web 2.0 platforms for online learning.

Their performances have been rewarded in the markets too. At a time when analysts have underweighed frontline IT stocks like TCS, these stocks have given three digit returns. Educomp has given 273 per cent returns, Core Projects 238 per cent and Everonn, which listed 2 months back, gained 371 per cent at a time when Sensex stocks provided 40 per cent returns.

The American IT education spend is growing at the rate of 70 per cent and some estimates indicate that the market will touch $75 billion by 2010.

Not restricted to just foreign markets, these players are also eying the Indian market following the government's Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) initiative.

"We have signed an agreement with the Directorate of Secondary Education, Government of Haryana to introduce computer education in government senior secondary schools in the state," said Shantanu Prakash, MD, Educomp Solutions.

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