Vijay Kumar, from MIT: ‘We want to democratise education with Open Learning, but those who take the courses already had training’

Vijay Kumar, founding and former executive director, Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) and currently senior advisor to vice president, MIT Open Learning, speaks on the J-WEL's goal of promoting open learning, saying, "We must create a community between teachers and students who support each other. It is very arrogant to think that everything you have done is right or good. Open training is old, but it still has the same purpose: to provide quality education for lots of people who otherwise don’t have access. In India, they started with online courses and now laboratory experiments are shown on television. There has been a progression."


Vijay Kumar acted as a consultant when the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), the first online-only university to open in the world, started operating, so he moves around its new Barcelona headquarters with the ease of someone who feels at home. Born in India, he graduated as a chemical and industrial engineer at the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), although he has spent 27 years of his career at another, more famous MIT: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as director of the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology and associate dean for Open Learning. He was the ideal candidate because he knew about technological innovations for education, after completing a degree in this subject at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The first goal of the current director of the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab at MIT is to open the doors of free distance education to everyone on the planet.

El País