According to a Business Standard news report, Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries is planning to enter education in a big way. This would be in addition to entering Financial services and re entry into telecom as Mukesh looks to create new growth drivers.
It is expected that like any other Reliance venture, its education venture too could be a big bang affair but executed in a timely manner at a lower cost than its competitors.
Reliance made its entry education when group company Infotel Broadband picked up 38.5 per cent stake in digital educational company Extramarks, promoted by Delhi-based chartered accountant Atul Kulshresta.
Reliance Industries is making its telecom with Infotel Broadband in which it acquired 95 per cent stake for its pan-India broadband wireless spectrum licence. Infotel was the only company to have won a national broadband licence for Rs 12,848 crore, in a government-run auction for running fourth-generation telecom services.
Infotel plans to invest Rs 500 crore in the sunrise education sector for the next three years, leveraging its upcoming wireline broadband network. It is also expected to launch its broadband wireless services, in the second half of 2012.
“We will leverage 4G is two ways. Interactive classes on the net require consistent speeds of 120 MBPS, which will be available with 4G. With it, we will offer one-to-one as well as one-to-many tuition classes at affordable prices,” says Kulshresta. The company also intends to develop special applications for 4G tablets, something for which Reliance is in talks with low-cost producer Datawinds, made famous by its world’s cheapest product, Aakash. The plan is to offer tuition on the net for Rs 300 an hour for the one-to-one package and around Rs 50 for the one-to-many package, for 20 students.
Extramarks has other ambitious targets. It wants to expand its digital classrooms (where content is stored in a computer) to target at least 25 million students across the country. Currently, it is present in 3,000 schools and covers 700,000 students. The company will also aggressively bid for building and running schools being opened by states under the public-private partnership mode, and has bagged one such project in Rajasthan.
The educational foray will not be limited only to the mass end. The Ambanis already have an investment in this sector through the prestigious international school they have set up in Mumbai. Extramarks is also taking about opening digital pre-nursery schools, complete with digital boards where kids can play, but with steep monthly fees across the country.
Earlier, in January 2010, Mukesh Ambani, announced Reliance Foundation’s plan to setup Reliance University, during his acceptance speech after being honoured with the Dean’s Medal by the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science. He also announced Nita Ambani as the head of the Reliance University project.