Quite different from perhaps about 20 years ago, many schools in India now have computers and computer labs. The PC per student ratio is slightly better, and many government school students now have access to PCs in school as well as broadband connectivity to the web.
For all of India consider that only 18.86% of the total schools in urban areas are private and un-aided. Of these, about 38% have computers in the school for use of students. That is about 59400 of them. Of the list of schools that CBSE publishes, let us consider the 1743 schools in Delhi. This of course is a mix of schools from completely government funded, to aided schools and to private unaided schools. Of these 1638 do not report the presence of a computer lab (of course, this might include a number who have not reported numbers to CBSE). With a margin of error, that is just about 6% schools with computer labs.
Compare this to a situation which shows that the government system can be made to work very effectively too. Kendriya Vidayala Sanghathan runs a whopping 1073 schools (as of September this year) across the country. Of these, 964 schools have PCs for student use and 824 have broadband connectivity. Of course, the Annual Report of the Ministry of HRD does not specify whether students have access to all the PCs or not. Assuming optimistically, it provides a ratio of about 26 students to a PC (see detailed numbers in the table). Very clearly, while other schools (both government and private) lag behind Kendriya Vidyalayas continue to provide yeoman service in educating our young ones.
Before engaging on our business plan for KOOLSKOOL, we wanted to test waters a bit and check if there is any hope for what we wanted to do. We also wanted to know a bunch of other things e.g. actual usage of the internet in our country (at least in our target market areas), amount of money being spent by students outside of the school system, or even clear adoption of technology.
We ran a survey in Delhi and Lucknow (two sample cities) covering about 400 students in multiple schools. The surveys were given out by school students and we did use a bit of the viral technique to get quick and decent sized coverage. Most of the schools had students from average income to high income families and belonged to senior middle, secondary and senior secondary classes. What came back validated quite a few of our assumptions and surprised us with some of the numbers. Below are some of the interesting ones.
|Siblings in the household||
|Primary stationery purchase||
|Mobile Phones usage||
|Electronic games console, personal music players ownership||
The conclusion is as was evident to us. There is a lot of money in children's pockets today or at least lots that they have access to. They are the customers of a Retailer's future.