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Last Updated : May 12, 2016 03:18 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

NIIT in tie-up with edX, looks to offer blended learning model

edX currently has 730,000 learners who have subscribed to its online education facility. Patwardhan expects this number to increase to 5 million in 3 years following the tie-up.

The skill and talent development company NIIT has entered into a strategic partnership with edX to provide online education. With edX, NIIT plans to provide a blended learning model, which will offer online courses and will have local instructors, said Rahul Patwardhan, Chief Executive Officer, NIIT.

edX currently has 730,000 learners who have subscribed to its online education facility. Patwardhan expects this number to increase to 5 million in 3 years following the tie-up.

Below is the verbatim transcript of Rahul Patwardhan's interview with Reema Tendulkar & Mangalam Maloo on CNBC-TV18.

Mangalam: Could you tell us what kind of revenue potential does this strategic tie-up with edX have and by when can the company realise this?

A: This is a profound relationship. It basically brings together the best of content from the top 100 universities in the world who are the partners of edX with the nationwide channel and on the ground instructor and learning capability that NIIT provides in India and therefore both for edX and for NIIT; it's first of a kind partnership. Never before has edX tied up with somebody to offer a blended nation scale learning model and therefore this is first of its kind.


However, volume wise currently edX has about 730,000 learners online for free courses and some of them pay for the certification that is available from the universities that they partnered with. The challenge in India and that to of emerging markets too, is that learners want to have some form of contact with the faculty. Therefore, this model provides for best content taken from Stanford, Berkeley and wherever it is, but NIIT centres on the ground, across 350 locations in India will also provide blended services in terms of local instructors, in terms of skill building, in terms of practice project and most importantly in terms of placement services on the ground.

This is a global partnership; of course the focus is India first but we will be leveraging this partnership for our business in China, in the emerging markets of Africa and south East Asia also.

Reema: Since you will be utilising various NIIT Limited centres, should we assume that all the courses will be paid for and if you could help us with even the revenue expectations from this particular tie-up?

A: People today can go on to edX on their own and learn courses free. However, when they want certification then they pay for the certification and the fee is shared by edX and concerned university. The challenge is that a very small percentage of people actually pay online when they go on to the edX platform. Majority choose to do the courses free. However, people who are looking for job and looking for a formal career upgrade which means the promotion when they are in working industry, they want something more. Hence that is recognised by the edX which is why they looked at a partner like us who can bring the rest of the things into play.            

In terms of revenue, the current learners from 730,000 will go up to about five times of that, three million people three years from now. We expect about 5 percent of  that segment will be possible for NIIT to offer the blended model where the course's fee is roughly be about Rs 10,000 per student.

First Published on May 12, 2016 02:10 pm