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McGraw-Hill and Wipro Developing Mobile Learning Platform for Testing in India

An American media company and a major Indian IT service provider are teaming up to develop a mobile platform that can be used for learning. McGraw-Hill Education and WiPro announced mConnect, a digital platform built on open standards that will play programs designed to bridge the skills gap in emerging markets. Early pilots will focus on Indian students who need to do test preparation for getting into universities and people who need English language training.

mConnect will offer personalized, adaptive education and assessment programs that can provide direct feedback through cell phones, laptops, and other mobile devices. Users who want to learn English, for example, will be able to use mConnect to hear conversations, review new vocabulary delivered via SMS, and get personalized instruction that customizes the pace and presentation of material to match their learning needs.

India is an obvious testing ground for the initiative, the two companies said in a statement. Currently, 100 million mobile phones are owned by youth in rural areas who use them an average of 5.5 hours per day, according to mobileyouth.org. Plus, the country's young workforce is hungry for any edge that will help them improve their career prospects.

"We are excited by the potential of mobile learning, which will free educational institutions from the constraints of geography, space and even time, and will enable us to deliver affordable, quality education to large numbers of aspiring students anytime, anywhere," said Ajit Rangnekar, dean of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.

Amitava Bose, professor and former director of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, added, "Modern economic growth is being driven less and less by raw labor power and more and more by skilled manpower. There is a shortage of skills but a large reservoir of labor waiting to be tapped. The proposed partnership between McGraw-Hill and Wipro should help speed up the required transformation of unskilled to skilled manpower by significantly increasing accessibility of training--in English-language proficiency and other necessary skills--among the younger population."

The intention is to extend this program later to other countries in Asia and in Africa, according to Harold McGraw III, the chairman, president, and CEO of The McGraw-Hill Cos. "In a country with more than 700 million cell phones, mobile learning will help level the playing field for education in India in ways never before possible. The success of our pilots in India will serve as a powerful example of how business, schools, and governments around the world can harness the power of mobile learning to give more people the skills to succeed in the global knowledge economy."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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