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March 18, 2010 Industry alignment via e-learning can place students on right career track

The most probable reason why many engineering graduates remain unemployed, despite having requisite qualifications in sectors like IT, is the misalignment between industry needs and his or her academic profile, says S Giridharan, chairman and CEO, Edserv Softsystems Ltd in an interview with FE's S Saroj Kumar. Giridharan highlights how embracing e-learning could lighten the burden of teachers in a country like ours with a very low teacher-to-student ratio. Excerpts:

Following the acquisition of smart learn Web TV in IIT-JEE coaching space, the proposal for raising Rs 130 crore QIP came. It looks like a roll back of the earlier FCCB proposal. Could you spell out the rationale behind the change?

The reasons that could be cited to opt for QIP are the change in market dynamics. As the domestic capital market returns to its bullish days, we decided to take the QIP route. If you look at the promotion process, the campaign for both the convertible equity and equity-cum-debt instruments is quite the same. In this capital raising exercise we are also open to the private investment in public equity (PIPE) route to mop up the required funds. The part proceed of the Rs 130 crore fund, around Rs 40 crore, will be utilised to finance acquisitions in Vidyodana school project, other part of Rs 50 crore would be utilised in service government projects and remaining Rs 20 crore towards acquiring of IIT-JEE coaching institutes. The balance would be spent to meet any miscellaneous expenses.

What kind of a growth opportunity do you see in off-campus formal education stream?

It is expected that nearly 21 million students would annually get enrolled in 400 universities that dot the length and breadth of the country by 2012. There are 10 million students who pursue vocational courses in 650 institutes. Besides this mind-boggling figure, there are thousands of professionals who seek off-campus formal education to upgrade their profile. There is need for e-learning substitution in various main and auxiliary processes of academic programmes to upkeep the quality. For instance, the assessment programme of distance education unit of Anna University saw a record patronage of students opting for our assessment modules on all off-campus subjects encompassing nearly 260 subjects. Taking a leaf out of the success script we would like to strike online assessment deals with other major Indian universities like Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University (JNTU), Pune University and Cochin University.

(C) 2009 EdServ Softsystems Limited, Chennai, India.