New Delhi: Education training and assessment company Aptech Ltd on Wednesday said it will open 20 higher secondary schools over the next five years, saying it has decided to move into the formal education sector.

To begin with, it will open a K-12 (kindergarten to higher secondary) school in Kabul and start operations from the 2016 academic year beginning in April.

“Over next three to five years we will open some 20 K-20 schools and entering the formal education space is a conscious decision," said Ninad Karpe, chief executive officer of Aptech, a listed education player in India.

“We are in informal and testing business and now entering the formal space," Karpe said in an interview over the phone from Mumbai.

Interestingly, the company, which traces its origin to computer training in India and elsewhere, will not open any school in India.

“We considered three options—only India, India and international and only international. Only India we dropped...and for the time, international is our focus. After three to five years we will evaluate our stand on India," Karpe said, adding that his company aspires to be a large learning player in emerging markets.

He said his company will build schools where the training and testing business is doing well abroad like the Middle East, Asia and Africa. He said Aptech has plans to increase its foreign revenue to 50% from the current 40%.

The company said it will take the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curricula to its 20 schools and try to leverage the non-resident Indian population for admissions. But Karpe said they will remain asset light in their formal education foray, with infrastructure investments coming from local partners.

With this move, Aptech joins a small number of training and education solution providers, including Kota’s Career Point Ltd, NIIT, and CL Educate Ltd (formerly Career Launcher) of Delhi, who have diversified from the informal to formal education space.

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