The education sector is witnessing tumultuous changes. One aspect is the humungous growth in the number of institutions. The 11th Plan Initiatives quoted in the Union Budget for India 2010 envisage 10 more NITs, 20 new IIITs, 2 new SPAs, 5 new IISERs, 7 new IIMs, 8 new IITs and 16 new central universities. These government-led initiatives are but the tip of the iceberg, with private institutions mushrooming by the day. Increasing competition among institutions is a natural fall out of such explosive growth in numbers.
Furthermore, the Foreign Educational Institution Bill 2010 has opened the doors for universities abroad to set up shop in India. This move is expected to increase the course options available to students, and also impel domestic universities to do their best to retain their position of prominence. Another dimension is the ushering in of much-needed reforms in education. The draft rules of the Right to Education Act, have thrown up challenges in widening the reach of good quality education.
Given the large scale changes in the ecosystem, schools and colleges face some very complex challenges, including:
- Creating a differentiated learning experience which is critical to attract students,
- Increasing the reach of their offering
- Running efficient, corporate-like operations in a safe physical and digital environment, and
- Maximizing return on their technology investments.
- How can education institutes meet such diverse challenges?
- Technology May hold the answers.
Differentiation through next gen learning
Today's environment is characterized by the availability of affordable and hi speed internet access, applications for collaboration and ubiquitous video technology. These new technologies can benefit educational institutes in many ways. Using media-rich, video-enabled content can help students experience a more engaging, accelerated learning process.
Armed with technology tools, educational institutions will be able to meaningfully connect with their stakeholders – students, parents, educators and companies. By leveraging hi-speed network technology, institutions can also build physical and virtual networks to help students, faculty, staff, and the broader community to connect with one another. These connections will enable the sharing of key information, more effective communication and collaboration using video, voice and chat