If the latest news is to be believed, the Indian government has woken up to e-learning. BSNL Pune is launching multiplayer services that include e-classes, among other things. And Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Ltd (MKCL) is gearing to supply the content. Elsewhere, at the 1st ICT conference, the Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa declared that India is committed to develop and promote E-learning in Africa.
Amidst this entire hullabaloo, several questions arise. Can organizations like BSNL sustain the project and provide quality e-learning to its subscribers, given the poor records of project implementation of the government? Even while BSNL has been unable to maintain a flawless and functional telephone network in the country, does it auger well for the organization to venture into areas that require cutting-edge talent and human resources. Of course being optimistic in such innovative ventures helps. A failure, however, could be devastating for the government which can loose face before everyone. A failure would also reinforce the government's inability to smoothly execute any 'dream project' and it will serve as an example for the years to come.
The African initiative again would mean that the government has to pull in resources to ideate the projects and then implement it. Where will the government find resources for this? Perhaps the government will seek the services of private e-learning organizations in India for this. And even with this step things are going to be difficult as the government has no regulatory body for e-learning companies. A few Indian e-learning companies are enlisted with NASSCOM, but simple enlistment does not mean that they are 'competent'. Only time will tell how the Indian government fare in the challenge they face in Africa.