In an era where education has become a lucrative industry, there are still a handful of schools that use their influence to improve 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. For children from these groups of population, education is the sole gateway to a better future.
Students hailing from a financially stable environment enjoy the choice of a wide array of schooling options, including international institutions. However, this landscape does not mirror the entirety of society in India. There are a large number of poor and middle-class people in India who rely entirely on government schools and affordable private schools. Though these schools have been established with the aim of bringing in seminal changes in the lives of students from middle- and lower-income groups, these schools face numerous challenges. Owners face financial constraints, staffing shortages, gender-based reluctance towards education, teaching quality concerns, student dropouts to enter the labour market, technological limitations, and inadequate infrastructure. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic only added to these struggles.
While the government has initiated various programmes to aid such schools, the rollout has often proved sluggish, leaving school owners seeking alternative solutions.
Enter Varthana, a non-banking financial company (NBFC), which specialises in extending loans to private affordable schools for the development of infrastructure and other amenities. Its client base resides across all regions of India. Interestingly, they all have a story to tell of the way Varthana helped them in their growth journey.
Says Mrs. Mohani, Director of Jaldeep Memorial School in Kuharwas, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, attesting to Varthana’s impact: “We used the funds from Varthana for improving the infrastructure in the school. For instance, we expanded the seating capacity in classes. Thanks to the better infrastructure, the number of students in the school has been steadily increasing.”
Varthana’s influence has expanded across 15 states, benefiting over 9,000 affordable private schools and impacting four million students nationwide. In Rajasthan alone, Varthana has aided more than 990 schools, channelling a remarkable ₹146 crore into the state. Varthana’s commitment to schools and students sets it apart from other players in the space. It collaborates with schools at every juncture, providing teacher upskilling, owner management training, and technological support, and also provides educational loans to students to pursue courses of various tenures and skill-development courses.
Here’s another personal account of a beneficiary of Varthana’s lending activity. Mr.RaichandLatiyal, Founder of Latiyal High School, Jodhpur, shares, “Previously, our school had a student strength of 370. Then we took a loan from Varthana. We used the funds to equip the school with essential tools necessary for imparting quality education, such as laboratory equipment and good-quality classroom writing boards, among others. This has resulted in the enrolment in the school rising to 430 students. Varthana not only helped our school but also equipped our students with the essential tools and resources needed for their education and personal growth.”
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 strata of society is essential for the overall development of the nation. This is because education and the necessary skills help develop the skills and knowledge that people need to enter and succeed in the job market. It also helps to promote social mobility and create a more equitable society.