Bangalore, May 7 2018: Prakash Menon , the man who over nearly 2 decades, as President, NIIT China helped create the India brand of infotech training in that country, died in his sleep on May 4 at the age of 54. He was brought back to India and cremated in Bangalore on Monday.
When he moved to China in 1997, Menon was already a 10-year veteran , having served in Bangalore and Chennai. Over the next 20 years, he helped establish NIIT as the " most influential IT training brand in China" to quote the Chinese Ministry of Education. He did this painstakingly by working within the formal Chinese technical education system, convincing province after province to recognize the IT training provided by NIIT as equivalent to college credits in that subject. Across 25 provinces, and 130 Chinese universities, over 200 NIIT centres -- staffed by Chinese instructors, working on courses crafted by Indians -- made the brand one of the best recognized by engineering students. Chinese students took a 4 year bachelor programme or 3 year associate degree programme in Information Technology. On weekends at the same location, NIIT provided training in English language skills. The irony was, in an innovative " NIIT Inside" model, dozens of Chinese institutions, embedded the Indian trainer and exempted students from a regular course, if they had taken the equivalent NIIT course in Java, C++ Web design etc. This, while the Indian government arms like UGC and AICTE continued to ignore the certifications of private trainers like NIIT.
The Chinese government honoured Menon ( and NIIT Vice Chairman Vijay Thadani) multiple times and many provincial administrations sought their advice when they crafted new tech courses.
Menon was a leader of the 3000-strong Indian community in Shanghai. His wife Rekha and children Manaasi and Medha, who did most of their schooling in China, surprised visitors from India, by their fluency in Mandarin.
Since 2016, Menon moved from active direction of NIIT China and served as President of NIIT Career Education business, with his base in Bangalore. But when the history of NIIT is written, Prakash Menon's role in establishing the brand in China as an exemplar of Indian IT training will form a glorious chapter.
All of us at NIIT, are deeply saddened by the news. Prakash Menon was an
extraordinary human being, an inspiring mentor, an organization builder and
a professional par excellence. The void created by his passing shall always
be felt. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family in these difficult times.
Vijay Thadani, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, NIIT Limited
IndiaTechOnline has covered the Prakash Menon and NIIT China story for over a decade:
NIIT is top IT trainer brand -- in China!
Indian tech training leader NIIT, cements its ties in China, signs agreement with Guizhou province
Earlier coverage in The Hindu:
Indian trainer makes IT happen for the Chinese