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 Wired classrooms could be the next big thing

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PostSubject: Wired classrooms could be the next big thing   03/09/08, 08:21 pm

Today's classrooms are increasingly available through several channels — the TV set, internet, or a centre in a remote location which links to a prestigious institute — thanks to companies looking at long-term investments to turn education into a profitable, high-growth business.

Tata Communications is looking to cash in on the online tuition space and plans to build an online platform for individual teachers. Mukul Sood, head, content business, Tata Communications, says: “We currently provide training for corporate clients and Tata Group institutes. We plan to tap individual teachers for providing online tuitions, especially for competitive exams, as this is a huge market in India.”

The company intends to introduce an IT platform wherein, for every 2-hour class, the teacher would be required to pay approximately Rs 1,500. “The teacher has to use Tata Communication’s broadband connection and teach online as many students as he would want to. Tata could do the student fee collection too on behalf of the teacher,” adds Sood.

According to a CLSA Asia Pacific Markets report, the e-learning market is projected to grow to around Rs 1,100 crore by 2012 from 145 crore currently. Besides, online modules cost one-tenth that of a regular course.

The worldwide market for online tutoring is estimated to be in the region of Rs 46,800 crore. India now earns around Rs 60 crore per year from online tutoring or 10 per cent of the total market share, notes the CLSA report.

Everonn Systems India, a Chennai-based leading education and training company, has signed an agreement with Indian Institute of Management Indore (IIM-I) to offer management programmes through VSAT technology. The courses are expected to benefit working executives as well as self-employed graduates and are offered through Everonn’s education centres. As part of the arrangement, two programmes will be launched immediately, and more programmes will follow, notes Pawan Kumar Singh, director, IIM-I.

NIIT Imperia is also introducing virtual classrooms connected ‘live’ to teachers in management institutes. For the September 2008 cycle, it will introduce programmes offered in conjunction with management institutes like Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C), Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L) and Indian Institute of Management, Indore (IIM-I).

The programmes will cover a wide spectrum of areas like general management, family business management and financial management. In 18 months, over 2,500 professionals have studied at NIIT Imperia.

Graycell 18, a joint venture of Network 18 and Educomp, launched Topper TV last month, an interactive education service. Topper TV is currently available on direct-to-home or DTH television services for a yearly subscription of Rs 1,000 and has already got 40,000 students registered on its website.

Aptech, for instance, has had long experience in preparing content for computer-based and web-based training. Aptech is offering corporate training in multiple formats through internet and computers. If a company buys a course for a base price of

Rs 2 lakh, it can use it to train 300 users. So it proves cost-effective.

Amity University will soon launch Youth TV in Delhi. It is expected to cater to the educational and career-based needs of students. Anna University Chennai is planning a TV channel to aid distance education.

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