Why innovation in education matters

Cast your mind to some of the world’s largest organizations, and you will find that it is a product of India’s education system that is at the helm of affairs. And this is a trend that is going to continue unabated, what with Indian student enrolment the third-largest in the world at 36.6 million, pipped only by China and the United States.

Clearly, India’s demographic dividend is one that is ripe: a young talent pool that is estimated to become the world’s largest by 2030. However, it is equally true though that a nation’s socio-economic fabric is determined by the quality of its education, making it imperative to closely scrutinize this silent catalyst of the Indian economy.

“The employment expectations are changing. From about a decade earlier- where technical skills, function-based work, top-down organizations and 40hr/week jobs were in demand, today work is collaboration skills-focused, project-based, anytime, anywhere and in flat organizations. To accommodate these changes, students need to be very comfortable with technology- right from their primary education. And this does not just mean digital education, but also emerging tech like robotics, IoT, AI and VR.”

-Surashree Rahane, National product manager- Education, HP India Sales

Like all other industries, education too is undergoing a revolution and new education trends and equipment are emerging that will help us reimagine the future. Take the example of India’s hinterland; the proliferation of economical smartphones, computers, and the internet is making access to education easier and cheaper than ever before, in ways unimaginable at one time.

Globally too, there are forces of change brewing; the emergence of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and more are striking at the very heart of the future of work and learning. There rages a debate around the impact of tech advances on not just the nature of future workforces, but the skills we need to possess and the pedagogical methods we pursue in the digital age.

“Effective use of technology has revolutionized the behavior pattern of education. With the emergence of technology in classrooms, students are more actively participating in the learning process by gathering relevant information themselves through the Internet. Technology has also brought a high level of efficiency in educational institutions by utilizing digital contents, both in day to day administrative works as well as style of conducting examinations.”

-Hirotoshi Kakegawa, Head – IPG, Fujitsu

This is just the tip of a wave of changes; as the cost of education grows, a larger swathe of the populace will turn to more non-traditional educational means, fundamentally altering the industry landscape. Thus, these many disruptions, some foreseen and others far off in the distance, are something India’s education system needs to be prepared for.

There is no such thing as a sure-shot success formula, but one were to ponder the question, what really is the need of the hour? The digital era education system needs deeply personalized methods of learning, faculty that are not just better-equipped, but equipped for the future, and innovative models of funding that make education accessible to all. This calls for a change in the industry framework towards a more collaborative coalition among all stakeholders, educational institutes, employers, students, professionals, regulators, and government entities can help plug the existing gaps and drive reforms in the Indian higher education sector.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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