Ayala unit starts foray into education

By VG Cabuag, BusinessMirror

Posted at Apr 14 2014 08:08 AM | Updated as of Apr 14 2014 04:08 PM

MANILA - LiveIt Investments Ltd., a unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., is set to commence its secondary education venture at the start of the school year in July, as it plans to spend an initial $1.2 million (about P52.8 million) to put up schools in the densely populated areas around Metro Manila.

Alfredo Ayala, chief executive officer or LiveIt, said the joint-venture with London-based Pearson Plc. will put up 12 schools in Metro Manila, which will provide “affordable” education from Grades 7 to 12.

Ayala said the school, which will be under the brand Affordable Private Education Centers, or APEC, will start operation in July.

“Our value proposition is your student will have the option to either directly go to professional job in banking, telecommunications, information technology, business process outsourcing or if they want to continue to college-level education, they will have that option, as well,” he said.

The school will charge an average tuition of P25,000 per student per school year. It will have an initial 12 branches in places such as Quezon City, Caloocan, Marikina City and Pasig City. Each branch is expected to have an average of 200 to 300 students each, with a 40-student-per-room ratio.

Ayala said the company may put up 12 more schools by next year.

“We’ll take it slowly before we branch out to other parts of the country,” he said.

When fully operational, Ayala expects to have 2,000 to 3,000 students in its school network.

The said school is joint venture: 60 percent owned by the education unit of LiveIt and the rest by Pearson.

Ayala said LiveIt will invest a total of $4 million in the venture, while the partner will turn in about $2.6 million to be used for operations, curriculum development, teacher training, among others.

“The schools [will] use an advanced curriculum, which includes essential academics; professional skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving; leadership development; and an ethical underpinning of values, such as determination, integrity and compassion,” LiveIt said in an earlier statement.

The Pearson Affordable Learning Fund was launched in July 2012 with $15 million in capital.

Its mandate is to invest in companies that can build quality, scalable education solutions to meet a growing demand for affordable educational services across Africa, Asia and Latin America.