SKILLSdox, edX Team Up to Boost Workforce in India

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Canadian company SKILLSdox is partnering with online MOOC provider edX to make use of SKILLSdox’s online Indian education gateway and marketplace “School of Skill” for edX to students across India.

The agreement between the two companies came as an effort to expand upon edX’s offerings in early 2016 from top university partners across the increasingly large population within India, as over half of the 1.2 billion population within the country will be of school and college-going age by 2030.  India is considered to be the world’s second largest internet user base.

“We are delighted to work with SKILLSdox to provide education to learners across India,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and MIT professor. “India is our second largest market for learners after the US, and we know that skills and career-focused courses are extremely important to these learners. Through SKILLSdox and edX, many more learners across India will have an opportunity to improve their job prospects and their lives.”

SKILLSdox recently finished a $30 million investment from BCCL, the largest media conglomerate in India.  Doing so, the company said, would support the marketing of online education to close to 80% of India’s total population through TV, radio, digital, newspaper, and billboards.

The investment will allow SKILLSdox to reach millions of people each year with marketing campaigns that hold a focus on educating, promoting, and offering access to online education from top institutions.

Foreign education companies are unable to legally place their products in the country unless they collaborate with or sell through an Indian company.

SKILLSdox has already partnered with educational online content providers in Canada, the US, Ireland, Taiwan, and India.  In order to ensure they are able to offer an education to all users, the company said they have also partnered with DataWind, an Indian company that provides low-cost tablets that come with free internet access on their devices.

“Now people who could previously not afford to buy the technology, afford the internet, and otherwise would not have had access to global education, will, with us and our partners,” says Canadian entrepreneur Brad Loiselle.

Payments can be received by the company in 200 formats, now including the rupee.

Loiselle said the goal is to become a household name in India, which he says will allow the company to take the model and use it in other emerging markets, reports Ambika Behal for Forbes.

India is believed to be one of the fastest growing emerging markets and as such, the country is facing a number of challenges, including a lack of skilled resources.  In an effort to find a solution to the problem of there not being enough qualified teachers in the country, the Minister of Finance created the National Skills Development Council, which focuses on closing the education gaps and skills shortages.  The mandates put in place by Prime Minister Modi including 500 million people becoming skilled workers by 2022 in addition to the digitization of the entire country.

Just 2% of the country are currently considered to be included in the skilled workforce, causing education to be one of the most important issues to be taken up by the government to increase the skills held by workers across all sectors.