-Dipta Joshi (Mumbai)
Pankaj Sharma is president of the Pune-based Lexicon Group (estd.2006) whose education division has promoted three CBSE-affiliated primary-secondary schools, eight preschools and a therapy centre for special children with an aggregate enrolment of 15,000 students. The Lexicon Group has business interests in health and fitness, lifestyle and media.
Newspeg. The group’s latest initiative launched in April is EduCrack, an online test prep platform. It offers school-leavers live classes, AI-driven mock interviews, access to recorded lessons and also assigns teachers and mentors several cities to groom learners. Selected mentors help students to learn by doing in corporate offices and factories. EduCrack also offers test prep guidance for 11 entrance examinations (MBA, Law, IELTS) and CRT (campus recruitment tests).
History. A computer science and business management alum of Pune University and the Maharaja Agrasen Himalayan Garhwal University, Uttarakhand, Sharma began his professional career marketing textbooks to education institutions. After visiting dozens of schools during his 13 years in textbooks marketing, in 2006 he invested his savings to promote the Lexicon International School in Wagholi, a suburb of Pune. Since then, the number of Lexicon Group institutions has transformed from a single school with 19 students to 12 K-12 schools with an aggregate enrolment of 15,000.
Direct talk. ‘Thousands of students flock to Kota, Rajasthan every year to prepare for competitive exams. However, most of them don’t get value for money because of crowded classrooms. EduCrack’s clear objective is to make high quality education accessible and affordable for students preparing for competitive exams anywhere in India. To provide good value, we have designed an online-offline hybrid model which encourages peer-to-peer learning and provides five additional certification courses in personal branding, memory techniques, digital marketing, MS Excel, culture and ethics,” says Sharma.
Lexicon’s other initiatives include Thinkerplace, a programme which builds state-of-the-art science and computer labs for schools; the Lexicon Centre of Research and Innovation, which undertakes market research for corporates; and Lexicon Eduversity which offers short-term online courses.
Future plans. Sharma has drawn up ambitious expansion plans. “We intend to establish a university within the next five years and enhance EduCrack’s portfolio to 15 courses by the end of 2023. We have already introduced Lexicon Eduversity which offers short online courses. They will be dovetailed into the proposed university’s curriculum. Two new CBSE-affiliated schools and our first IB-affiliated school are also on the cards,” says this indefatigable edupreneur.