Indian giant gives lifeline to struggling universities

India's richest company, the Tata group, is forging a deal to transform Ireland into the world's first stop for e-learning and earn millions for the country's floundering universities. Senior executives from Tata, which has a market capitalisation of €134 billion (US$166 billion), met Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton to progress the plans last week, writes Sarah McCabe for

Natarajan Chandrasekaran, the chief executive of Tata Consultancy Services – who informally is referred to as Chandra – is spearheading the deal. As well as meeting government leaders, he addressed the heads of the country's universities at a glitzy showcase in Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel.

Tata intends to create online courses accredited by Irish universities which can be sold worldwide. It will use technology developed by Tata's consulting arm, which is already used in-house by its 300,000 employees. The deal should earn millions for Ireland's universities, which have seen their spending budgets slashed after years of austerity.
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