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Online education picks up in India

November 07, 2005 11:44 IST

From Gurukul to online mode, education has become an ever-changing sector now breaching geographical boundaries to reach out to people across the globe.

Now the focus is on imparting education through Internet doing away with teaching in classrooms. Scores of online agencies have come up during the last half-decade offering ample scope for students get degrees and diplomas sitting at home.

They include Universitas 21 Global, University of Phoenix Online and American InterContinental University Online.

CEO of Universitas 21 Global, a Singapore based online agency, Mukesh Aghi says that studies on web is fast picking up among the working professionals.

"Online courses are more preferred by people, who are hard-pressed with work and yet eager to study. Nearly 50 per cent of our students are working professionals," he says. The agency, offering courses in MBA and Masters in Travel and Tourism Management since 2003, have about 1100 students including around 350 from India alone.

"The response is encouraging from students from India and Middle East. Nearly 50 per cent of the Indian students are sponsored by their respective companies," he says. However, pursuing courses in these online agencies also involves risk of facing problem to capitalise the certificates for government jobs or further academic purpose.

"The certificates of these agencies may not be recognised by government in many countries including India. The students could face problem to pursue higher studies in general universities," feels Prof K B Pawar, the former Secretary General of Association of Indian Universities, a body with 277universities in India as its members.

However Aghi says, Universitas 21 Global was born with support of 17 reputed universities including University of Nottingham, University of Melbourne and University of Auckland, and the quality of education was on par with any other general university.

"The new mode of education ensures quality on par with the regular mode of one-to-one class room teaching. The course curricula and teaching is no way less than the general mode," says Prof Colin Campbel, vice chancellor, University of Nottingham, who was in New Delhi recently.

Campbell says setting up of institutions for providing education is gradually becoming a burden on countries, hence online education is seen as an answer. "Given the rise in demand for education, no country can afford to establish institutes to meet the need," he says.

"The canvas of education has grown manifold making it the second largest industry with an estimated transaction of $ 2.5 trillion annually at the international arena," he says.

The US is the biggest beneficiary as it earns about $12 billion a year from education. UK and Australia are also major players in this segment, he says. 

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