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Wednesday, Aug 07, 2002

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Foreign varsity courses online at affordable fees

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IN the current knowledge economy where the demand for skilled jobs has been increasing rapidly , the real problem lies in matching what students learn in higher institutes with the requirements of the corporate sector.

Acquisition of degrees by students needs to be supplemented by additional skills concurrently during their study period to make them easily employable.

A three-member team has come out with cost-effective and workable solutions to access and train latent talent even in the semi-urban and rural areas and deploy it effectively.

According to Dr. Sudha P Iyer, Director (Content) of Globarena started by the team of three, global acceptability of Indian talent is possible if students acquire, besides communication skills, qualifications from highly rated universities and institutes alongside their degrees at costs they can afford.

To make this possible, Globarena has entered into tie-ups with premier institutions such as the University of Washington and Berne University (both of the US), Clayton University of Hong Kong, Osmania University's Centre for Distance Education and the Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education and has identified about 500 colleges in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu for offering advanced short-term courses online.

A course that costs $3,500 in the US is made available for Rs 3,500 in India directly by the universities, which also offer certificates after the course completion. Payments are made directly to the universities.

To facilitate the process, Globarena offers software for the courses and has set up monitoring technologies in hundreds of colleges. At every stage of learning, the progress of each of the thousands of students is monitored by Globarena through its own network and the students are graded accordingly.

The software is so designed that students are encouraged to sharpen their skills whenever a deficiency is detected. Dr Sudha says all this can be achieved with the available computer infrastructure in colleges.

Once a week, students can work on the Internet and communicate with the universities for half an hour. According to Dr Dakshina Murthy V Kolluru, Managing Director, Globarena has received enquiries from a number of MNCs to supply them the trained manpower.

The scheme is so versatile that a student of a remote college in Andhra Pradesh or Kerala can compare his progress with that of others in Mumbai or Delhi who have better exposure to quality education.

This has an equalising effect on students and makes a major change in the recruitment process, he says. As corporates find it difficult to conduct campus recruitment in all colleges, Globarena wants to ensure that such recruitments are not limited to a few candidates or colleges.

. The fee for the different courses ranges from Rs 1,200 to Rs 8,300 and its programmes span areas such as communication skills, IT, management, pharmacy, biotechnology and nursing.

Globarena has acquired nine US patents for its products and is keen on identifying 1,000 companies by the end of the year to be catered to, Dr Dakshina Murthy says.

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