Photos: Viet Tuan
Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, CEO of Egroup, tells VET's Do Huong about the company's business achievements over the ten years since its establishment and its future plans in education and training.
by Nghi Do
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■ Egroup has been a pioneer in online education over the last ten years. Can you tell us about its establishment?
Established in 2008, the Egame Education Group JSC (Egroup) has been a pioneer in the online education gaming field in Vietnam. Its gaming products deliver education effectively and leave a lasting impression, encouraging further learning. Online education gaming products and the “Conquest of Vu Mon” contest cemented the Egroup brand, attracting nearly 5 million users to join 63 “Conquest of Vu Mon” clubs in Vietnam’s 63 cities and provinces.
From a startup gathering individuals with dreams and aspirations, we have had success across many fields. In building an “educational ecosystem” with prominent company members, including Apax Holdings and Apax English, we continue to focus on developing important fields such as education, ICT, and health.
■ What notable achievements have been recorded to date?
Starting from a company specializing in online education gaming, Egroup has focused on enhancing technological applications in education. In so doing, we have been able to keep up with the direction of modern times. Moreover, we have expanded upon the impact of education by incorporating the age of technological development.
The strategy of “Borrow-Reach-Lead” has brought outstanding results to Egroup’s development in the last ten years. Chungdahm Learning, a leading South Korean education company, invested in the Apax English chains in cooperation with Egroup in 2014. This was the first step in introducing a new educational model in Vietnam. Chungdahm then signed a cooperative deal with an investment of $10 million in Egroup / Apax in 2016. Due to this cooperation, the Apax English chains have developed rapidly to lead the English teaching market for children in Vietnam, with more than 55 centers and 40,000 students.
In the same year, Egroup partnered with Meganext under South Korea’s Megastudy Corporation to establish Nexedu. The aim was to train and develop human resource systems for enterprises through the Nexedu online education portal, by building a high-quality and technologically advanced training system. This system targets developing the country’s interpersonal skills. This will help Vietnamese businesses create competitive advantages in the context of globalization.
2017 was considered a significant year. Egroup positioned itself as a dynamic, youthful, and aspiring educational group, as well as a leader in English education training. 2018 marks ten years of development. From employees to products, this is an important milestone in the group’s maturity and professionalism
■ Why do you focus on English training? How do you view the potential and the competition in the field?
We are in the age of globalization. Communication between people is not just about language. Egroup expects that every young Vietnamese man and woman will be equipped with the knowledge to be confident and active in joining the professional, international world. English language and interpersonal skills are the doorway.
The potential of the market is enormous and the application of educational technology is a trend all over the world. Using technology is a great way to encourage kids to learn and be interested in exploring the world around them. Learning is not compulsory, but through cultivating the right atmosphere, they can take the initiative.
Investment in Vietnam’s education field has been pouring in from international companies. This presents an opportunity for those participating in the field of English training to flourish. The competition will be tough, but we are very focused on successful outcomes. Currently, English is only an advantage for children in the cities, and expansion to the provinces will be difficult and expensive. However, I would like to create a balance and provide opportunities for every Vietnamese student to have access to English.
■ Do you think investment in technology is Egroup’s strength?
Ten years ago, we started from technology, and we still have the same burning passion. It is the focus for developing our business. It is a strength and a point of differentiation driving the company’s success.
The Apax English centers are a successful example. An education based on modern technology was the first element in making a difference and creating a competitive advantage. In applying a method for teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) that integrates technology, we have created excitement among our students about learning. This helps them build learning habits, allowing them to actively participate in activities in the classroom. For example, Apax was the first center in Vietnam to be equipped with miniature studios to build creative thinking projects. Additionally, it was the first to apply an electronic curriculum on TVs in classrooms, promoting complete student interaction.
■ What are Egroup’s prospects in 2018 and plans for expansion?
We wish to increase general awareness among parents and students that education is not only aimed at the goal of obtaining a degree. Currently, parents and students are increasingly interested in the quality of training as well as the delivery of new learning methods at international standards. With over 22 million students, I am convinced we are in the golden age of developing education. Now is the right time. This market has great potential. For the benefit of the country, Egroup wants to capitalize.
Technology has been key to the success of Egroup in recent years. Its products and services in cities and provinces around the country have attracted the attention of parents, providing an enjoyable learning experience for students. Along with an enthusiastic and passionate team and the support of foreign partners that lead in education in major countries such as the US, South Korea and Japan, the company has created a solid launching platform. However, what it has reaped is still quite small compared to the potential of the market. We are ready for strong development in the future.
Egroup will continue to improve its educational ecosystem with products from pre-school to university levels, expanding its services from education to health, food, retail, and more. All Egroup member companies have gone through the startup phase and are now ready for the rapid-growth phase. The company aims to double its growth rate. Apax English will reach 100 centers this year, at the same time as continuing to improve its quality. Additionally, we will increase the number of pre-schools and launch international secondary schools and the chain of mathematical thinking centers - CMS - with the goal of developing 25-30 locations in the country.
- Apax English
- education sector