Content Side of Education: An Indian Opportunity
The global content is an useful source, but given India's educational challenges and linguistic diversity, what's on offer is clearly inadequate. The MOOCs can only work so far. I have seen classes conducted with the imperfect YouTube generated subtitles, which are mostly wrong and lowers, rather than enhancing, understanding. Besides, these are clear cases of learning objectives fitting the content rather than the other way around. Khan Academy may do a world of good and can indeed enhance learning, but it is hardly able to cater to all the needs that a country like India may have.
I would presume the answer lies in Public-Private partnership of some kind, which can bring the scale to content production. The broadcasters' interests in educational content should be seized upon by the entrepreneurs, though they should think about combining different media and channels, and worthwhile educational objectives, to make standalone educational content business work. A good enterprise of suitable scale should also engage one or the other cash-strapped universities to join the effort.
The capabilities needed to produce educational content are already there in India, with some of the world's most successful companies in the space being Indian (Tata Interactive Services and NIIT/ Element K come to mind). But these capabilities have not been deployed to serve the Indian customers so far, with these players remaining mostly focused on outsourced opportunities. The big change perhaps is that with public money being poured into education and skills development, there is a clear opportunity emerging. My prediction would be that some very innovative and successful educational content companies will emerge in India serving the local consumers in the next few years.