Acceptance of eLearning as a dependable alternative has put emphasis upon skill revolution. This is the right time for academia, government and corporates to collaborate intensively and collectively advance education delivery in India.
With vaccination numbers reaching critical mass in the coming months, educational institutions are preparing a return to normalcy. The pandemic-forced shift in the mode of education has challenged our cognitive abilities. Teachers, parents as well as students have done a commendable job in adapting to the challenges of online learning. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has made us better prepared for any eventuality, the cost of over a year’s lockdown is too high to bear individually. Acceptance of eLearning as a dependable alternative has put emphasis upon skill revolution. This is the right time for academia, government and corporates to collaborate intensively and collectively advance education delivery in India.
A well-balanced education system underlines the importance of accessibility across regions, an enriching student engagement and the need to churn out job-ready graduates who are adept in life skills. As we return to classrooms, peer-supported learning will be a strong catalyst in re-igniting the ‘fun’ in learning as well as teaching.
Let us discuss some key initiatives that will define the future of education:
Classrooms: Further to the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP), we can expect a slew of developments. Key among them would be a renewed stress on personalised education while creating multicultural classrooms. Going forward, institutions in their bid to provide a fulsome learning experience to their students could collaborate with each other to benefit from their cross-functional expertise and optimization through shared resources. Students would have an opportunity to graduate in cross-functional degrees thus opening up more avenues for post-study jobs. Delivering higher education in multiple languages will empower native speakers to inverse the dropout ratio. The goal is to create ‘global students’.
Learning: If India intends to lead in academia, we must transition learning from theoretical or knowledge-based to practical or competence-based. Growing competition has led to institutions providing practical education. Offering research options as part of studies will ensure students imbibe real-world applications and are job-ready. The development of in-house teams or collaborations with edtech firms and corporates will greatly facilitate this transition. Another important development would be the implementation of renewed assessment techniques. Personalised and continuous assessments aimed at improving individual student’s learning abilities should be encouraged. The traditional percentage system is now obsolete. With students having more electives to choose from, accessibility of education shall make the process of learning fun.
Information & Communication Technologies (ICT): Over the last one year, we have experienced a smooth transition to eLearning. Further advances in the implementation of ICT tools will bring about uniformity and raise the quality of education across regions. Remote learning technologies will help increase and ease communication between professors & students. At the same time, ICT tools can provide detailed feedback to professors. Thus improving the quality of teaching. Finally, ICT tools can make learning interesting by offering students the independence to develop their personalised learning trajectories through online courses.
Jobs: As most industries have undergone drastic changes in the last year, we will see an evolution of new categories of job functions. The upgradation and automation within industries will lead to the discontinuation of some traditional degrees. Upskilling will remain a keyword within the recruitment market for the coming years. As with students graduating with cross-functional degrees, even professionals would aim to develop multiple fields of expertise. Thus improving their professional knowledge. Monochromatic careers will slowly cease to interest. Skilling and reskilling one’s workforce will be a key goal for HR through Learning and Development programmes. The peer-to-peer learning and sheer competition to better one’s teammate shall give a renewed meaning to the term ‘student for life’.
Coming years will bring about unexpected changes. COVID-19 has helped overcome the hesitancy towards implementing technology applications. As we enter uncharted territories, education will evolve to accommodate these learnings. Personalisation and peer bonding will give rise to an education model that is agile and self-evolving. We are at the beginning of the NEP implementation and coming years could very well return education in India to the forefront globally.
—Nilesh Gaikwad is Country Manager at EDHEC Business School, France and can be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed are personal.
(Edited by : Ajay Vaishnav)
First Published: IST