International Education


Pearson is the world leader in education publishing and related services outside North America. Over the past five years, this has been Pearson’s fastest-growing business, increasing sales at a headline compound annual growth rate of 16% (from £484m in 2004 to £866m in 2008) and operating profit five-fold (from £27m in 2004 to £135m in 2008). The business has achieved strong organic growth and successfully integrated a number of acquisitions including Edexcel, Harcourt International and PBM.

Looking ahead, we expect our International Education businesses to continue to benefit from a series of powerful growth trends: increasing public and private spending on education; growing participation rates in elementary, secondary and higher education; the demand for assessment to provide measures of achievement; the growing technology infrastructure in educational institutions; and the rise of English and other international languages.

In 2008, we made good progress on our strategic goals, extending our strong position in English language learning and educational technology, developing services for measuring and certifying student progress, and providing integrated solutions to help educational institutions achieve their goals. We also expanded our product range and geographic presence through the acquisitions of Harcourt International and Fronter. Sales increased by 11% to £866m and profits by 26% to £135m at constant exchange rates. Headline profit growth of 47% also benefited from some transactional foreign exchange gains.

£ millions 2008 2007 CER growth Underlying growth
Sales 866 735 11% 2%
Adjusted operating profit 135 92 26% 16%


In the UK, Edexcel received over 1.3 million registrations for vocational assessment which, when combined with more than 2.1 million registrations for general qualifications, made it one of the UK’s largest assessment organisations. Edexcel marked 4.3 million ‘A’-level and GCSE scripts onscreen, representing 88% of all student work marked by Edexcel examiners.

Edexcel was awarded the contract to administer the 2009 National Curriculum Tests for Key Stage 2 by the UK Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Edexcel made a significant investment in supporting the growth of academic and vocational qualifications both in the UK and internationally. These included the UK’s new Diploma qualification for 14–19 year-olds; the IGCSE qualifications to meet the needs of international schools and colleges; and BTEC, Edexcel’s flagship vocational qualification. In schools, BTEC registrations have grown from about 70,000 to 250,000 in the past two years.

‘MyLab’ digital learning, homework and assessment programmes were used internationally by more than 237,000 students, up 82% on 2007, and are now sold in more than 65 countries worldwide. MyLabs and Mastering Physics, two of Pearson’s online education programmes, continued to win international adoptions, increasingly with localised versions for individual markets.

Our UK school publishing business grew ahead of the market with the successful integration of Harcourt International. This was driven by curriculum reform and market share gains in the secondary market, helped by strong publishing, innovative technology and integrated assessment for learning.

The combination of Pearson content, customisation capabilities and technology supports strong performance in Higher Education and ELT across European markets including France, Benelux and Central & Eastern Europe.

Pearson announced the acquisition of Fronter, a learning platform (also known as a Learning Management System or ‘LMS’) which provides easy-to-use tools for secure online education and collaboration. The Fronter platform enables students to learn whenever and wherever they choose; review their personal study plan; submit assignments; communicate with teachers, peers and parents; and study on their own or in a group. Teachers use the platform to create, store and repurpose learning resources and coursework which their students access online. The platform includes more than 80 tools for teachers and students and is highly customisable in terms of functionality, design and language.

Africa and the Middle East

Pearson won a contract to deliver the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s external assessment programme over three years starting in 2009. The tests cover English, Arabic, mathematics and science for students in grades 3 to 11.

Pearson worked with Jordan’s Ministry of Education to build a test development system which has been enhanced to support the creation of test items and tests in Arabic, replacing a paper-based system.

Pearson announced its intention to increase its ownership in Maskew Miller Longman in South Africa, and bring together its education companies in the region into a new organisation, Pearson Southern Africa (85% owned by Pearson). The creation of Pearson Southern Africa will help Pearson deploy its global resources throughout the region, and better support students and teachers in such critical areas as assessment, teacher development and professional and vocational learning.

Pearson announced the acquisition of an additional 22% stake in Longman Nigeria, the leading educational publisher in Africa’s most populous country, taking our ownership to a controlling 51% stake. The business performed strongly in 2008 supported by an order for two million textbooks for mathematics and English by the states of Lagos and Bauchi.

Asia and Pacific

The New York Institute of Finance (NYIF) opened a Beijing office under the name of Pearson Financial Consulting to educate and train China’s financial and business professionals through classes, in-company courses and monthly financial forums.

In India, Pearson saw rapid sales growth underpinned by strong local publishing of titles including Macroeconomics by Errol D’Sousa of IIM Ahmedabad and Upinder Singh’s book on Ancient and Medieval Indian History. Two books published by Pearson Education won the First and Third Prize in the Delhi Management Association’s DMA-NTPC Awards.

In Thailand, Pearson secured its largest adoption of MyITLab outside North America at Sripatum University accompanied by the Go! Office 2007 series of textbooks.

Pearson was named Secondary Publisher of the Year 2008 at the Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing, based on factors including the quality of products, accuracy of information, quality of customer service, innovation of products and services, and prompt delivery of products. Successful and rapid Integration of Harcourt International. Good growth in higher education was supported by strong take-up of MyLab and Mastering products.

In China, Pearson acquired two chains of private English-language schools. 'Learning’ provides instruction for children aged five through 12, principally in Shanghai. Dell English offers English-language training to students typically between ages of 15 and 35, principally in Beijing.

Latin America

Rapid growth in Mexico, Pearson’s largest market in the region, with particularly strong growth in custom publishing. In English Language Teaching, we won an integrated custom publishing, academic support and services solutions contract with CONALEP, the national vocational/technical secondary programme. We developed a custom publishing programme for a leading test prep academy, CONAMAT, which included Simplified Mathematics, the best selling title of the programme, selling over 20,000 units.

In Panama, the Ministry of Education adopted Prentice Hall Virtual Labs and Lab Manuals for Chemistry and Biology for 75,000 high school students.

In Brazil, which has Latin America’s largest and fastest growing university population, Pearson provided custom publishing services to five leading universities in business, math, science, engineering and several other fields.

Growing Government tenders business in Maths and Science including the success of a new local math series for middle schools in Mexico and the adoption of two levels of our primary Science programme in Chile, adapted from our US Scott Foresman 5th/6th Grade programme, to support local curriculum standards in Spanish.

Strong growth of English Language Teaching materials across Latin America underpinned by performance in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Central America.

International Education key financial performance measures

Online learning users
Online results logins