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Online education: the next big thing in India
January 25, 2016, 1:09 pm

The education sector in India is no longer bound to just classrooms. Thanks to new start-ups and higher internet and smartphone penetration, the online learning space in India is growing manifold. Currently, online training in India focuses equally on school and college-based courses, as well as mid-level professional courses. The e-learning market in India is estimated to be around $3 billion. The central government's efforts to make digital learning available to students in every corner of the country are also aiding the sector.

Another reason why online training will gain momentum is because of the need for re-skilling. For instance, about a decade ago, all that a software professional was required to know were programming languages. Now these professionals need to update themselves on other aspects like big data analytics and cloud computing.

India’s vast size and rapid development mean there is always a shortage of professors in professional courses. With a record 3.2 million students currently enrolled in university-level engineering programs, there are not enough experts to teach everyone in person. And, in some rural colleges, essential courses cannot even be offered due to shortage of qualified staff. One way to fix this predicament is for online courses to have a bigger role in professional education.

For aspiring Indian engineers and scientists, online credentials also offer a way to stand out from the crowd. Coursera, an online education source for online classes from top universities and educational organizations, says its most popular offering in India is an intensely practical University of Maryland course on how to build mobile applications for Android devices.

Already, companies including Google, Wipro, Infosys, Infineon, and Microsoft have hired Indian engineers with online-education credentials, though such achievements do not yet factor into recruiting standards in a consistent way. Thousands of Indian engineers now list schools such as Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon as part of their educational background on LinkedIn, based solely on completion of online courses offered by professors at those US universities.


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