In September last year EdCast had raised USD six million in venture funding to help further its concept of multi-versities, that is, a knowledge cloud platform that facilities inter-university collaboration. Speaking about the investments, Founder and CEO of EdCast Karl Mehta had told YourStory:
These investments represent a quantum jump to let data-rich and personalised knowledge clouds enable higher education institutions and top educators to deliver their content globally with sustainable business models.
To take this a step further Karl, has launched a free education portal Skill Up India in Gujarat. Karl says that Skill Up India was launched in response to the digital India vision of PM Narendra Modi. And in order to fulfill this vision, India needs skilled manpower.
Narendra Modi had announced the launch of the Skill India government programme after assuming office last year. The main objective of this programme is to create multi-disciplinary opportunities for the Indian youth. The new programme is set to provide training and skill development to over 500 million you Indians in the country by 2020.
Karl feels that the current infrastructure of brick-and-mortar structures is not sufficient to fulfill this vision. Therefore Code-for-India (CFI), a Silicon Valley-based network of Indian-origin technology professionals in partnership with IIM Ahmedabad, CIIE, iCreate, IIT Gandhinagar, and the US-India Business council, launched Skill Up India.
The team states that the country’s 350 million youth are under 35. This figure is a great asset if trained.But can become a liability if it is not skilled enough to keep up with the global economy. They believe that colleges and corporates will have to come together to train this huge number of youth and online/mobile education is the only cost effective and efficient way to accomplish it.
Karl was previously the Founder and CEO of PlayScan Inc, which was acquired by Visa in March 2011. He has also served as a White House Presidential Fellow and was recently appointed by to the Workforce Investment Board of California.
Karl says that while online and mobile technology is available to bridge the gap, still there is a need for large scale digital cloud-based learning platforms. Says he: “The best way to do this is through multiple public and private partnerships. We launched Skill Up India to be the YouTube of education, where any educational institution in India, or any corporation, can contribute to learning based on their expertise in the open source domain.”
According to Karl, in western countries, several leading universities put in their courseware through open source in the public domain. Skill Up intends to bring a similar movement to India, where big educational institutions, corporations, and individuals can contribute. "Skilling up India’s youth will take a combination of partnerships with leading organisations and the use of the newest education technologies,” adds Karl.
From the consumer’s stand point;everyone will have access to a large library of content. However, the content is curated. Skill Up has a volunteer team of curators and checkers to verify the authenticity of the uploaded content.
The team visualises the portal as a virtual classroom where publications and courses on different subjects can be easily accessed. With Skill Up India, CFI aims to bring high quality education to the Indian youth. “Skill Up India aims to bring global standards of education that will help meet the demands of a global economy through online and mobile courses,” concludes Karl.
Being an open courseware, there is no criteria for subscription. There are also plans of providing content in regional languages, to enable a wider reach. Through Skill Up India, the team is focused on creating a portal where people can easily access and learn best practices from institutes, individuals, and corporates.