Professor Anant Agarwal from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, heads as organization called Edx, which says has a vision to "Democratize Education, transform lives and reinvent campus education". Non-profit edx makes online courses from leading universities like Harvard, MIT and Barkeley available to anyone worldwide for free.
It is funded by Harvard and MIT who both invested $30 million in the company. The professor, who used to head the Artificial intelligence department at MIT, says India needs to make high quality education from world-class universities available to this large target market.
Mr.Agarwal sees particular potential in India, where many of the college-age population complete for a limited amount of places at schools. He says "In India, there is extreme competition for a very small number of seats at universities.Learners from India were diverse as students enrolled at IIT's and other schools, students preparing to apply to universities. This not only speaks to diversity within the country itself, it also speaks to edx's goal to embracing diversity as a whole".
Mr.Agarwal further explains that "Although the attrition rate may seem high at first glance, if you look at the number in absolute terms, it is as many students as might take the course in 40 years at MIT". In-fact he believes that edx provides access to quality higher education for anyone who has internet and can master the work. It is not based on a learner's ability to pay a top university, and it is not reserved for the small percentage that can be accepted due to on-campus space and resource limitations.
He says that some of the biggest employers of IT talent in India, including Infosys and Wipro, have expressed an interest in hiring students with credentials from edx, through discussions are at a very early stage.
A Professor, who was born in Mangalore and is a graduate of IIT Madras says "I was one of the fortunate students who was able to enter the funnel in the traditional way, both in India and the United States. As edx casts its net across the world, I would like to see other students in India reap the benefits of high quality education".