INDIA
November 2007

INDIA

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TN to set up ICT academy
The Tamil Nadu Government will set up an ICT Academy under public-private partnership to develop and maintain a world class ICT industry-related curriculum and content for students across the state.

The process of setting up the academy was in the advanced stage and a few companies had signed up to become partners. The academy, to function as a non-profit autonomous organisation, would develop curriculum and content to address gaps in specific
technical as well as management areas. It would be made available to students and faculty through an online portal. Specialised training to the faculty and industry-related training programme to students would also be provided.

NCERT trains academicians from Afghanistan
The National Council of Educational Research and Training, India has organised a 40-day-long training-cum-workshop programme for academicians from Afghanistan, with a view to help them strengthen their elementary education system.

The 40-member delegation comprised teacher educators and academics was headed by Seddiq Weera, a senior policy advisor in Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education. The training programme applies a multi-method approach that includes lectures, group-discussion and group-work. District Institutes of Education and Training and schools in Delhi as well as two Regional Institutes of Education in Ajmer and Mysore would help them give experience at the field level.

e-Learning portal for company secretaries foundation programme The Union Minister of Railways Shri Lalu Prasad has launched e-Learning portal for Company Secretaries (CS) Foundation Programme at the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) Foundation Day function.

As a first step to this direction, the e-Learning portal of ICSI would be imparted to the students of the CS Foundation Programme. In the second phase, the training would be imparted to the students of Executives and Professional Programmes. Under the system, the students would be imparted coaching through web based training. A nominal annual of INR250/- only would be charged from the Foundation Programme students for availing the services at the e-Learning portal.

Info Edge plans to get into education
Info Edge (India), the Internet company known for its online job site Naukri.com, has earmarked about INR 50 crore to fund the expansion of its other portals and launch a new portal in the education space. This is part of the about INR 170 crore raised by the company in its IPO last year.

The company plans to launch a portal that will bring together colleges and students seeking college admission. The portal would be launched in the next six months. It may also invest in e-Learning and overseas education initiatives of other Internet companies. Two
months ago, the company launched ‘asknaukri.com’, a career guidance Web site that has so far registered about 6,000 queries.

India to have one million IPTV subscribers by 2011

India will have one million IPTV subscribers by 2011 but for it to succeed companies need to get their act together in the areas of access, content and technology. This was a point made at the IBE 2007 Conference in a session that examined IPTV’s growth prospects in India.

In terms of access, companies need to have fibre optic infrastructure. A strong DRM system is also needed; otherwise, content owners will be wary of parting with their offerings. IPTV offers the most robust DRM system which has made it easier for the
company to deal with the Hollywood studios. It has also tied up with companies like Satyam for  e-Learning. As time goes by, the company will also offer games on demand and music on demand.

Picsquare allows users to create their own photo website
Picsquare.com, an online photo sharing and printing company, has launched a new service which allows users to create their own photo website with a personalised domain name like manish.picsquare.com. The new service provides an option of selecting occasion based theme for the entire site or for an individual album.

The photo site creation platform will differentiate Picsquare from competitors and has tremendous value add to Picsquare users.

CollegeMantra.com to help students find the ‘right’ college, course

Delhi-based start-up Mantra Consulting has launched CollegeMantra.com, an online college search portal that aims to help students find the right college and course, network with students from that college to get inside information, compare colleges, view their ratings, and ask experts from specific fields to answer questions.

According to the company, CollegeMantra.com currently hosts information on over 5,000 colleges and more than 28,000 courses. The site also claims to have over 300 experts to answer students’ questions. Soon students will be able to purchase prospectuses and admission forms online and fill in a single form to apply to multiple colleges.

Extramarks in talks with VC firms to raise  fund

Extramarks.com, an online education site that offers after-school academic support to Indian students of classes VI to XII based on the NCERT syllabus, plans to raise USD5-million (around INR 20 crore) venture capital fund to launch its services in UK and US and introduce syllabus for higher education and curricula of state educational boards.

Promoted by Noida -based BPO firm Cleave Global e-Services, the portal is in talks with three VC firms and is expected to close a deal soon, reports Business Standard. Cleave Global is eying revenues of INR10 crore from Extramarks.com during 2008-09. The portal charges INR1,200 per year for providing expert guidance to its paid members.

UniGuru.com launched to help students looking for courses abroad

Hotcourses, a UK-based publisher of guides to education, has launched UniGuru.com for Indian students looking for courses in higher education institutes abroad.

The website offers peer-to-peer advice on over 100,000 courses at 808 institutions in UK, US, Singapore and Australia. The company also plans to launch a similar site for domestic universities in India next year. UniGuru will feature written posts, video diaries and photographs from existing students about aspects of their lives and studies, including the quality of the course, advice on visas, the weather, city life, accommodation and the cost of living.

India based Upside Learning Wins Apex Publication Excellence Award

Upside Learning, a fast growing India based e-Learning organisation has won Apex Grand Award in the Apex 2007 Awards for Publication Excellence.

Fire Safety and Prevention is an e-Learning course created for Tooling University, Ohio, USA, by Upside Learning. The course has entered in the Electronic and Video Publications category under the Education and Training sub-category. The Apex Awards are presented annually to recognise excellence in graphic design, editorial content, and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. Fire Safety and Prevention is a simulation-based e-Learning program targeted at students enrolled in online classes, with the aim of reinforcing their learning through engaging and interactive content.
Indian Institute of IT and Management offers e-Content for engineering

The Indian Institute of Information Technology Management-Kerala (IIITM-K) has developed a site offering e-Content for some 230 engineering courses.

The materials for the undergraduate engineering curriculum in the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)-approved engineering colleges are available on the website. 110 courses are in the form of full length recorded video lectures covering some 40 lecture hours per course and as web-based supplementary learning materials for some 130 courses. The web content is also hosted at IIT Madras.

At present, courses are available in core sciences, computer science, civil, mechanical, electronics and electrical engineering related subjects. The contents were developed in association with the ministry of human resources development’s National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) helped by over 320 faculty members of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

SNIA India to expand its education initiative

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) India, the apex storage networking industry body, has announced its plans to expand its education initiative through the appointment of select technical education institutes and universities in the country as its education franchise partner.

SNIA said, the disk storage systems in India are growing at 68.8% CAGR from 4 Petabytes (PB) in 2003 to 56 PB in 2008. The external storage market in India is expected to hit USD300 million mark in terms of value and about 160,000 TB in terms of volume by 2010. The availability of trained storage networking professionals is not in accordance with the growth the industry has witnessed in the recent past and this has been a serious impediment for industry’s growth in general. SNIA India aims to address this issue by making its curriculum and courses available at education centers of repute. SNIA India has prepared a detailed charter for the same, which defines certain qualifying criteria for an institute or university to be selected as its franchise partner.

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