Microsoft Corp. and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) announced today that AICTE is deploying Microsoft Live@edu over the next three months to more than 10,000 technical colleges and institutes throughout India. The cloud deployment will expand students’ access to high-quality technical education and collaboration.
Live@edu is a hosted communication and collaboration service that offers email, Microsoft Office Web Apps, instant messaging and storage to AICTE’s more than 7 million students and nearly 500,000 faculty members, for a total reach of 7.5 million users — roughly double the size of the Los Angeles population — making AICTE Microsoft’s largest cloud customer ever. Live@edu is the first step in AICTE’s deployment of Microsoft cloud computing for education. AICTE also plans to deploy Microsoft Office 365 for education when it becomes available later this year, providing access to Microsoft Exchange Online email and calendar, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Lync Online and Microsoft Office Professional as the technical infrastructure to support member colleges and institutes.
“Microsoft’s cloud platform will make for a truly progressive ecosystem and contribute to the country’s technical education by providing a better communication and collaboration platform for institutes and students,” said Dr. S. S. Mantha, chairman of AICTE.
Part of India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, AICTE is the governing body for technical education in India, certifying and managing technical colleges and institutes in a country where the technology industry and higher education are both becoming increasingly vital to the economy. To carry out its charge of evaluating the curriculum and quality of education for all technical institutes across the country, AICTE needed to have consistent and timely communication with these colleges, some of which are located in the remotest districts of India. AICTE and the ministry wanted to deploy a technology system that would provide an efficient platform for students and the institutional framework and would foster efficiency and support broader educational reforms.
AICTE reviewed solutions from a range of vendors, including Microsoft, IBM and Google. One of the major factors in the decision to choose Microsoft’s cloud services for education was Microsoft’s comprehensive commitment to education across all the company’s products and programmes, as well as the system’s seamless interoperation with the entire Microsoft product portfolio. The council was also impressed by Microsoft’s extensive experience in higher education and ability to deploy a system across geographically distributed locations without adding significantly to the institutions’ IT management costs or complexity.
“India is seeing rapid economic activity and growth. Developing India’s youth and their skills is going to play an important role globally in the country’s inclusive growth,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education. “The union budget also laid emphasis on skill development and so does the proposed 12th Five Year Plan with a National Policy on Skill development. The PPP model (public-private partnership) is most essential in running and managing training institutions that provide every opportunity to address the skill gap most efficiently. Microsoft’s commitment to empower students by deploying Microsoft Live@edu to 7.5 million students, teachers and university employees across the country with AICTE is commendable and a step toward an informed and developing India. I congratulate both AICTE and Microsoft on this significant milestone.”
“We are delighted with the confidence posed by AICTE in Microsoft,” said Sanket Akerkar, managing director, Microsoft Corp. India Private Ltd. “Microsoft has always seen education as a priority area and believes that technology offers possibilities that can help empower not just teachers and students but collectively India as a nation.”
The implementation is already underway and is being managed by Microsoft and a set of Live@edu partners. Full deployment is expected to be complete by summer 2012.
Live@edu is the leading cloud suite for education, with more than 22 million people using the service worldwide. At 7.5 million users, the AICTE deployment is the largest cloud deployment ever. Other recent Live@edu adoptions include a 700,000 cloud-based collaboration solution for the Kentucky Department of Education. The online service helps educational institutions provide email and enterprise-grade online tools to students and faculty while helping to reduce costs and simplify IT management.