Corporate News: August 2009

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TutorVista gains funds, eyes Global Expansion

In the third round funding of US$19 million, K Ganesh, Serial Entreprenuer, is preparing for an aggressive expansion globally. This would be accompanies by acquisition-led growth for his education venture TutorVista Global Pvt Ltd. In one of the largest venture funding rounds in recent times, the Bangalore based online education provider raised US$12.5 million from publishing giant based in UK, the Pearson Group and another US$6.5 million from the existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG). Major part of this capital would be used to expand in foreign markets. In India, it will be utilized for an acquisition overdrive of schools and school managements, besides tutorial companies in states where it does not have a presence.

Tech value amongst teachers

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Four teachers out of 20 finalists were honoured as the South African winners of the Fourth Annual Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum Awards, in Bryanston. Trudi van Wyk,  the Department of Education’s National Director of Curriculum Innovation, explained that the awards were a representation of the work done to formulate local communities of teachers who can share challenges, ideas and best practice solutions with their peers, supported by ICT. She commended the teachers, adding that their hard work will give the future leaders of SA the skills they will need for employability. With help of Web 2.0 multimedia technology, the teachers designed learning projects,  which includes content from social network sites such as Facebook, as well as blogging, video streaming, video conferencing, online network groups, virtual classrooms, cellphone photography and DVD compilations.

Cheryl Douglas, of Bishops High School, in Cape Town, was awarded the Innovation in Collaboration award for teaching her learners the way of using the social network to promote sustainability around climate change. Rae Gagiano, of Eunice High School, in Bloemfontein, was awarded the Innovation in Content prize by showing her learners how to create a virtual reality art museum using digital imagery. Hlengiwe Mfeka, of Mconjwana High School, in Pietermaritzburg, took home the Innovation in Context prize by enabling her Grade 10 learners to address community problems by using Web 2.0 technological tools. The awarded participants were chosen from a host of entries submitted by teachers around the country, all of whom used IT to make teaching in urban and rural schools more effective.

MoU between DST Group, Ericsson and 4 government schools

Utilisation of the latest laptops and high speed Internet broadband use by four schools’ students will enable students to become tech savvy, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between DST Group and Ericsson with the principals of the selected schools. DST group and Ericsson’s joint venture, the joint community ICT project, will bring about high-speed mobile Internet connectivity to schools, was brought together by DST Group and Ericsson. The selected schools included Tanjung Kindana Primary School, Berakas Secondary School, Pengiran Jaya Negara Secondary School and Sayyidina Othman Secondary School. The laptops and Internet broadband will be stationed in each school’s computer labs.

The project realises that education is an important area for the society and with high-speed connectivity and easy access to the Internet, learning can be made more efficient and effective.

NIS Sparta to open 50 Community Colleges with IGNOU

NIS Sparta, Asia’s leading Training, Education and Learning Solutions provider has been selected by IGNOU as a leading partner, to offer Education through Community Colleges in India. Over 50 NIS community colleges are to open as a part of this collaboration across the country. The concept of providing skill based courses through community colleges is new in India and is all set to take Education to new Mile. Certificate courses, Diploma Courses and Associate Degree programs are to be offered by NIS Sparta under this initiative. Admissions have begun and programs will be offered during July 2009 across India. The initiative is a leading path of the visions IGNOU and NIS Sparta share, that is, to provide affordable employability linked education to the local communities. After completing their 10th standard, students can additionally join a two year Associate degree course after completing the one-year of ‘Basic Preparatory Program’ (BPP) by IGNOU. This two year Associate Degree programme will be available to more than 2000 students initially. NIS Sparta, under the agreement will provide the out-reach network, make available classrooms in over 50 cities and deliver the program through certified faculty. IGNOU, in turn, shall conduct the examinations and award the Certificate, Diploma or Associate Degree whenever required. The beneficiaries under this NIS Community College initiative will be, school drop-outs, late entrants into higher education, and working people who find entry into the formal system rigid.

Microsoft and UNESCO partner for ICT implementation in Higher Education

Microsoft has partnered with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in an effort formulated to identify the opportunities offered by Information and Communication Technology for governments to drive change. Within the same context, the duo announced  the UNESCO-Microsoft Task Force on Higher Education and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education acted as the stage where Microsoft and UNESCO announced the creation of the task force. The task force aims to analyse conclusions presented by the WCHE as well as feedback from organisations involved in education worldwide

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