Raj Mruthyunjayappa, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Talisma Corporation Pvt Ltd – a wholly owned subsidiary of Campus Management Corporation, writes to Elets News Network (ENN) on the role of technology in education, challenges campuses are facing and the solutions there of
Higher education is transforming the lives of people all over the world. The impact of globalisation and the arrival of emerging economies on the global stage is set to herald changes in the sector that have never been seen or thought of before. As the segment expands with more students, better infrastructure and technology, the unprecedented growth is also exposing fault lines that were hidden before. The fault lines, unless addressed, may offset the benefits that the sector and participants gain from the unprecedented growth.
Let me contextualise the trend. What we have seen in the last decade is expansion of participation. Thanks to improvement in technology and infrastructure, we have seen significant progress in enrolment ratios, learning efficiency and even pedagogies.
In addition, the student expectations have also changed forcing campuses to constantly rethink their approach towards engaging students. With every fresh batch, a new set of minds, schooled and prepped in diverse environments and having a new set of expectations enters campuses. This presents ready-made challenges for campuses in living up to their expectations and preparing them for a fulfilling career ahead.
Outlining the Challenges
Having closely observed the sector for over a decade and a half, I can say that the challenges that campuses face today are a far cry from the 90s. There are five key areas that we can zero-in on as far as challenges go. They are competition,delivery, compliance and governance and outcomes. Each of these presents a challenge in itself while working in tandem with others to keep higher education planners and university/ campus leadership busy. There are disruptive forces centred on these areas that add up to a superstorm that carries a significant potential to derail the progress made by campuses so far. Institutions will need to re-visit their priorities.
From smart classrooms to measured learning, from one touch student services to e-libraries from MOOCs to dynamic and on-demand learning, technology is today at the heart of everything campuses are doing to improve learning and more
As economies grow, so grows the appetite for trained, skilled and marketready workforce and campuses are ever adapting to ensure they prepare students who are relevant in the marketplace with the right skills and knowledge base.
One cannot and should not address such challenges in a piecemeal manner. Few years ago, education planners used to look at technology as a partner in addressing these challenges. Today, however, technology has donned a more significant role and is in many cases paving the way for campuses to look beyond trepidations.
Technology is the platform on which future strategies and tactics are rolled out. From smart classrooms to measured learning, from one touch student services to e-libraries from MOOCs to dynamic and on-demand learning, technology is today at the heart of everything campuses are doing to improve learning and more.
The agility that technology lends gives campuses that extra room to innovate and grow. It also helps manage disruptive forces that emerge every now and then and present a new set of challenges.
In the background, technology is also bringing students closer to their campuses while helping them successfully address competitive pressures, compliance mandates and improving governance. Automation is only one part of the story. The other parts are convenience, improved efficiencies, better accuracy, faster transactions and improved student experience.
In the future, the contexts may vary and the challenges may too but technology will continue being a force multiplier for the campuses and the higher education segment as a whole.