Outsourcing of education is India’s new catch

Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, July 18:

Capitalising on the shortage of teachers in the US, especially in subjects like mathematics, Indian tutors are finding online education a good revenue spinner in this emerging segment in outsourcing. An offshoot of business process outsourcing (BPO), education process outsourcing (EPO) is India’s new emerging service offering and is getting wide support from both students and clients in the US, experts said. Sitting in small cubicles, fitted with a headset and pen mouse, these tutors are teaching students subjects like mathematics from course curriculum specified in the US - that, too, in an accent familiar to Americans. According

to one estimate, about 40 per cent of the students in America fail in their mathematics examination and the country needs close to one million teachers over the next 10 years. Currently, private tutoring is an $8 billion industry in the US and growing at 12 per cent a year. Of that, $3 billion is accounted for by tutoring through the Internet. By the end of 2005, an estimated 77 million students under the age of 18 will have access to net, and thus to the e-tutoring format, official estimates reveal.

Two New Delhi-based Indian companies — Educomp Datamatics and Career Launcher — are early entrants to this new outsourcing business. Many more are expected to join the race, industry experts said. Career Launcher has imparted tuition to more than 800 students in the US since it began operations 10 months ago and Educomp — which started around the same time — has taught about 600 students. “While the US faces a severe shortage of quality mathematics teachers, in India we have surplus skilled manpower. We just took the advantage of the available market,” said Santanu Prakash, CEO, Educomp. At present there are two platforms of imparting tuition through the Net — direct interaction with students and working as backhand office for some tutoring companies in US, experts explained. The service

is given through a software called ‘White Board’ in both voice and text platforms. The student and teacher can see each other over the computer and talk on the headphone. These firms provide their high-end technology driven education service and charge $20 to $35 per hour to students.