In focus: South Asia

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In focus: South Asia

Before joining Cambridge University Press & Assessment in February 2021 as our first Managing Director for South Asia, Arun Rajamani worked in the education and technology sector. He took on the task of bringing together Assessment and the Press in South Asia, acting as a model for closer working across the rest of our organisation.

What was the goal in your mind with integration?

By integrating teams, having a single leadership, a single strategy and a single face for the customer, we are better responding to the evolving needs of teachers and learners. By aligning teams with a common purpose, the customer gets a better experience and service from us.

Since integration, what has been the experience with schools?

We work with about 3,000 schools and believe there is lots of opportunity for further growth. This year we put more focus on large groups of schools to enhance our relationships with them. When we go deeper, instead of going broader, we can offer more solutions and schools see more value in partnering with us. These integrated solutions span curriculum programs, such as Early Years, Cambridge International and Cambridge English, alongside learning resources and teacher development programs, and makes our proposition unique.

What’s next for schools in South Asia?

We’ve identified two areas where we can add huge value to learners. One is equipping students to balance their learning behaviours between print and digital. We’re calling it the hybrid digital strategy. And for students in high school, we want to equip them with quality knowledge and learning outcomes, and help them to be better prepared for professional entrance exams or admissions to higher education.

How about in English?

India is the largest market for IELTS and OET in terms of the number of test takers and we want these learners to succeed. We have made it easier for our partners administering IELTS and OET exams to help test takers prepare using our learning materials, giving them the knowledge to prove what they’ve learned.

What’s the future for English in India?

We are shifting our focus in India from print towards digital solutions and addressing two core issues. The first is employability. More than 25 million young people in India may be missing out on good jobs because their English skills are not strong enough and we want to help those students achieve more. The second issue is mobility. India has one of the largest proportions of students who go overseas, either for education, employment or migration. English is often a requirement they need to have, so we want to equip them with that core skill.

What’s the outlook with Academic?

India is the largest consumer of online content for higher education professionals. Both for skills as well as for degrees and diploma programs, online education has huge potential. We are partnering with universities in the country, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, and offering joint programmes that learners can benefit from.

What is your vision for South Asia over the next few years?

As well as supporting more customers within the country and the region, our biggest ambition is to engage with governments and to enable education transformation with our Cambridge Partnership for Education team. If we succeed in doing that, we will benefit millions of learners, giving them better access to quality education – one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.