The news that I hear

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Aptech and NIIT

In the late 80's and early 90's, two institutes sprung up in the lives of middle class India - NIIT and Aptech. Every middle class Indian who did not have a degree in engineering wanted to jump into an industry that was changing the economic lives of many. Every one had heard of some friend or cousin or neighbour who had done a software course and had landed into a good job. Every where commerce, science or even arts graduates were talking about "NIIT" or "Aptech". Insurance companies and banks jumped into the bandwagon, offering loans to students to study software. For many of these middle class Indians, they pooled in what ever savings they had to give their children a future which they never had. Some students were doing these courses along with their college education and some waited to finish their graduation and then jump into this gold rush.

If you were one of them, a typical entry into NIIT or Aptech's offie would have been like this. A swank reception center with fresh flowers and well dressed young men and women (mostly) who would ask you to take up a test of aptitude. You would wait for about 30 minutes to be told that you were the ideal candidate to study software at their centers because you had scored an incredibly high percentage in the aptitude test. Your mom or pop who accompanied you would be beaming in pride imagining the bright future that you had. Then you would be told about the course and the money. Since your mom or pop is already proud of you, they would not hesitate to pay up that huge money. You would also be promised a job at the end of the course. A list of former students who are now placed at all the MNC's that you can name will then be shown. The next few weeks would be running to the bank, arranging for the fees and there you are all set to enter the world of make believe.

By mid 90's there was a different tale to be heard. Not every one, not even the majority, who did these courses got jobs that were promised to them. Instructors were the one's who had studied at the same Institute and were not very knowledgeable. Grumbles were heard. Some dropped out. Slowly people began to realise that things are not gold as they appear to be.

Ok, so why write about all this now? Because APTECH and NIIT are making good money in China these days. Brother's and Sister's of China - a few of us Indians have learnt hard lessons. Look before you leap.

Here are some statistics from http://www.efytimes.com/fullnews.asp?edid=11538

"Aptech's market share increased to approximately 19 per cent in the year 2005. In the year 2004 too, Aptech, with 14.8 per cent market share, achieved the ranking ahead of other players including Science Institute of Software (with 10.3 per cent market share) and NIIT (7.9 per cent market share).

The top five players of the Chinese IT education and training service market made up for 43.5 per cent of the market share. Aptech (at 18.8 per cent market share) achieved the ranking much ahead of other players including Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) (with 9.6 per cent market share) and NIIT (7.9 per cent market share), China Digital (with 3.8 per cent market share) and East Software - Dongruan (with 3.4 per cent market share)."

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