Want to know what the Indian technology professionals are taught in India that makes them sought-after talents the world over? It's just a click away now as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the country's elite engineering institute, has started putting finishing touches to the first phase of a mammoth project called the National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL). This aims to put all the courses of this Institute online in the next three years.

On June 30th this year, the IIT finished uploading 120 of its most popular science and engineering courses ( www.nptel.iitm.ac.in) that will provide access to classes
and faculty of the IIT to not only the students in the country, but also to the students, teachers, academicians, "and anybody who cares to log in" from across the world; and all this for free to boot.

"We have just completed and put all the lectures of some of our engineering courses online," said M. S. Ananth, dean of academic courses at IIT-Madras who is also the director of NPTEL. "And these lectures are not just the digitized versions of the study materials of IIT , but specially structured courseware crafted specifically for online education."

The brainchild of M.S. Ananth, NPTEL, first mooted in 1999, was mandated to be carried out by the seven IITs in the country and the Indian Institute of Science, a Bangalore-based technology university, as a collaborative project. "The main objective of NPTEL's is to enhance the quality of engineering education in the country so that the hundreds and thousands of engineering students in India become employable graduates at the end of their education," says Ananth

In India, inadequate infrastructure is a one of the major problems facing the country's education system and this is impacting the quality of education. It is estimated that of the approximate 500,000 Indian students who join the engineering programs each year, less than 10 percent come out as employable graduates, mainly because there are not enough teachers to provide the education needed by the industry.


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