by Chetan Singh
Aren’t we eager to know how things might shape up in the education sector, 12 years from now? What changes can we anticipate in the industry, and how it will impact the life of ordinary people? These are pertinent questions that will determine the economic future of India.
India’s young population can work in its favour
In the coming years, India will have a huge population pool that is both educated and of employable age. In other industrially powerful economies, notably China, people are aging rapidly, which will eventually cause a dearth of workers. However, this is not the case with India, where the surplus labour force is referred to as her demographic dividend. Thus, India will be in a unique position in the world to leverage this dividend to its advantage, as it aims to join the ranks of economically developed countries by 2050.
What the market expects
The dominant sectors in contemporary India are the service and manufacturing industries, which are both undergoing a tremendous transformation. Given the shift in focus from labour-intensive techniques to machine-led systems, constant innovation is key. As the ecosystem promotes specialization, the natural trend in employment would be moving towards specialist roles.
On the customer’s side, they will be spoilt for choices, and the bar of expectations is likely rise every year. Once again, to continue catering to their preferences and wants in an efficient and sustainable manner, innovation will be key.
Students of the future will be trained and prepared for skills that will help them fit this state of affairs. The implementation of the same shall be possible through the pedagogy of ‘mentorship’, as students shall be trained, assessed and mentored by the leaders and ‘captains’ of different industries. In turn, organisations in these sectors will also continually gain from their interactions with the students, thanks to an influx of new ideas.
With regards to the education, here are some trends that I strongly believe will impact the educational climate in India:
Imparting Education through MOOCs
The ‘massive open online course’ (MOOC) is a revolutionary concept which is set to take root at an unprecedented rate in the coming years. Students will increasingly embrace this mode of study, as it delivers content at the place and time of their convenience. Students from remote locations can attend sessions, and benefit from its flexibility.
Industries that absorb the candidates will take the lead in training them as well. They will take initiative to work closely with academia. Even in recent times, few conglomerated, business mammoths have set up educational institutes as their ‘philanthropic initiative’. This is to cater not only to their own human resource requirement as well as to contribute in an impactful manner within the ambit of their industry.
As a result, industry leaders and professionals would come closer to academia, bridging the gap by sharing real-time experiences with students, and providing them with first-hand opportunities for exposure. Virtual simulations of workplaces shall be contextualized and placed before the students to condense their learning. These can be complemented through online sessions for theoretical training, which the students can access as per their convenience in a location-agnostic manner. Moreover, they can also raise their queries and doubts in a democratic manner, thereby allowing everybody to get the attention due to them in the learning process. Students will be able to drop their queries on forums or raise them during live sessions, which the trainer, teaching assistants, or the peer-learning community can help address.
The classroom learning model will evolve
Within the classroom, the emphasis will be on orientation, instruction, and training. There will be fewer interruptions as students will streamline their doubts and questions to the virtual platforms, where each talking point will be able to facilitate a discussion from different perspectives and in varied depth.
Secondly, students will be able to focus on presenting their questions and answers in a more thoughtful and effective way. This will encourage them to explore various media to support their expression in ever-better ways, helping sharpen their creative acumen. In this practice, instructors will also be able to crowdsource learning and instructional material, for instance, by archiving the best of presentations, essays, and so forth, for the future batches.
Exciting times are ahead in global education sector, and it is up to Indian academicians, policy-makers, and parents to pave the way for adopting it in the country’s scenario.
Chetan Singh is Deputy Director of Career Development & Placement Division at O.P Jindal University
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