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Photo: HT
Photo: HT

Top varsities look to reach out to the masses

Institutions like IITs and B-schools are collaborating with startups and customizing content to offer shorter, industry-worthy courses

NEW DELHI : India’s top technology institutions and B-schools, including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), are gradually shedding their exclusivity in education offerings to reach out to the masses. The covid-19 pandemic, which has pushed people to accept and learn differently, is only accelerating the process.

These institutions are collaborating with startups and customizing content to offer shorter, industry-worthy courses. The move is opening up the institutes of eminence in India to the masses, helping them earn good revenue and become financially sustainable.

“The attitude of top institutions has starting shifting from offering quality education to a captive audience to a mass base. They have research capability, but lack outreach. They have great professors, but lack the desire for marketing and branding content. They want industry partnership in learning process, but sometimes lack resources to invest in it," said Santanu Paul, chief executive, TalentSprint, an edtech firm that has tied up with top schools, including the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C) and the Indian Institute Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

Public expenditure on education will shrink and this necessitates institutes to become more industry-ready, said Paul. Customized courses for both early-stage and senior professionals, and students will see great demand, as the desire of corporates to optimize resources gains ground.

Agreed Hari Krishnan Nair, co-founder of Great Learning, another edtech firm helping top schools go to the masses via online and blended learning. “Changing regulations, desire to cater to the masses and the business imperatives are driving such a change. The pandemic has accelerated the processes as online education, largely short and medium-term, is gaining acceptance and recognition." Nair’s company has tie-ups with IIT-Madras to offer advanced programmes in cloud, block chain and Internet of Things (IoT).

“The covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge...and we all need to rise to this challenge. IIM-C intends...to develop better learning solutions at scale for professionals as they adapt to the emerging post-pandemic world," said Anju Seth, director, IIM Calcutta.

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