Even though India is one of the fastest emerging markets, the lack of skilled resources are a major deterrent to the progress of the nation. With 60 per cent of the population below 35 years of age, it is a challenge for the government to convert the power of the youth for development of the nation.
Initiatives towards achieving this aim includes the Skill India Mission, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, where he highlighted the potential for skilled Indian youth to be recognized around the world.
Education is one of the primary channels of imparting knowledge and skill. At a time when the number of internet users in the country is expected to go up to 50 crore from the present over 40 crore in next 5-8 months as announced by Indian Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently, it is not surprising to note that online education companies providing quality technical education are gearing up to make their presence felt in the Indian market, predicted to grow to $40 billion by 2017.
A global market place for online education in India
SKILLSdox, a Canadian online education company is collaborating with edX an online learning destination and massive open online course (MOOC) provider offering high-quality courses from the world's best universities and institutions to learners in India.
SKILLSdox has also secured a marketing budget worth $30 million from none other than Bennett Coleman and Co., India's largest media conglomerate and owner of one The Times of India. The Canadian firm has collaborated with online learning providers that include Harvard-MIT founded edX and San Francisco based online course content provider Udemy.
"The combination of a large amount of people to train, the shortage of skilled teachers and a focus on digitalization of the country makes a prime opportunity for online education. Through School of Skill, a partnership with edX and our investment from BCCL, we have the right mix to help connect the country to quality education," said Brad Loiselle, President/CEO SKILLSdox.
Archroma, a color and specialty chemicals company, and DKTE Society's Textile and Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji for Technical Textiles (DKTE), based in Kolhapur, has entered into a five-year partnership aiming at sharing Archroma's expertise in the area of Technical Textiles and Non-wovens with the Institute's faculty and students.
Under the terms of the partnership, Archroma will provide training sessions, technical support and guidance to students of the Institute, who will have access to some of Archroma's technical laboratories in India and Switzerland for projects, experiments and trials.
Coursera, a Californian company which has 17 million registered students and free online courses from 140 universities, has recently partnered with Axis Bank to nurture and up skill its human capital through online certification courses from top global Universities. It is interesting to note that Times Internet was one of the venture funding firms supporting Coursera in 2015 to expand its global presence.
Coursera will design tailor-made curriculums for Axis bank employees to equip them with specialized skill sets in tune with today's ever changing industry demand covering topics like leadership, data analytics, innovative thinking, etc., chosen from among 1700 courses offered by top universities across the world.
India going digital
Underscoring the fact that India will have a surplus manpower of 4 to 5 crore over the next decade, the Prime Minister had emphasized the need to provide this youthful manpower with skills and ability to tackle global challenges, and warned that the demographic dividend would otherwise become a challenge in itself.
A survey reports that in 2016 an upward trend can be expected with higher number of enrolments for online education and skill enhancement from major tier-2 cities. The survey, conducted by Talentedge -an interactive education company, also identified media/entertainment and IT/ITES as two industries that will constantly seek skill development in 2016.
Even though the availability online education is a step forward towards digitizing the country, yet there are a few obstacles too like internet penetration and connectivity issues, credibility of the programme provider, affordability and even perhaps the hesitation to move away from the conventional system of learning, which have to be addressed to help connect the country to quality education.