Higher education is going through a churn and 2018 -2019 will be defining years for the students of engineering and management streams, writes Prof R S S Mani, Vice President -Institutional Development, ITM Group of Institutions for Elets News Network (ENN).
Engineering and Management programme in its current format has reached saturation point and need to be reinvented for survival in the long run. The demand for pursuing an Engineering degree would continue; however the aspiring students would now carefully choose institutions with a good brand value and good faculty. The pressure will be on faculty to strive continuously to unlearn, learn and relearn in order to remain relevant and contemporary!
Further, all institutions need to rethink about the curriculum of Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and revisit the same and make it more industry relevant. Faculty members in management colleges need to develop newer skills for classroom delivery as they are no more the single source of conceptual inputs, thanks to the Internet. They need to redefine their role as a facilitator of learning and not the disseminator. This will also mean that the management teacher has now to play the role of expert interpreter, analyst and evaluator of various approaches to management. Thus, the pressure will be more on teachers to learn more to keep abreast of the latest trends , practises and such and be able to guide the student .
Good quality higher education is only possible if we have the best of teachers .The most important step that needs to taken at the macro level in our country is to position teaching as an attractive option and should be given its place of pride as an employment option. Sad but true, the teaching profession is often seen as a last career option that executives can pursue after their retirement. Teaching should be a premium career option and teachers should be provided the best facilities similar to those we see at the corporate sectors.
A career in academics would necessitate sound knowledge of e-learning platforms and also the ability to use various online resources to make learning more effective in the classroom. The use of online and interactive learning platforms such as khan academy, coursera, Edx, MIT open courseware, etc can make the learning experience more enriching and meaningful for both the student and the teacher.
An unfortunate reality that we need to soon realise and accept is that many educational institutions will see closure. It is recommended for every teacher in such colleges to focus on reskilling themselves and also acquire additional competencies in emerging areas to remain relevant. Areas like business analytics, data sciences, digital marketing, etc are the high thrust areas currently.
Approach to education and academics has changed to a great extent .The earlier model used to revolve around teachers as the main source of knowledge. However, the current scenario has changed the role of the teachers from source to facilitator. Now, students can learn at home and sit in the classrooms for clearing their doubts. The new age teachers have to be better equipped and smart enough to satisfy the queries and doubts of the students to gain their confidence and establish credibility.
To summarise, a career in education would be more challenging and demanding and hence is strongly recommended to those who have a serious bent of mind towards academics. It cannot be seen as a comfortable & cushy career with limited working hours and minimal stress. Further a career in this area would necessarily need a PhD qualification for growth and stability.