Today, India has 37 million students across 1000 universities served by 1.5 million teachers. This could be the population of a small country, and if given the right direction, it can change the future of India!
With the start of the new decade, 2020 has brought in some very positive changes to the education sector as well. The union budget of 2020 for instance, has earmarked Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector in 2020-21, followed by an investment of Rs. 3,000 crores for skill development. Apart from this, the FM has also suggested a new education policy that will be designed to create better employability for Indian youth.
The important plan for 2020 has been not only financial support but realizing that the Indian education system needs to be employability focused. To achieve this, technology and its adoption will play an unprecedented role in 2020 and beyond.
Making Education Resonate with Employment
The first disconnect between classroom teaching and job skills-based education is fast being eliminated, by the best-known institutions in India taking a stand on the need to make education practical. There are several tie-ups with global institutions and universities that strengthen our abilities to do so. The policy structure is also changing to ensure that the budget 2020 has made the provision for this by way of sourcing foreign direct investment and external borrowing provided for about 150 institutions, enabling them to start apprenticeship embedded degree/diploma courses by March 2021.
“Using analytics and Big Data, colleges and universities will be able to create and deliver courses as per market needs, and not because it has always been so!”
In 2020, technology will be the single biggest enabler for making education in India relevant and easily accessible for students across the country. With 560 million internet users (more than the population of USA), online education seems to be the best way forward in India. The government will support the top 100 ranking institutions in the country to start a degree level full-fledged online education programmed for students. This will soon pervade technology and management education as well. With better connectivity and 5G available, online education will be more pervasive than ever before.
Technology to the Fore
Digital transformation of the education sector has assured Digitization of books, single platform data and assessments and of course, ubiquitous connectivity. These pillars of this new paradigm are all set to change the way Indian youth study!
One new trend that will emerge is the increase in skill centered courses over generic ones. With new technologies and newer management skills needed, there will be an increasing number of graduates who will be looking for higher education for added skills. Our institutions need to be ready with courses that provide executive growth as well as industrial skills for the modern enterprise. Universities and institutions are planning to create and deliver new modules with updated offerings for modern enterprise needs.
Since connectivity and online education are taking center stage, we can certainly look forward to what some experts refer to as 'unbundling' of education. In India, it will mean shorter term and higher skills programs instead of longterm degree courses. The shorter ones will generate faster, higher employability, with ease of impartment taking top priority. As global brands look for skills more than degrees, this is fast becoming the way forward- competency over paperwork. The education system in India will be reflecting this trend over 2020 and beyond.
Beyond online education, other technologies will play an increasing role both in planning education and courses, as well as promoting institutions. Using analytics and Big Data, colleges and universities will be able to create and deliver courses as per market needs, and not because it has always been so! These tools will also provide students with the right support at the right time, ensuring higher competency delivered by the courses they take up. The present Learning Management Systems will become more robust in providing not only support to students but also offering more services like fee payment, better employment opportunities, enabling better industry support, to name a few. Added to this is NLP led AI tools that will assess students and their exam readiness. AI will then be the next step in adding value to the education impartment, but that's still a few years away.
PPP will Grow
Yet another paradigm that I see moving ahead in 2020 is better partnerships between industry and institutions for ensuring better education standards as well as hiring percentages. This could be a big stride for globalization of higher education. The 3.5 billion global internet user community can leverage this advantage for much better education opportunities as well as a healthier involvement of enterprises in education decisions. India’s top universities are striving and achieving more of this partnership. With this, students can be a part of a connected community globally, sharing experiences, competencies, skills, and plans for development. Real-time collaboration between geographically disparate student communities will certainly drive better education strategies. It is already possible to be part of a learning community where the students are on different continents but still able to collaborate in real-time. Also, statistics show much higher international student mobility – promoting globalization of education beyond boundaries.
Alongside, financial support and collaboration on Public Private Partnership basis will also create a healthy environment for students. Collaborations of this nature should be the Vison of the Indian education system in the coming year. This will drive all-around development of not only students and their competencies but also the expertise of institutions for imparting these skills. This will also ensure building sector specific scale in a short period of time.
Perhaps, the Vision for 2020 should be all about collaboration – enabled by cutting edge technology that will ensure that the students of 2020 become better business leaders of the next decade.
Dr. H. Vinod Bhat, Vice Chancellor
Dr. H. Vinod Bhat is the sixth Vice Chancellor. With an MD in (Community Medicine), he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons, Glasgow. Dr. Bhat has had a long and illustrious career both as a teacher as well as an able administrator. A researcher at heart, he has several scientific publications in national and international peer reviewed journals to his credit. With his rich experience in research, Dr. Bhat has been responsible for the spectacular growth in external research funding attracted by MAHE.