Corporate News
Febuary 2009

Corporate News

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Edexcel plans expansion in India



Edexcel is planning an expansion in India after spending 12 years in the education and training sector.  The expansion includes regional presence with new offices in Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai and diversification into products offering skill based modules.

The estimated cost of the expansion is INR 10 crore. Edexcel has already made in-roads into Indian academic space by representing vocational streams. It has partnered with Aptech and IGNOU for offering diploma programmes and is currently in talks with Educomp Solutions, Everonn Systems and Reliance Retail to bring in curriculum and teacher-student material for quality control.

Currently, almost 25,000 students have registered themselves for various Edexcel programmes. Future plans includes entering the soft skills space by offering 60 small modules on communication, interviewing skills and behaviour.

PPP model for medical education

To meet the shortage of medical professionals in India, the Government is considering to allow private sector investments under Public Private Partnership model in medical education. A proposal submitted to the Medical Council of India aims to attract private players to invest in medical education under relaxed norm of paying tax to the government on profits made.

Earlier, only governments, universities, trusts or charitable societies could set up medical colleges and private players had only a not-for-profit state. With the changed norms in place, private players are likely to face lesser entry barriers while making big investments in the medical education sector. The new guidelines seek to relax other rigid regulations such as land area restrictions and the teacher-to-student ratio.

Infra firms to set up in-house training institutes

Lack of trained staff is now becoming a major hurdle in roll-out of expansion plans for many infrastructure firms. Infra firms are now investing in setting up of engineering education and training colleges to internalise manpower requirements by providing education and training in the skills set as required by the industry. Such efforts have already taken off in Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) which plans for in-house engineering institutes to cater specifically to the needs of the power sector. Infrastructure player Larsen & Toubro (L&T) also plans to start an institute of project management, with the aim of developing managers with specialised skills spanning the engineering, procurement, construction and manufacturing sectors.

Mahendra ties with HP for digital archiving

In a drive to make Mahendra Engineering College (MEC) accessible to its students anytime anywhere, the company has inked a deal with Hewlett-Packard (HP) for help in implementing its DSpace Solution and ProCurve University initiative. DSpace software platform serves a variety of digital archiving needs for research and educational institutions worldwide including e-thesis, electronic record management, publishing, etc. The college has recently opted for a digital repository solution from HP. The repository could also house digitized course ware (such as NPTEL), project reports, e-books, workshop content, lab manuals, whitepapers and video lectures. All of these elements could potentially be enabled through web access, which basically means that a student can access this content from a remote location through the Internet.

BECTA urges schools to use technology

Schools have been urged to use technology both in their everyday operations and in the education process by the British schools IT agency (BECTA). The agency unveiled its Next Generation Learning Charter, which focuses on 'giving pupils an enriched and enhanced learning experience through the use of technology.' Schools will be encouraged to sign up to the charter to improve their educational processes. By signing the charter, they will have to meet certain expectations over the next three years including developing a shared vision for the use of technology and the greater integration of ICT and technology into the curriculum to enhance learning and support. The charter's mission is that through the use of technology students will improve learning and progress in the education process.

Leading industrialists launch School of Inspired Leadership

Leading industry captains including Max India chairman Analjit Singh, former director Eicher and founder Eicher Consultancy Services Anil Sachdev, former Chairman of Crompton Greaves K K Nohria, have announced the launch of School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL) in Gurgaon. The institute, positioned as a leadership and management school, will focus on building sustainable organisations. Others involved in the project include Nucleus Software founder Yogesh Andlay, former chairman of Eicher Group Vikram Lal, former director IIM Ahmedabad, Pradip Khandwalla, and member GMR Holding Board K Balasubramaniam.

SOIL has two inaugural programmes- HR leadership and business leadership, with enrollment capacity of 60 students in each of the two programmes. Both are one-year programmes and are targeted at graduates and experienced managers respectively. The first batch of students are expected to be enrolled in July '09.

CoCubes.com tie-up with unversities, companies for online placement

Gurgaon-based Via Human Resource Solution has said that its online venture CoCubes.com, which aims to connect companies and colleges for campus recruitments, has so far signed deals with over 50 universities and colleges to connect them with more than 20 corporate bodies for campus recruitments. CoCubes has till now conducted recruitments for large companies in over 100 campuses, thus providing employment to about 250 candidates. CoCubes.com plans to reach around 500 institutions in 2009.

CoCubes.com ties up with colleges and lists profiles of their students including video and text resumes. However, no individual job seeker can search for openings or post the CV. Companies can get in touch with CoCubes and list their openings.

Adobe launches new eLearning Suite

Adobe has launched version 2 of its Technical Communication Suite (TCS), and a new electronic learning system, dubbed Adobe eLearning Suite, which includes the latest version of Adobe Captivate. TCS is Adobe's package for authoring, managing and publishing technical information, and comprises an extended version of Acrobat Pro 9, together with Captivate 4, Framemaker 9, Photoshop CS4 and RoboHelp 8.

The eLearning Suite includes Captivate 4, Flash CS4, Dreamweaver CS4, Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended, Acrobat Pro, Presenter 7, Soundbooth CS4, Adobe Bridge CS4, and eLearning extensions to Flash and Dreamweaver. A major improvement in both new packages is the workflow between the individual point package upgrades.

New venture, school projects pull NIIT net down 60%

NIIT Ltd has reported a 60 % drop in its net profit for the quarter ended December 2008, to INR 5.5 crore on the back of new business launch, higher depreciation due to new projects and forex losses incurred by an associate firm. For the third quarter (October-December), the profit stood at INR 5.5 crore as compared to INR 13.9 crore in the year-ago period.

'The launch of new venture NIIT Uniqua and increased depreciation due to new school projects impacted the profit for the quarter. NIIT has expanded its presence to over 7,800 schools, an increase of 3,000 schools compared to the same quarter last year. The profit after tax also took a hit as NIIT Technologies, an associate of NIIT Ltd had reported a forex loss.

IIT Study Circle announces partnership with Vidya Mandir Classes and 100 Percentile

New Horizons India Limited (NHIL) has announced a strategic learning partnership between its business division IIT Study Circle (IITSC) and Vidya Mandir Classes, along with a technology partnership with 100 Percentile. The IITs across India offer a total of 6992 seats for which approximately 3.9 lakh students are expected to compete in the year 2010. An additional 4 lakh students are expected to compete for other engineering entrance exams. With this partnership IIT Study Circle will be able to reach out to discerning IIT aspirants across the country with the state of art programmes offered as classroom courses in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chandigarh. It will also offer correspondence courses to meet the wide demand for quality IIT coaching in the country.

BPO giants tie-up with IGNOU for training

BPO giants Accenture and Genpact have entered into an alliance with IGNOU and NIIT for providing training to those interested in  taking up BPO jobs as a career. The move comes following a change in the mindset of youngsters who have started taking this industry as a first option rather than a stopgap career opportunity.

The tie-up with IGNOU offers students a six-month diploma through a Central university. Either 12th graders or college graduates can avail this option. The programme is expected to be especially popular in Tier 2, 3, and 4 cities. This programme will be available in approximately 44 centres spread over 27 cities with 90 faculty members especially trained to roll out the programme. The first batch is scheduled to start in February 2009. The idea is to make these young people readily employable at BPOs. The course will use classroom learning, self learning and eLearning tools, paying attention to both process and industry specialisation.

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