Ajit Chauhan is chairman of the Noida-based Amity University Online (AUO, estb.2005), the online education division of the top-ranked private Amity University (AU, estb.2003) which has nine campuses in India and 13 abroad. AUO is a global online university offering UGC-approved undergrad, postgrad degree and diploma study programmes in management, media and journalism, arts, information technology, commerce, travel and tourism, and finance.
Newspeg. Last September, AUO was granted the University Grants Commission’s approval for 24 of its graduate (three-year) and Masters degree and diploma programmes. Only 60 of India’s 993 universities qualified for UGC approval to offer online degree programmes with AUO being the first to be greenlighted.
History. An entrepreneurship and marketing postgrad of Babson College, Boston, ESADE Business School, Barcelona (Spain) and SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan (Italy), Chauhan started working full-time with the family-promoted Ritnand Balved Education Foundation (regst.1986), which runs the Amity Group of education institutions, in 2004. In 2012, he was appointed chairman of AUO and Amity Future Academy, an online skills development portal for working professionals.
A self-confessed IT geek and afficianado, Chauhan has spearheaded the group’s ambitious digital learning initiatives including Moocs (massive open online courses) for over seven years and partnered with the Union HRD ministry for delivering certificate, diploma and degree courses to over 40,000 students in 53 African countries including Botswana, Rwanda and Ghana under the ministry’s Pan Africa e-network project. “The successful delivery of high-level educational content to several African countries through satellite communication and fibre optics has provided a huge boost to our confidence. Since then we have equipped AUO to transform into a full-fledged online university that offers 22 study programmes to over 50,000 students in India and abroad,” says Chauhan.
Direct talk. “AUO was founded as the distance learning arm of Amity University 14 years ago to provide world-class online degree and diploma programmes to students beyond reach of brick and mortar higher education institutions. Designed to suit full-time students and working professionals, AUO offers day-night live lectures, continuous assessment of students’ progress through tests and assignments, personality development modules and placement support. Our high-quality online study programmes which adhere to UGC’s stringent criteria, are on a par with campus classes at Amity University, if not better,” enthuses Chauhan.
AUO’s tuition fees for diploma, undergrad and Masters programmes range between Rs.1.5-2.5 lakh per year.
Future plans. Encouraged by public recognition and response to AUO’s menu of online UGC approved study programmes, Chauhan’s goal is to reach 3 million learners worldwide over the next three years. “Our plan is to add more study programmes to our menu of courses to reach students around the world. Simultaneously, we will partner with industry to update course content and enhance the employability skills of our students,” vows Chauhan.
Wind in your sails!
Shraddha Goled (Bangalore)