Corporate Diary: Aug 2007
August 2007

Corporate Diary: Aug 2007

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Educomp to invest INR 255 cr in school venture

To facilitate the setting up of 100 schools across the country, education company Educomp Solutions Ltd plans to invest INR 255 crore in the first round.

While INR 55 crore will be invested by the company via equity in its subsidiaries, Educomp Infrastructure and Educomp School Management Company, the rest of the investment will be arranged through debt. The company had earlier announced setting up 100 schools in the country in the next three years. The company is so far engaged in providing digital infrastructure and content to schools, apart from offering professional development and online tutorial services.

The company is also entering into partnerships with real estate developers such as with the Delhi-based DLF Ltd that gives Educomp a preference to set up schools in all the townships that the real estate firms develops. Most of the Educomp schools would be based on the Central Board of Secondary Education curriculum. However, the company would run some international boards in some of its schools.

McGraw-Hill offers interactive learning through iPod

McGraw-Hill Higher Education, a premier provider of print and digital teaching and learning solutions for the post-secondary and higher-education markets, is the first major educational publisher to offer college-level content for the iQuiz game application on Apple’s iPod.

McGraw-Hill Higher Education’s EZ Test Online programme can create and deliver multiple-choice or true/false quiz questions using iQuiz for iPod. EZ Test Online combines high quality content with the ability to prepare and deliver tests to students in a variety of ways. To set up and deliver a quiz to students via iPod, instructors simply press the iQuiz button in EZ Test Online to export a quiz ready for use with iQuiz. Once students download the quiz into their iPod, they can use the interactive iQuiz to practice and learn the content specific for their course. Students can quickly self-assess and receive their quiz scores instantly. EZ Test Online is accessible to busy instructors virtually anywhere via the Web, and the programme eliminates the need for them to install test software.

MBD launches online tutorial service for Indian students

Publishing house MBD has launched online tutorial guidelines for schoolchildren as well as for those preparing are engineering and medical entrance examinations in India.Initially, the company has invested around INR 20 million to offer three months to two years courses for standard 10 and 12. The company has launched this service for the Central Board of Secondary Education and the AIEEE (engineering entrance) and the AIPMT (medical entrance) aspirants. The company has tied up with the Internet service provider, Sify, so that students can study at any Sify I-Ways Internet kiosk at no extra cost. The tutorial will come at INR 150 per month per subject.

Learnsmart launches online tool for Indian students

Learnsmart India Private Limited has launched an online diagnostic and self-assessment tool for Indian students of Std III to X.

Learnsmart is a joint venture initiative by Hyderabad-based service-oriented architecture (SOA) and web services integration provider BodhTree Consulting, and Unified Council, a provider of educational assessment services. Christened 24X7guru.com, the tool combines Unified Council’s education content and BodhTree’s online diagnostic and assessment engine. Students can evaluate their learning proficiency by answering questions about the subjects they study in school. The portal then scores those answers and demonstrates to students their strengths and weaknesses. Initially, 24X7guru.com will offer student’s online assessment services for CBSE-based science and mathematics. A student can take as many as 45 such tests per year by paying INR 3 to INR 5 per day, depending on the class.

m-Learning gears up in India

India-based Enable Mobile Technologies is planning to offer coaching for engineering and medical college entrance exams, specific vocational training and language training through mobile phones.

The company has partnered with coaching institute IMS to launch this service. The service will allow telecoms operator to enable users to prepare for MBA entrance exams. The service, ‘the Prep Guide’, is a multi application service tailor-made to suit content. User would be able to receive words for practice through SMS or access them through WAP. But for mock interviews, the delivery format will be different like a voice-based application or audio-cum-video interaction-via-mobile and a dedicated portal that allows a group of six-seven members to log on and communicate in real time. The company is working on technology to facilitate group discussions and counseling via mobile phones.

Intel introduces Classmate PCs in Pakistan

Intel Pakistan Corporation has introduced the Intel-Powered Classmate PC in Pakistan, which would be used by students of classes VI to VIII in classrooms under the supervision of teachers and with the added option of parental guidance.

The Classmate PC is designed to provide affordable, collaborative learning environments for students and equip them with technology. The company has selected two government schools in Islamabad and one each in Lahore and Karachi. The Classmate PC has two versions. The first one is only 7-inch long with a price of USD 230-240. It will be limited to the school segment only and will not be sold in the market. The other version is a 9-inch PC priced at USD 375-400 and meant to be sold in the markets.

IT cos log in to train employees

Faced with a global spread of workforce and their shrinking life span of technical skills, IT companies are increasingly investing in e-Learning solutions to enhance the competency levels of their employees. Companies such as Wipro, Satyam, Accenture and Agilent are increasing their expenditure on online training by about 30% every year, in what is estimated to have become a INR 1,000-crore industry today.

Companies feel online training not just add value to the workplace, it’s crucial for their success. SLW is the in-house online training division of Satyam Computers offering 5,000 online courses for its employees. Satyam spent close to INR 2.5 crore on SLW last year and is planning to increase it by almost 40% to INR 3.5 crore this year.

Satyam is planning to shift 70-80% of its training curriculum online, particularly at the entry level. This is because at the entry level the training imparted is more technical as against that for higher positions where a priority is given to classroom training. Others are also following a similar strategy.

Accenture has tied-up with XLRI (Jamshedpur) for a two-year online course in human capital management.

It also has a tie-up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a five month course in technical and domain skills.

Other companies have also struck such partnerships. For instance, Satyam has recently struck an arrangement with Universitas 21 Global, a Singapore based e-Learning portal, for a certificate course on global leadership and with management consultancy Mckinsey for a programme on sales and consultancy. Agilent India has done the same with Globe Smart, Harvard Manager Mentor and Wharton for various short-term online management and technical programmes. Companies are also developing courses in-house. For instance, Agilent offer over 100 courses, 60% of which are developed in-house. Similarly, Wipro offers over 2,000 online titles, of which over 100 have been developed internally. About 5% of Wipro’s overall training budget goes into online training, which fulfills the learning needs of fundamentals of key business areas such as banking, insurance, telecom, manufacturing and retail. deploying “DigitALly”, an educational tool from Bangalore based Edurite Technologies, one of the leading e-Learning curriculum content providers in India.

“DigitALly” is a multimedia resource library from Edurite for delivery of subjects like Mathematics and Science in a collaborative way in the class rooms. This tool can be used by the teachers in the K-12 (kindergarten to class 12) to enhance the teaching with animations, videos and diagrams. “DigitALly” is capable of helping teachers to easily create custom lessons by providing rich resources that simultaneously engage students in technology and subject area curriculum.

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