MIT India Technology Education Program (ITEP)

January 11, 1998


Ameet Ranadive
Pune: 375 708
USA: 617.576.5110


ITEP (India Technology Education Program) is a new initiative designed to bring a group of MIT college students to a high school in India with the overall goal of connecting the high school to the Internet. The MIT students will work with the Indian high school students to establish a web, email and ftp server at the high school. In the process, the MIT students will instruct the Indian high school students about the Internet and the world wide web, computers and networking, and web development languages such as HTML and Java.

The main benefits of this program would be:

Technology transfer: the proliferation of computers and the Internet in India Human networking: the establishment of relationships between individuals and institutions in India and individuals and institutions in the U.S.

We seek:

Financial support from both Indian and American sponsors.

We have identified several partners who have expressed initial interest in the project.


India is quickly becoming one of the world's emerging centres of technology. Some studies have predicted that India's economy is growing at 7% a year [1]. According to the World Bank, India will have the fourth largest economy in the world by 2020, behind China, the U.S., and Japan [2]. There is tremendous potential for economic and technological growth in India, particularly in the telecommunications and software industries. According to reports submitted to the Office of Naval Research by Professor Krithi Ramamritham [3], India's software industry is growing at a rate of 50% a year. Unfortunately, the Internet infrastructure necessary to support this growth is not yet in place. Only 40,000 Internet users exist in a population approaching one billion in India [4]. In contrast, the United States, with a population one quarter the size of India, has millions of Internet users. Many industrialised countries are beginning to rely on the Internet as a key medium of communication and information exchange. The Indian government recognises the importance of creating an Internet infrastructure, and has recently announced the privatisation of Internet service [5]. Although this is a necessary step, more can be done to accelerate the growth of the Internet in India.

The establishment of an Internet education program will lead to increased participation and expansion of the Internet infrastructure. ITEP is a program is designed to promote Internet education at an early age. The program consists of a small group of MIT students staying in India for six weeks. During this period, they will establish an Internet server at a local school and educate students about computers, Internet, and HTML programming.

Background of organisation


ITEP was founded in September 1997 by Ameet Ranadive, Vinay Pulim, and Professor Kenneth Keniston at MIT. The program was founded with the following goals in mind:

1. Advance computer-related education in India with a focus on the Internet.
2. Establish a long-term exchange program between MIT and India.
3. Promote cultural understanding between American and Indian youth.

In December 1997 and January 1998, the team expanded to India. Rahul Rathi, Professor Moogat, and joined the Pune-based team.



Dr. Kenneth Keniston
Andrew Mellon Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at MIT

Responsible for creation and growth of MIT and India infrastructure. Also responsible for fund-raising activities in India and the United States.

Ameet Ranadive
Graduate student (master's candidate), MIT Electrical Engineering

Responsible for co-ordination of efforts from MIT side. Responsible for supervising member recruiting, logistics and operations at MIT and in India, cultural preparation for MIT students, and educational development. Will also aid in fund-raising.

Vinay Pulim
Graduate student (master's candidate), MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Responsible for operations planning and development of educational materials.

Dr. Myron Weiner
Professor of Political Science at MIT
Faculty Advisor

Responsible for fund-raising activities in the U.S.

Ajay Kulkarni
Undergraduate student, MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Responsible for MIT member recruiting, MIT publicity, and the development of educational materials.

Noshirwan Petigara
Undergraduate student, MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Responsible for MIT member recruiting, cultural preparation materials for MIT students, and development of educational seminar materials.


Rahul Rathi
COO, Beharay-Rathi Group

Responsible for co-ordination of efforts from India side. Responsible for ensuring school meets terms of agreement, creation of Pune infrastructure such as host families and support network, and publicity in India. Will also aid in short-term fund-raising in India.

Professor Moogat
Principal, Wadia College (Retired)

Responsible for identifying schools in the Pune area for the program. Will serve as initial liaison and contact between MIT ITEP and the school.

Local Co-ordinator

Responsible for being a guardian and emergency contact for the MIT students. Will mediate conflicts, deal with problems as they arise (illnesses, etc.), and will find host families for the MIT students. Will make time available to spend with MIT students to answer questions about Pune or India.

Pune MIT Alumnus school students

The first target audience is composed of the Indian high school students. These students will be primarily of age 13-14 years, in ninth standard. The Indian high school students should expect the following:

an educational program tailored to match the needs and backgrounds of the participating students
an understanding of how the Internet functions as well as its implications
to be well-versed in the use of the Internet after program completion
ability to interpret and write simple HTML and Java code
personalised attention from the MIT instructors and the chance to develop friendships

MIT students

The second target audience is composed of the MIT university students. These students will be full-time undergraduate or graduate students with relevant technical experience and excellent communication and teaching skills. These MIT students should expect the following:

logistics of their trip to be well-planned and executed
a support network and infrastructure in India to be in place to satisfy their needs
ample opportunities to explore Indian culture and develop friendships

Corporate or individual sponsors

The third target audience is composed of corporate or individual sponsors from India and the United States. These sponsors should expect the following:

tangible evidence of the program's success
recognition from the program
publicity on the Internet site which we have created in the program; publicity at MIT and in India
continuation beyond the first year to develop into a long-term program between MIT and India

How We Plan to Address the Customer Needs

Indian high school students' needs:

We will tailor our educational program by taking a survey of Indian student applicants to gauge their background and needs before we formalise our lesson plans. We will carefully plan our lesson plan and educational materials to ensure that the Indian students will become well-versed in Internet functionality and use. We will work with the students to develop a school web site, assuring that they learn to interpret and write HTML code. Finally, we will limit our class size to two groups of ten students each. Since we will be bringing at least four MIT instructors/students, this ratio of at least five Indian students to two MIT students will assure personal attention.

MIT student's needs:

We will have a formal plan created with schedules and deadlines to ensure that the logistics of the trip will be well-planned. In addition, we will have a team in the U.S. and a partner team in India working to ensure that logistics on both sides are well-managed and executed. Our Indian team will provide one person, the local co-ordinator in Pune, to act as a guardian, emergency contact and informational source for the MIT students during their stay. In addition, the MIT students will be placed with host families to enhance their exposure to Indian culture and to provide further support. They will also be given time to travel on the long weekends (no classes Friday, Saturday, or Sunday).

Sponsor's needs:

The school website, which will be created the first summer and maintained by the school thereafter, will be tangible evidence of the program's success. The program will recognise its sponsors during press releases. The website created by the program will have a direct link to the sponsor's website, if it exists. The MIT ITEP team will work with local journalists in India as well as MIT sources to ensure that there will be much publicity and community support for the project. Finally, we will have a trustee agreement to create the MIT and India infrastructures necessary to ensure long-term continuation of the program. All of the trustees will have a long-term commitment to the program. If one of the trustees chooses to vacate his office, he is responsible for finding an appropriate replacement. We will develop a long-term strategy to expand the program in future years.

What Makes Us Different

What do we offer that does not currently exist? The first benefit is that we are taking our educational program directly to the school, making it more convenient for students to attend the classes. By obtaining official faculty support and the use of the school's existing facilities, we are also increasing our chances of success.

We are the only program whose goal is to accelerate Internet education and inspire the students to use computers and the Internet. We are therefore a non-profit program, which differentiates us from the many existing private computer classes already in India.

The most significant benefit, however, is the opportunity we provide for both American and Indian students to exchange culture through this program. The end result is increased networking and relationships through the Internet.

Long-term Strategy

We will measure our overall success by the number of sites supported by our program. Each site's success will be measured by completion of the educational seminar and the establishment of a school web site (tangible measure of success).

We will focus on Pune and Mumbai as the primary location of our program for the first five years. We will start first with one school and demonstrate the success of the project. Based on publicity and the initial success, we will approach sponsors after summer 1998 to expand financial support. With increased finances, we can return to Pune in summer 1999 with more students and expand to three schools. At first we will have to restrict our program to schools which already have computers; depending on how much financial support we receive, we may be able to bring computers to schools that do not have them (greater impact). The program will continue to expand, from one school in 1998, to three schools in 1999, to eight schools in 2000. Also, the location of schools will begin to expand beyond Pune to Mumbai and other parts of India.

One important point is that this educational technology program is but one aspect of what we hope will become a large and diverse MIT-India Program. Based on the success of this educational program, we hope to expand the scope of the MIT-India Program to include student exchange opportunities between Indian universities and MIT, summer internships and co-op opportunities for MIT students with Indian companies, and research exchanges.


There are definitely some risks involved with a project such as this, but we have taken proactive steps to assure that the risk to the overall program's success is minimised.

Problem: One or more of the computers at the school do not work.
Solution: We have a large number of computers (fifteen) such that if one of two of them fail, we can continue to work on the rest. Our class size will be kept small, so that if needed we can double up on the remaining computers. Also, we have partnered with local hardware company to deal with hardware problems that arise. Hopefully any problems that occur will be solved quickly with the assistance from this company.

Problem: LAN computer network does not work or is too slow
Solution: Access the internet through the two servers. The other computers will be used for exercises that are not dependent on internet access, such as local design of web pages. The students can take turns navigating the web on the two servers.

Problem: telephone lines are not installed or do not work
Solution: Exercises that are not dependent on internet access will continue to be done in lab. The Indian students will be separated into small groups and taken to the host families residences (or other locations) to perform internet-dependent exercises. We will identify three or four possible locations which currently have internet access in case this problem arises.

Problem: internet accounts are not received
Solution: We will have access to the internet through two or three private VSNL accounts. In the case that the school has not received its own, we will use these until the school's arrive.

Problem: MIT student becomes ill
Solution: We will have the local co-ordinator and host families available to direct the student to the appropriate doctor or medical centre. will be doctor for the program. This doctor and the local co-ordinator will be the principal emergency contacts. While the student is out for a couple days, there will still be at least three other MIT students to run the classes. The small class size will help the remaining MIT students to manage until the sick MIT student recovers.

Problem: MIT student is unhappy, conflict with host families
Solution: The local co-ordinator will mediate any conflicts with host families. We will have one or two extra host families prepared to accept a student if problems arise that cannot be easily resolved.

Problem: Indian students lose interest, disrupt classes
Solution: We will proactively screen and select only those Indian students who have demonstrated discipline, interest, and commitment.