Transforming India with e-learning

Updated: Aug 4 2014, 06:44am hrs
The worlds largest democracy recently witnessed what is now labelled as the biggest election in its history. Interestingly, for this particular election cycle, political parties were more vociferous than ever before, in their cries for finding better solutions to further enhance the national human capital talent pool. The ensuing debate amongst political leaders as to which methods could address and reduce the supply gap of qualified white collar and blue collar workers, points to a number of areas that include e-learning.

India is characterised by a rapidly growing economy, significant business expansion, and what is projected to become the worlds largest workforce. However, today, employees across both the private and public sectors, especially personnel in the Union and state governments, are facing critical challenges that require immediate access to a wide range of professional and technical skills.

At the same time, pressure to meet deadlines, deliver quality output and control spending have never been more severe. Hence, political advisors are increasingly pointing to technology and how it can eradicate the ills currently plaguing the business sector in the country.

Only recently, the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, said that the new Narendra Modi-led government will work for digitisation of its records, establish Wi-Fi zones in critical public areas, and use social media as a tool for participative governance, paving a way to what he calls Digital India.

Additionally, in November 2012, the President also launched a special e-learning initiative, called A-VIEW 3.0, which would enable any institution that provides higher education to link thousands of teachers and students for virtual classroom lessons. Optimum use of new technology and e-learning to drive re-engineering of government processes to improve service delivery and programme implementation will take Indian governance, education and government employees to a new level altogether.

A stronger and robust internet ecosystem, digitisation of textbooks, eBooks, and videos could help potential employees as well as current ones gain the best out of the learning process.

Corporate India, specifically, has embraced e-learning and is seeing it as an effective platform to onboard, train and up-skill their employees, keeping staff up-to-speed with industry changes and certification demands, while enriching their professional and personal development at the same time. E-learning, apart from helping employees and organisations remain competitive in a dynamic and fast-paced marketplace, is also widely credited for contributing to talent retention.

The new Indian government must push to ensure that all government employees are trained in the use of IT and understand its importance in the workplace. While some state governments in India have already taken a step in the right direction, many are still to follow their lead.

In Rajasthan, for instance, to ensure that all government employees benefit from various e-Governance projects, computer training programmes are being conducted at district level with their IT Gyan Kendra. This is an effort deemed necessary to provide high quality education, including better connectivity, computer skills and coordination amongst all educational institutions and universities and the state government. Other states could learn something from this and look at how they could implement something similar in their own region.

As a further precedence, the NDA-led government needs to recognise the plethora of opportunities e-learning offers the nation.

India Inc may well see a comparable shift where productivity increases and the knowledge pools expand. This, in turn, will allow our corporate sector to thrive over the long run and thereby propel our national economy in a more prosperous direction.

Vinay Pradhan

The author is country manager, India, Skillsoft