India’s charge into online or e-learning, which offers the exciting prospect of making best quality higher education accessible to under-served youth in remote locations countrywide, is being led by several go-getting private sector companies and education institutions. Among the front-runners:
NIIT Ltd (estb. 1981; sales revenue: Rs.979.9 crore in the year ended March 31, 2009). Currently NIIT offers corporate-sponsored training over the internet to 3 million executives and e-learning programmes to 500,000 learners in India and abroad. Moreover its NIIT Imperia division in partnership with six highly-rated B-schools offers short-term online business mana-gement programmes for working professionals.
Educomp Solutions Ltd (estb. 1994; sales revenue: Rs.634.2 crore in fiscal 2008-2009). ESL provides IT infrastructure, digital content and teacher training services to 7,300 government and 1,267 private schools in 13 states across India. The company also offers online tutoring services, including the country’s largest broadband content portal for maths-help programs to school students in classes VI-XII.
Everonn Systems India Ltd (estb. 1987; sales revenue: Rs.121.38 crore in the year ended March 2009). Everonn delivers ICT solutions to 4,539 government and private schools in 11 states. Moreover it transmits supple-mentary and vocational education to 362 colleges countrywide through its pioneer interactive very small aperture terminal (Vsat) technology.
GurukulOnline Learning Solutions. GOLS (estb. 2001) offers its Learning Management System (LMS) and Live Virtual Class (LVC) services to corporates to enable them to deliver refresher and executive training. Moreover GOLS has signed partnership agreements with 23 education institutions, including Institute of Company Secretaries of India and Insurance Regulatory Development Authority to broadcast their study programmes to over 100,000 students.
TutorVista Global Ltd (estb. 2005). India’s most famous online tutoring company provides coaching in math, English and science to 10,000 students worldwide.
Amity University (estb. 2003). India’s largest private university offers online graduate and postgraduate diploma programmes in business management (in partnership with the Mumbai-based e-learning solutions provider GOLS) to 1,000 students in 45 countries around the world.
Sikkim Manipal University, Gangtok (estb. 2001) offers more than 40 learning programmes in the hybrid mode to 255,000 undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma students registered in 610 learning centres across the country. In these learning centres, students receive lectures and interactive instruction beamed via satellite technology from SMU’s specially-equipped studios.
Moreover several Central government-owned universities and institutions have also jumped onto the e-learning bangwagon, offering full-fledged degree programmes as well as supplementary learning. Prominent among them:
Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). India’s globally renowned seven IIMs offer executive management education programmes over the internet to working executives and managers.
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) pioneered virtual campus study programmes way back in 1999 and is currently the country’s largest distance education provider with an enrolment of 1.8 million students, 500,000 of whom have signed up for online degree programmes.
National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning is a joint initiative of seven IITs and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, funded by the Union HRD ministry to create web-based and video-based content for undergrad and postgrad science and engineering study programmes in two phases. Phase I was rolled out last year and Phase II will be completed by 2012.