Corporate Diary: Dec 2007

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NIIT, NComputing team up for low-cost education in schools

IT training and global talent development company NIIT has entered into an alliance with US-based NComputing Inc, a provider of virtual PC solutions, to enable schools across India to offer affordable computer education to students.

NIIT, which offers computer and computer-aided education to 1.5 million students in over 5,000 schools, would bring its expertise and reach in schools while NComputing would offer its technology. The new partnership aims to promote NComputing’s shared computing solution from the Kindergarten to 12th standard education system.

NIIT partners with US company to introduce Math Lab
NIIT Ltd, an Indian IT training company, has announced an alliance with the US-based Key Curriculum Press Inc, a provider of software research and development for Mathematics Education, to introduce ‘Mathematics Laboratories’ in Indian schools.

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‘Math Lab’ is intended to enable school students to learn and explore mathematical concepts and verify mathematical facts and  theorems using technology tools such as ‘The Geometer’s Sketchpad’, together with hands-on activities using a variety of mathematical models.

TutorVista announces acquisition of Edurite Technologies, the lonline education leader has announced its acquisition of Edurite Technologies – a domain expert in the Indian education segment and developer of education course materials.

With this acquisition, TutorVista has jump started its operations in India. This partnership will allow leveraging education content, technology and Internet marketing expertise to bring affordable education across the country. TutorVista has over 150 students studying in their pilot tutoring center in Bangalore and are looking at expanding to over 50 centers across India in the next 12 months. Edurite has over 100 multimedia curriculum based products for institutions and retail segment. Edurite course material is available for all the leading national and state syllabi, such as CBSE, ICSE, SSC, SSLC and so on. Equipped with an in-house library of Reusable Learning Objects, Edurite has created over 5000 animations and 200 hours of video and several diagrams which can be used to suit any curriculum.

The new entity will be known as TutorVista Education India Pvt. Ltd. and will be monetized separately. Purushotham, President – Education Programs, TutorVista will be leading the charge for Education Programs He was heading NIIT’s education business
till 2002.

eSquareworld Academia partners with HughesNet Global Education
eSquareworld Academia, part of eSquareworld, Dubai-Knowledge Village based education provider and HughesNet Global Education,
a division of Hughes Communications India – a leading provider of broadband satellite networks and services, have announced to join hands to set up the first Interactive Onsite Learning centre at Dubai Knowledge Village.

The courses currently being offered from IIM Calcutta are the Executive Programme on Leadership for Young Managers and the Executive Programme in Sales and Marketing. Designed by management experts and acclaimed by the industry, these courses have been thoughtfully designed with structured online modules ensuring flexibility for the students and cutting-edge curriculum and certifications from some of the best institutes in India. The students will be able to interact with the instructor in real time using a high end multimedia personal computer that is used at all the HughesNet Global Education centres. Subsequently the Dubai centre will also offer the courses from the other institutes of India like Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode; XLRI, Jamshedpur; Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi; Indian Institute of Foreign Trade; and Mudra Institute of Communication (MICA), Ahmedabad.

Blackboard partners with Sony for smart card
The US based education technology developer Blackboard has partnered with Sony to deliver support for Sony’s smart card technology in its Blackboard Commerce Suite for use with campus
ID cards.

Blackboard will support the FeliCa contactless IC card technology from Sony. A contactless IC card is type of smart card with integrated circuits that uses radio frequency to communicate with card readers and, in this case, card writers as well, allowing  data stored in the card itself to be updated. This will allow students to use a single card for payments, ID, security access, and various other transactions. FeliCa technology is currently used in about 250 million cards and mobile phones.

IBM joins hands with business intelligence tech. firm Cognos

IBM has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the US based Cognos, a firm that provides business intelligence technologies to K-12 and higher education and other sectors.

The deal is still dependent on shareholder and regulatory approval and other conditions but is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008 and is valued at about $5 billion. Cognos is a provider of several technologies used in education, including alumni management, enrollment and tuition planning, finance, human resources, marketing, and other business intelligence and performance management solutions based on open standards and built on a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

PRODUCTS and Projects

Online tool to help students evaluate themselves
Learnsmart India, a joint venture between BodhTree Consulting and Unified Council, will expand its academic-oriented projects targeting students from standard I to standard 12.

The company that has launched, an online diagnostic and self-assessment tool for the high school and intermediate students, is planning to add state syllabus by next month. The online learning initiative started off with CBSE and ICSE syllabi. Initially, it had 4,000 students and now the number has increased to 4.5 lakh. It sets a target to cater to one million students by 2008-09. Learnsmart will add six states’ syllabi by January and International Baccalaurete by December. It will launch another academic-oriented product in next year, which will be five times bigger than the ongoing venture.

Venture capital funds online education, e-Learning in India
Indian companies received more than $74 million (INR290.8 crore) venture capital funding in October 2007. Deals included investments in sectors ranging between e-Learning, digital media and engineering solutions outsourcing.

Online education and e-Learning services emerged as the flavour of the season as venture capital firms struck three deals in this space in the last month – Mumbai-based Hurix Systems Pvt. Ltd received $5.1 million from Helion Venture Partners;, an online tutorials company started by serial entrepreneur K. Ganesh, received $2.5 million from Manipal Education Group; Mumbai- ased e-Learning services company 24×7 Learning Solutions Pvt. Ltd received $4 million from Capital18, the venture capital arm of media group Network18. All three companies have had earlier rounds of funding.

Why students feel nervous when examinations are round the corner? The reason is simple either they haven’t prepared well or don’t know how far they do it better. This is where the concept and the online venture plays a vital role in eliminating fear in the minds of students. The total investment in the venture is expected to touch $7.5 million by March 2009. Learnsmart India is mulling over a plan to spread concept to other countries. The online project is aimed at enlightening the students right from understanding concepts to several application methodologies of what they studied.

YouTube moves into education

Richard Muller, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley is offering semester-long course on YouTube with help from Berkeley University and Google’s video-sharing site.

Berkeley University is the first university which is bringing higher education to the web in this manner. While Harvard University is bringing a law course through its extension program. Berkeley has opened the virtual doors of its university to the world at large. Under its partnership with YouTube, students can also view other parts of the university like campus life and events. Berkeley has its own 30-second promotional video, called “You see Berkeley,” on its YouTube page. The content also works as a marketing tool to help strengthen alumni ties and expand community outreach. Berkeley has also launched a podcasting partnership for courses with iTunes. Currently, Berkeley has 1.3 million views and 700,000 downloads on its three channels run on its page.

Ford India launches education project

Ford India in association with Confederation of Indian Industry
(CII) has launched an educational project to improve the educational infrastructure and quality of education of government-aided schools in Tamil Nadu.

The project would provide education, guidance and counseling to children at an important stage of their life with the help of both parents and teachers. For students, the module aims at motivation towards studies, holistic development by renowned trainers and successful people from corporate and public circuits, facilitating students to develop skills such as memory, reading, writing and concentration skills. For teachers in the government-aided schools, the project would provide training through workshops. Apart from educating parents on psychological impact of the primary system on the growth and development of the child, the programme would enlighten them on their roles and responsibilities as parents, the impact of education on the child’s future and career opportunities and their role in career planning..

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