Redefining Higher Education in the Digital Era

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There’s no denying that the Internet has also dramatically changed the state of education over the past years. Digitisation has transformed the education sector and modern classrooms with smartboards, virtual classroom and E-text books have taken over blackboards, chalks and dusters, writes Dr Minu Madlani, Principal, KPB Hinduja College, for Elets News Network (ENN).

Dr Minu Madlani, Principal, KPB Hinduja College

Dr Minu Madlani, Principal, KPB Hinduja College

The 21st century has been rightly termed as the digital era. Internet is bringing a substantial change in our lives as we are dependent on the usage of technology to even complete simple tasks. Many of us don’t even remember the world that existed before digital technology emerged. It is easy to connect to the internet from any place in the world. You have computers at every step. Smartphone are basically become pocket computers which you can access anytime and for anything you want. According to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India titled ‘’Internet in India 2017”, the number of internet users in India is expected to reach 500 million by June 2018. The number of Internet users stood at 481 million in December 2017, an increase of 11.34% over December 2016. Digital technology is everywhere and it has changed the world in more than one way.

The government is also in favour of integrating technology into education – encouraging most educational institutions to migrate from blackboards to digital boards. Technology will be the biggest growth driver in improving the quality of education in India. Digital India is an active slogan of propagated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With the intention of providing more computer-based education and interactive learning he launched the E-basta scheme in 2014 to promote e-learning. The scheme was aimed at making children free from the burden of carrying books to school.

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Digital revolution in India’s education sector started with management colleges like the Indian Institutes of Management. From providing computer labs to fully computerized libraries, the institutes gradually initiated digital practices. Laptops became common in institutes and among the students studying business management courses. Eventually it forayed in other domains of education too. Exams were no longer limited to pen and paper as it was replaced by computerized exams. Power point presentations were accepted as projects submitted by students. It was soon realized that learning no longer revolved around the ability to just read, write and crunch numbers.

In the occurrence of digital era, drivers of change such as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology etc have a resounding impact on the evolution of education. These growth drivers are also the demographics of the business landscape and the skills that are required to meet the demands of the future. According to world economic forum the demand for technology and computational thinking skills will grow by about a fifth by 2025. These technologies will create 2.1 million jobs by 2020, which will require knowledge in computing. That is why it is important to incorporate digitization in the learning process which will help students in critical thinking, innovation, collaboration and problem solving. Along with primary syllabus, the curriculum should also focus on technology, innovation, general skills and business management.

PM Modi’s emphasis on the Digital India campaign has helped transform the education system in the country. India is at the cusp of the next growth revolution. The Future of Work will be defined by speed, scale & digitization. To embrace the future of work, India can train its new and young population with new skills to ensure a stronger service industry. India’s natural advantage in digital technologies, its instinct for innovation and enterprising spirit make it perfectly suited to embrace the Future of Work and raise the living standard of India’s people for decades to come. Such transformational changes due to digital media are bound to take higher education to a higher level.

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