The fallout of living in a post-pandemic world has also seared the education sector in myriad ways. The conventional education system has been upended and nearly all aspects of learning are being tested today. Everything from the approach towards instruction, human interaction, and elements of learning are being reimagined and the chances are that these changes are here to stay.
Today, the role of education and learning has evolved to become a forum, a catalyst, and a responsible voice in a room. Educational institutes are required to collaborate and listen to learners very intently.
Some of the changes that are happening are very intuitive with many students reconsidering their career paths, wanting to take an interest in entrepreneurship, and nearly 90 percent of students placing emphasis on skills relevant today such as AI, ML, Data Analytics, etc.
The survey reveals that the push towards digital, smart devices access are something that is apparent in a post-pandemic world. This is why, education is also being perceived as an engine for economic recovery by closing the widening skill gap in a period of transition.
The key question is whether the Indian education system is also going to be resistant or shall instead espouse resilience by embracing the broad spectrum of these changes? From a student body point of view, there is going to be an increase in diversity over the coming decades. Yajulu Medury, Vice-Chancellor, Mahindra University reckons, “People from abroad across age groups, culture, and professional backgrounds will now engage with higher education.” Underpinning this shift is going to place a sharp focus on demographic socio-economic trends which will affect higher education on a massive global scale. Rishikesha T Krishnan, Director and Professor of Strategy, IIM Bangalore, observes, “Campuses as frontrunners in tackling climate change and other global crises”.” In many ways, educational institutes are acting as frontiers to tackle future problems and are undergoing a paradigm shift.
For instance, the very foundations of technical or engineering education have changed completely. What was considered the foundation of engineering is no more sufficient for producing future engineers. So, machine learning or artificial intelligence forms a part of the foundational knowledge for engineers today. “As information is available readily, you can condense all that information including fundamentals in fewer courses and introduce new concepts in technical education that are needed such as AI, ML or efficient programming,” observes Dr. Rudra Pratap, Founding Vice-Chancellor, Plaksha University.
Also, learning by doing has acquired new meaning as various simulation tools are available in class.
The Government of India seems to be cognizant of these changes. Post the advent of The National Education Policy (NEP), the future of campuses and education is going to work in consonance to the aforementioned changes. “When it comes to the National Education Policy, quality education is critical to knowledge creation and consequently paves the way for the nation to prosper,” says Prof. Jarugu Narasimha Moorthy, Director, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER).
Another facet is that the difference between a public and private university is going to reduce. Prof. P C Joshi, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University, says, “After the advent of The National Education Policy, the future of campuses and education is going to undergo a paradigm shift.”
Students would get empowered and have more freedom to go across. Education in the Indian context is also going to become more relevant in terms of increasing employability apart from making students better citizens.
As a sense of normalcy resumes in most of the world, education is being reimagined: “Campus Education provides the wholesomeness that goes into complete education,” says Prof. G. Sundar, Director, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus. Technology is expected to drive an entire line of aligned dimensions of campus experiences.
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