âCode for India', a Silicon Valley-based network of Indian-origin technology professionals, has launched a free education portal called âSkill Up India'. This education hub, floated by US-based technologists, designers and engineers, is said by its founder to be similar to a virtual classroom where various publications and courses can be put online and accessed for free.
"Skill Up India is part of the new movement in the country to help our youth with free access to high quality education through online and mobile courses essential to re-focus our workforce to meet the demands of global economy," said Karl Mehta, the founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based EdCast.
This is a follow-up to the ambitious goals made by Prime Minister Modi, âDigital India' and âMade in India', which aim to provide a means for the youth to boost skills via online courses from some of the top universities worldwide as well as Indian corporations, all free of cost.
"Skilling up India's youth – a huge percentage of our population is under 35 – will take a combination of partnerships with leading organizations and the use of the newest education technologies," said Mehta.
Currently there are no criteria for subscribing to any of the courses offered via Skill Up India, and those who wish to publish a course themselves can do so as long as the information is useful and well-presented. The portal is also working on collaborations with institutions such as the Indian Institution of Management Ahmedabad and the Institution of Technology Gandhinagar to put up information and courses themselves.
In terms of quality control, SUI is also planning on establishing a review committee that assesses the credibility of the instructors and information that is uploaded to the portal.
While this is an important first step for India's engagement with online education, many believe that due to India's internet infrastructure still lacking in a number of areas that the possibility of many missing out on education hubs such as SUI is high. Mehta hopes that introducing services such as SUI will encourage the government to improve the infrastructure for everyone, however:
"with the availability of high quality content we hope will put pressure on the government to enhance the internet accessibility in the country," he said.
Code for India, the start-up behind SUI, is a rapidly growing non-profit organization that was created in Silicon Valley which is determined to inspire engineers, designers, developers and technologists to volunteer their time and effort to give back to the community and assist the developing world. CFI already works closely with many other non-profits and NGOs as well as the government on a range of projects that include civic infrastructure, elections, city governance and more.