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'India is great potential market for online education'

india Updated: Nov 09, 2014 19:02 IST
Vanita Srivastava
Vanita Srivastava
Hindustan Times

India has a huge market for online education and this should be tapped to meet the demand and supply gap for employment, says Rick Levin, the Chief Executive Officer of Coursera, a leading online learning platform worldwide.

“ India is one of the fastest growing markets. In fact, after the US, the maximum number of Coursera learners come from India and China. In just two years we have around 8 lakh Indian learners and this will grow in the coming years,” Dr Levin, who was the President of Yale University for almost 20 years before joining Coursera, told HT.


Rick Levin, CEO, Coursera

Most of the Indian learners prefer courses on business management and technology, he said, adding: “Another unique feature is that more than 50% of the Indian learners are under 30.”

Coursera signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business (ISB) on Monday, to develop content and design courses for Coursera’s 10-million-plus learners.

“A Life of Happiness and Fulfilment” will be designed by visiting ISB professor Raj Raghunathan -- the first of a series of courses to be offered by the business school via Coursera.

The six-week course will explore empirical findings and theories that document support for reasons why people aren’t happy as they could be, reveal why people exhibit these happiness eroding tendencies and what people can do to overcome such tendencies to enhance their happiness levels.

“ISB is our first partner in India and I am confident that more such partnerships will be inked with Indian universities in the future,” said Dr Levin. The partnership with Coursera puts ISB among the ranks of 114 other universities and schools such as Yale, Stanford, Michigan, Rice, Edinburgh and Copenhagen Business School that altogether produce content for more than 800 courses available for Courserians.

On new areas of focus, the Coursera CEO said: “We noticed that many people who registered for courses could not continue because of their own schedules. To narrow down the attrition, we have introduced courses on demand where people can take whenever they can. With these Specializations, a learner can master a skill with a targeted sequence of courses and earn Specialization certificates.

It is essentially for a deeper understanding of a particular subject. Our Data Science is spread across 9 courses and has got a fairly good response,” Dr Levin said.

The greatest challenges for India, Levin said was building of infrastructure, access of technology and bridging the literacy gap. Acknowledging the need for Coursera courses in India languages, Dr Levin said: “ Most of our content is in English. In India, as we scale up, translation will become desirable.