Investing in Private Education

The Post Covid Challenge: The Cost of Private Education

Quality education is, and will always be, the best investment that parents can do to help their children’s lives and broaden their future. Obviously, with the post-Covid-19 recession, unfortunately, a lot of families will suffer by not being able to afford the costs of good private education even if only temporarily.

But considering the enormous and incredibly unfair social differences in Brazil, most customers of A, B (maybe even C) schools, will continue in the private education segment. This is because the worst economic impacts in Brazil will hit, as usual, the suffering basis of the social pyramid, which consists of the vast majority who did not have access to private education even before the pandemic.

I’m not saying there won’t be losses of customers. There will. That is inevitable and is already happening. And to avoid even worse losses, from clients that migrate within the private education market in search of better benefits, schools will need to make an effort to better understand the exact needs of their customers, in order to better support them and not lose them to the competition. 

The issue is that, when thinking about losing students to a competitive program or school system, a lot of school managers, principals, etc. fall in the price war trap, applying client-keeping discounts that, in the long run, will end up doing more harm than good. 

Commoditization happens inside customers’ heads when our differentiation message, whatever our market, is not clear enough.

In one of the classes I teach at the Commercial and Market Intelligence MBAs at Live University, we talk about the “commoditization” that happens inside customers’ heads when our differentiation message, whatever our market, is not clear enough. But how can we do that? Well, first you have to genuinely understand your customer and their pains and needs. When you do so, it’s going to be easier for you to add up perceived value to your educational solution. And by doing this with a good strategy, you won’t need to seduce customers with discounts that can “addict” them to these financial advantages. Instead you will be able to better satisfy their needs and deliver a customized service to your customers.

In regards to private education, instead of offering discounts to try and keep customers (of course one or another discount may be inevitable), systems should offer customized, tailor-made, solutions to the different parents. And they can only do that by diversifying their portfolio of options. Yes, they should keep offering the basic frame, without any options, maybe for a discounted price to reflect the crisis, but they should also diversify the portfolio of options, so that they can please a larger number of parents and students with different interests, focus, and budgets.

Insights into Quality Private Education & Online Learning

So, the suggestions and helpful tips I’d like to give to my school manager friends who end up reading this article are: 

  1. Invest on detailed research with the families to understand what kind of activities and solutions they’d be more interested in the period post-Covid-19.
  2. Diversify your portfolio of options, considering different online possibilities, which will tend to be, for obvious reasons, the star in the “new normal.”
  3. Choose options that allow you to use and abuse the digital world. Remember that the “new normal” will see a real boom in online education. So, options that allow you to apply modern concepts like blended learning, the flipped classroom, inquiry-based learning, etc. will have a strong appeal with families.
  4. Define the pricing for bundles in a way that it benefits families who choose a more complete frame of options.
  5. Market tendencies can help your choice of options, too. In November 2019, for example, just a couple of months before the Covid-19 pandemic took over the world, the well-known magazine Exame, published an article with data showing that the number of Brazilian students in American universities has grown 9.8% compared to 2018. So, when we look at this data and the growing number of schools implementing bilingual programs from Kindergarten to the ninth grade, a good optional offer to your Ensino Médio students would be ADVANTAGES Digital Learning Solutions High School Dual Diploma.
  6. Do not fall into traps. Remember that your objective as a school manager, principal, etc. is to offer good quality education in a customized bundle to the different families according to their needs. But offering a digital solution that is not able to really engage your students with interesting content and diversified media support, might end up being worse than not offering anything at all. Remember that the online teaching world is different than the face-to-face teaching world.

Check out our ADVANTAGES Digital Learning Blog for past blog articles related to online private education. If you and your team want to know more about how the ADVANTAGES Digital Learning Solutions award-winning portfolio can help your school with the “new normal” in Brazil, get in touch with me at etrindade@advantages-dls.com.

Eduardo Trindade has worked for over 28 years in the educational market, for both schools and publishers all over Latin America.  He is a graduate from Unisinos in journalism, and holds an MBA in Business Management from USP, as well as a specialization for teachers of English from the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, in England. Eduardo has studied professional coaching both at the Oxford Sales Academy and at the Professional Coaching Alliance. He has also taken several teacher development courses and participated in several seminars as a speaker in the whole of Latin America and in the U.K., and holds a C2 level IELTS certificate. In 2016, Eduardo started his own company to provide consultancy and training services for companies in general, as well as editing and authoring services for publishers.  Currently, besides being Country Head for ADVANTAGES Digital Learning Solutions in Brazil, Eduardo is a business owner, MBA professor, author, editor, teacher educator, mentor, and coach.