By Rashmi Singh
Edited by Shambhavi Singh,Senior editor, The Indian Economist
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” The words of Charles Darwin are definitely relevant to the world of higher education. Colleges and other institutes imparting higher education are thrown in the middle of radical and pervasive change where education is being driven by technology and innovations.
Needless to say, institutes must respond to that change in such a way that helps to shape the future of Indian higher education or else be in a precarious condition of fading into obsolescence. So, following the tide, the higher education system in India gradually went on to embrace this digitized form of education, involving both – teaching and learning.
It started with the management colleges in India, especially the top tier institutes like the Indian Institutes of Management. From providing computer labs to fully computerized libraries, the institutes gradually took to practices like beaming; laptops became a common feature in classrooms of top institutes where business management courses were being offered.
Slowly but steadily, technology even forayed into other domains of education like engineering, humanities, and social sciences. Written tests taken earlier by students on pen and paper have been replaced by computerized tests. Power point presentations are often accepted as projects submitted by students.
The Current Trends
If we are to analyse this current trend in the form of higher education, we have to understand that times change and one has to be responsive and adaptive towards these changes – thus, it will ensure survival in the long-term. Today, with technology taking a leap ahead with smartphones and tablets not only making an appearance but also becoming a hit favourite especially among the younger generations, education has again started redefining itself. From a pluralist space (teacher giving a lecture in a class), education has zeroed down to occupy a more personalized space. Experts are of the opinion that India has witnessed a surge in start-ups in the domain on education, in the last two/three years owing to the popularity of tablets and smartphones. Recently, one of the experts was quoted saying that tablets provide a unique opportunity of engaging students in a personalized manner which was earlier not possible. This kind of content is also highly-engaging as compared to its older counterparts. The interactive aspect along with the non-linear format of content, keeps up the interest of the students more than their conventional counterparts.
With the passage of time, the digital spaces have opened up an entire new gamut for education in India. Professional education and online education is on the rise. As life becomes faster and we face a crunch for time, we have easily resorted to the online world. Professionals are looking for an easy way to pursue higher studies, and at the same time ensuring that they can secure a job. Following the new wave, educational institutions have also offered a way out – online education programmes. While only a certain segment of education has taken to the online format, traditional courses have also resorted to the online world in some way or the other. Online MBAs have become quite popular among thousands of students across the country who finds it extremely convenient to opt for online courses, as they can juggle other activities while at pursuing their higher studies.
Recently, India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said that the country must embrace the digital world with more fervor; as digital media is no longer a new concept in the country, the education sector should make the most use of it and thereby help revolutionise the education system in the country.
It goes without saying that the digital media has been responsible for transforming the system of education to a great extent. With each passing day, as inventions lead to newer technologies, every field of life is experiencing a change – whether it is for the good or bad, can be debated at a future date. But as of now all we can say is that, the Indian education system is undergoing a gradual transformation because of digital media, and is bound to take higher education to a higher level.
Sampurna Majumder is a professional writer who enjoys creativity and challenges. Barely a year into new media, she has written several posts, articles and blogs for prominent websites covering a wide range of topics—from real estate to education; from jobs to relationships.