Learning the e-way.

Himanshu Seth

We’ve seen many companies come out with e-learning products but not all have been successful. What was the primer for such an initiative at HP?
We wanted to transform the classroom experience. India has the third largest education system but we could clearly see a dearth in quality and infrastructure. We feel that technology is the key enabler for change.

What do you think the Indian education system requires the most today?
Here’s how we see it. The three basic factors that make education in India top notch are infrastructure, accessibility and finances, in the form of an inverted pyramid. If either of the three is not strong, the pyramid is not going to be complete. We believe that technology can transform the iron triangle into a flexible triangle, by achieving lower cost and higher quality. Despite the huge growth of private higher education, there is a  strain on staffing and resources.

So what is it that HP is offering to graduate colleges in India?
Keeping in mind the goal to take teaching and learning to an interactive and interesting level, our labs came up with a 5-part solution. This includes a wi-fi campus, classroom text and video content that will be updated constantly, workstations for students with the right expertise to guide them through it, and financial services through which the software and hardware can be leased out by colleges. We will also deliver and help incorporate industry relevant courses into the curriculum.

How many colleges have enrolled for this scheme?
A total of 17 colleges across India have been installed with our products. It is an evolving process. There is no time line to this project.

How has the experience of interacting with colleges been?
More often than not students are not content with what they learn in India and are always seeking to go abroad. What we are trying to do is bring the same level of quality and expertise to Indian colleges, by making them accessible to any Indian youngster. We were fortunate enough to be welcomed by colleges.

Where is the information and expertise being sourced from?
The first phase of our project covers engineering colleges and they will be given course content that is taught at the IITs. It will cover all five streams of engineering besides providing them with the latest software in other areas that could be of use to them later in life.

Does IT have a bigger role to play in enhancing the quality of education in India?
Schools and colleges worldwide are striving to enhance the efficiency that can enable youngsters with a bright future. Employees must be innovative, acquire digital prowess, communicate effectively with colleagues and work across teams. If we don’t acknowledge the need for these critical facets, it is our loss. That is our long term plan.

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