Friday started with the first meeting of our trip at IBM with the Country Manager for Government and Education, Satish Kaushal. Satish gave us a great overview of the education system in India including past, present and future hopes for the country. We also discussed IBM's role in the country with higher education and their unique position to assist with infrastructure and delivery of educational content through hardware and other solutions. This meeting was initiated by Amita Mehta, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer with Core Products and Technologies Ltd who we will be spending time with in Mumbai (Bombay) early this coming week exploring 3D visualization technologies.
From there, we went to Indira Gandhi National Open Universtiy (IGNOU), a very large university with a major campus in Dehli. IGNOU has 1.8 million students (yes ... 1.8 million) throughout 20+ countries. We met with the chair of the School of Engineering and Technology, another professor in the School of Engineering and Technology, and a professor in the School of Sciences. This meeting provided an opportunity to discuss education in the 21st century for students in North Carolina, India and the entire world. The purpose of this open University is to 'reach the unreached'. They have a very similar goal the Community College in the United States has of working with non-traditional students.
* Reaches the entire country of India using a model of 48 Regional Centers. The Regional Centers cover all the states in India and take care of all admistration tasks including student advising and registration.
* 2000 Study Centers where various subjects are taught. These Study Centers work with other colleges and Universities in varied geographic locations to share/contract resources such as lab space.
* Vast distance learning initiative including their own TV station with 25 channels, FM radio stations and other ways of reaching students that are not on campus.
* 'Self-instructional material - many text books are written collaboratively by teams of faculty and other experts.
* Many courses are offered in several languages.
* Classes culminating with certificates, diplomas, Masters and PhD's.
* Just beginning to have first classes online.
Potential collaboartion between our colleges include opportunities to develop curricula that may be shared through learning objects. Other collaboration may include international collaboration between students and faculty on school work and projects.