There was an IDEA Cellular ad where a kid was denied admission in the city and our Sirjee gets a brilliant idea and sets up schools in each village through a mobile phone.
That is virtual education by extending the classrooms in a virtual way. That idea is a ahead of its time and with the current GPRS and bandwidth is not possible, though its Walk and Talk campaign is much better.
The idea by IDEA is a good one. That in fact looks like the only solution to empower millions of rural youth across India. IGNOU has collaborated with Srei Sahaj e-Village Limited (a subsidiary of SREI Infrastructure) to set-up online universities across villages through the common service centres. There are 27,255 CSC’s across Assam, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Though it is relatively new in India, the online education (or eLearning) has caught the fancy of the US for a while now. There are many online universities which offer courses and degrees.
Without our knowledge the eLearning industry is growing. It is estimated to be at $1b in the US alone and is growing at 40%. If rightly tapped and delivered this could be much bigger in India.
In India the recent private equity investments in the education and eLearning industry are a good indication of things to come. Helix investments just invested $10 million in Learning Mate a eLearning education solutions provider. This is the second round of funding for Learning Mate as it has already received money from Carlyle group.
Mysore based Excelsoft Technologies, Brainvisa Technologies and Pre-Media Global USA Inc (PMG) are the other companies operating in eLearning space and PE’s are betting big on them.
India has already started its journey with online or virtual education. The much coveted CAT for MBA admission is going online this year. Magadh university of Bihar is offering online degrees to avoid duplicate and fake certificates. Delhi University became the first central university in the country to conduct an online examination much before CAT.
Even India Inc. is now offering online MBA Degrees to their employees through tie-ups with well known International Universities
If you want to be educated via eLearning then there are lot of opportunities. Many universities are offering their courses online and sometimes for free. The most important of them all is the University for All. The whole learning in this university is virtual and best of all it is free for all.
Looks like eLearning is the way forward because of its reach. However India’s education system has long been a traditional set-up left by the British. It is dominated by the master, students and exams routine.
Can it adapt and make good of the new found freedom offered by eLearning? Most importantly – Is India ready for eLearning?
Side Note: A startup in Pune is looking for experienced e-learning professionals (Design & Development). Drop a mail at arun AT trak.in if interested.