Localizing And Contextualizing Books For Better Understanding
Maksim Rutenberg, Vice President, International Sales, World Book, Inc. (a Scott Fetzer Company) spoke to BW's Waqar Ahmed Fahad regarding some issues which pertain to his domain.
Maksim Rutenberg, VP, World Book International
Rutenberg was born and raised in Europe, He has over 20 years of experience in international business. Before joining World Book, he spent many years in New York City, working at a private equity firm and then in the world’s largest educational assessment organization. He loves to read historical nonfiction and biographies. He holds an undergraduate degree in Linguistics and an MBA in International Business and Operations. Here are some excerpts from the interview,
Q.Indian education market and how is it different from others?
India has more than 1.5 million schools boarding over 260 million students with a tremendous potential to pave the way students could learn and grow. According to a joint report released by Google and KPMG, the online education market is set to grow to USD 1.96 Billion and around 9.6 million users by 2021 from USD 247 Million and around 1.6 million users in 2016.
While the potential is immense given the large demographic profile, the infrastructure to support the digital ecosystem in schools is still in developmental stage. This is the healthy sign because things are improving at a very fast pace as Internet/broadband connectivity, BYOD in a classroom are some of the concepts, which are getting introduced in the schools.
Q. Expansion of business in India – How has it affected World Book?
We are both, excited and delighted to be able to reach out to over a million kids in just under a span of one year with Eupheus Learning through our co-branded curriculum textbooks and other solutions. Earlier we were only present in our print reference book titles but now our reference databases are now being made available to kids through curricular books as well as standalone. We are motivated and committed to Indian education market and will bring many more new and customized solutions in the coming years.
Q. World Book’s aim of long long-term commitment towards the Indian education sector – How do you plan to continue this?
As shared before, we are deeply committed towards the Indian education sector. We have an 8 years exclusive partnership with Eupheus Learning. With this arrangement in place, we will create co-branded solutions based on Eupheus’ expertise and knowledge, customized to the need of the educational sector in India with the editorial involvement of the World Book team. This partnership will also entitle Eupheus Learning to distribute World Book’s print and digital curriculum and reference products in India.
In fact, we are in process of localizing our digital solutions aligning it to CBSE and ICSE curriculum and grade requirements.
Q. What are your experiences from this past one year in India?
We have been receiving active feedback from teachers and schools, through our partner Eupheus Learning, as to what is needed to make the content more relevant, localized and contextualized. We are actively looking for that feedback and have started working in some areas as well. For example, we are adopting Indian voiceover to deliver the content for our digital resources, so that the early learners have a better understanding of the content.
In addition to that, I would like to share another initiative that has seen success i.e. meshing our digital reference repositories, World Book Student and Kids with the WOW General Knowledge series for classes 1-8 and so now we will be working on adding the relevant content to other subject books as well.
Q. Why did you choose Eupheus Learning as an exclusive partner in India?
Eupheus Learning has a clear vision and mission for the Indian Education sector and this is what drove us to partner with them, which is to bridge the gap between in-class and at-home learning by offering pedagogically differentiated, technology-led solutions in the K-12 space targeting 10 million kids in the next 5 years.
The founding team’s experience of more than 120 Man-years in starting up and turning around businesses in the Education and Training space made us comfortable and confident to take this journey ahead, hand in hand. In addition, Eupheus team will help us fill the gaps in making the content more robust and up-to-date for consumption elsewhere in the world.
Before this partnership, we were operating in the print reference domain, sold via store; hence there was the limited scope and reach. Now with Eupheus we are actively reaching out to kids in school were in our solutions are reaching in digital form as well meshed with curriculum books.
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