EducateMe360 Fighting Illiteracy by bringing MOOC’s to India

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Although India has made great strides in recent years to become a global leader in Digital Technologies, illiteracy is still a nationwide epidemic that has yet to be resolved. More than a third of the Indian people cannot read or write.

Statistics On Indian Education

Statistics On Indian Education

Only 15% of all school-age children make it to the high school level with only 7% reaching graduation.

Although India has made great strides in recent years to become a global leader in Digital Technologies, illiteracy is still a nationwide epidemic that has yet to be resolved. More than a third of the Indian people cannot read or write.

The dark contrast between the rich and affluent areas of India such as Bangalore and the many neighbouring urban slums and rural villages cannot go unnoticed. To quote Nobel Prize Winning Economist Amartya Sen, "the danger of India moving in the direction of being half California and half sub-Saharan Africa is a real one."

Despite an increase in governmental financial investment in its educational systems over the past 60 years, only 15% of all school-age children make it to the high school level with only 7% reaching graduation. Furthermore, the lack of quality educational programs in India when compared with other major developing nations is staggering. Census data from 2008 indicates that the post-secondary educational institutions have only enough room for 7% of India's college-age student population while nearly 25% of the required teaching positions remain vacant and 57% of college and university professors are lacking either a Master's or Doctoral post-graduate degree.

The data gets worse. Despite all of these obstacles, Universities in India still manage to graduate 3 million college students per year, yet only 15% of them have the necessary educational background to acquire employment.

As a result, a New York-based start-up company has recently announced plans to bring a new concept of Massive Open Online Courses, or "MOOC's", to India. These free online college courses are offered from top ranking universities including Harvard, Stanford and MIT. Indian students are enrolling in droves.

A drawback that students face from attending these MOOC's, which currently are mostly offered from only U.S.-based institutions of higher learning, is that the educational content is not yet specifically tailored to the diverse needs of a worldwide student-body who have vast differences in cultural backgrounds, language skills and motivational factors.

So, EducateMe360 is now offering customized MOOC's content to the students of India, with courses designed for the specific needs of the Indian students. Courses are delivered in their native language for all levels of graduate and undergraduate work.

The tremendous implications for the higher education of Indian students and for the future growth of the Indian economy cannot be overstated. Any Indian with access to a computer with internet capabilities can take advantage of the classes taught by esteemed scholars from Berkley, California, Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Princeton, New Jersey. This is a revolution in higher learning for India where the previous barriers of poor educational quality, lack of educational access, and higher costs for overseas studies have been instantly overcome in a single blow. With MOOCs the inaction of the Indian government can no longer stand in the way of its citizens gaining the knowledge and skills that they need for success.

The EducateMe360 Model may well lead to revisions of the national standards for higher education in India. No longer is a large sprawling campus required where individual professors are allowed to create their own course content. Post-secondary education can now be uniform and competitive with other developed countries.

A founder of EducateMe360, Harshit Bahl states “The demand is there. So is the brainpower. And the content is now available for free. The only thing required is a system to connect the content with Indian students, and that is exactly what we with EducateMe360 plan doing.”
His co-founder, Agam further added “We are calling NGOs and the private sector to help us to do what the government could not: offer high-quality higher education to the masses.”

As this revolution in higher education begins to take hold, the people of India should make clear to their government leaders only one thing: Stay out of the Way. With 12 different federally funded 5-year plans that have spanned the past 60 years, the government has had their chance to deliver and has failed.

Eventually, the Indian government will need to establish instructional guidelines and set university certification standards for this new and exciting form of academic instruction, but for now there is a greater need, the need to get our Indian students enrolled in MOOC's by the millions!

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Harshit Bahl
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