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Mumbai institute to offer CA, IAS, CAT courses via satellite
November, 12th 2007
For students of chartered accountancy and those preparing for IAS and CAT examinations especially from the interiors, courses through satellite could prove to be a good opportunity.
 
Mumbai-based Sukh Sagor Institute, through a group company, plans to leverage satellite technology to provide an interactive teaching environment by connecting over 500 centres pan-India and cater to over 5 lakh students per annum, over the next two years.
 
Bhagyashree Educational Support Technologies (BEST), the group company, plans to connect its 12 central hubs in the country with centres in tier II and tier III cities interactively.
 
We will be setting up our centres in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Principal, Satellite Affiliate Programme, BEST, Bhavesh Bhatt, said here.
 
The company plans to tap Venture Capitalists as well as the retail investing public to raise resources for its venture.
 
We are looking at VC funding of around Rs 5 crore. We are offering 2 lakh shares at Rs 250 per share and off-loading around 24 per cent of our stake. The deal should be sealed very soon, Bhatt said.
 
This will take care of BESTs Phase I programme which entails the setting up of 100 centres for CA 1st level students by March next. In Phase II by March 2009, we plan to have 500 centres, of which 100 will be exclusively-owned by us and the rest franchised, Bhatt said.
 
To fund the technological investments, which will be required for this venture and setting up of high-tech studios, BEST is also mulling an initial public offering (IPO) of Rs 100 crore in mid-2008.
 
This type of interactive education will require hi-tech equipment. We plan to have four studios in Phase I at Mumbai, Delhi, Kota in Rajasthan and Indore. In Phase II, we plan to have 12 studios for 500 centres, Bhatt said.
 
Initially, these centres will cater to CA students and later offer IAS, CAT, pre-medical tests (PMT) and All India Engineering Entrance Examination courses, he said. This will be useful to the poor and less affluent students who cannot afford to come to the cities, Bhatt said.
 
Presently, BEST charges Rs 12,000 for the 1st level 100-day CA course, Rs 20,000 for 1-year Professional Competence Course and Rs 25,000 for the final.
 
This can reduce once technology is used to disseminate education as recurring costs will decline. After 3 years, we will reduce our costs, Bhatt said.
 
The satellite technology will be provided by an Ahmedabad-based company, Infinium, which might even pick up a stake in the company, he said. For the franchisees, there will be no massive up-front investments as BEST will provide the equipment needed by them.
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