In an era where education has become a lucrative industry, there are still a handful of schools that use their influence to enhance the lives of their students and pave the way for a better future. While the rich have an abundance of educational choices, the situation is starkly different for the middle-class and lower-income groups. Education is their sole gateway to a better future.
Students hailing from a financially stable environment have a wide array of schooling options, including international institutions. However, this landscape does not mirror the entirety of society. There is a large number of poor and middle-class people who rely entirely on government schools and affordable private schools. Unfortunately, these schools face numerous challenges. Owners face financial constraints, staffing shortages, gender-based reluctance towards education, teaching quality concerns, student dropouts for labour, technological limitations, and inadequate infrastructure. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic only added to these struggles.
While the government has initiated various programs to aid such schools, the rollout often proves sluggish, leaving school owners seeking alternative solutions.
Enter Varthana, a non-banking financial company (NBFC), which specializes in extending loans to private affordable schools for the development of infrastructure and other amenities. Its clientele resides across all regions in India.
Shobha Balakrishna, Secretary of Swarna Educational Society in Holenarsipura, Hassan, attests to Varthana's impact: "With Varthana's funding, I purchased land and completed a three-storey building. Enrollment surged from 600 to 1,000 by 2011. Before this, we operated from a rented, cramped building with just 15-16 small rooms. Thanks to Varthana's support, we now possess a comprehensive campus."
Varthana's influence has expanded across 15 states, benefitting over 9,000 affordable private schools and impacting four million students nationwide. In Karnataka alone, Varthana has aided more than 2,408 schools, channelling a remarkable ?535 crores into the state. Varthana's commitment to schools and students sets it apart from other lenders. It collaborates with schools at every juncture, providing teacher upskilling, owner management training, technological support, and even educational loans for students.
Personal stories showcase the profound impact. Mr. Venkatesh Baligar, President & Headmaster of Jnana Bharathi Lower Primary School in Bellary, shares, "Varthana transformed our school. We had struggled with various banks for loans until Varthana came along. With their support, we secured funding easily. And now we have our school with 204 students up to grade 5." India's economy is growing rapidly, both domestically and internationally. This growth is creating demand for skilled workers. And schools, colleges, and other educational institutions will be essential in providing this workforce.
A well-developed education system that is accessible to people from all stratum of society is essential for the overall development of the nation. This is because education helps to develop the skills and knowledge that people need to succeed in the job market. It also helps to promote social mobility and create a more equitable society.