BBC News, Bangalore Long known for its outsourcing, India is now increasingly marketing itself as a destination for affordable education. From his bedroom in Bangalore, biology teacher Vishal Bhatnagar uses an electronic pen to highlight the main parts of the human endocrine system on the laptop screen in front of him. “What I’m trying to show you,” he says, speaking into a headset, “is that most of the chemicals in the body are poured into the blood to be effective.” One-on-one tuition Eight thousand kilometres (5,000 miles) away in London, student Veenesh Halai follows along, making notes and asking questions. They’ve been brought together by a high-speed internet connection and a growing global appetite for cheap, one-on-one tuition.
Yesterday, I spoke to a large and restive crowd (made so by lack of air conditioning and a delayed start) in Matara (main city in the South of Sri Lanka) at the launch of the Pathfinder Foundation’s first book, a Sinhala translation of Janos Kornai’s Toward a free economy. I was asked to talk about globalization and the relevance of Kornai’s ideas for facing the challenges posed by globalization. In this talk that I pieced together thanks to time zone differences that caused me to wake up at 3 in the morning while in the US, I illustrated the issues referring to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), a broad area of service exports for which efficient, flexible and low-cost telecom is a pre-condition. I think the talk provides the "big picture" of the necessity of telecom reforms of the type that we at LIRNEasia are involved in. If we are to go beyond simply giving people phones, to giving them "money in the pocket and hope in the heart" this big picture is essential.