Technology has done tremendous things to provide education, even to remote learners. Data science, AR/VR, AI/ML, etc., have come up well.
The panel discussion on “Digital transformation: How technology is shaping the future education” featured Prof. Raj S Dhankar, VC, Apeejay Stya University, Sandeep Bhatia, Director, Sales, Accops Systems Pvt Ltd, Vivek K. Srivastava, CIO, ExamOnline, and Sabyasaachi Mukherjee, Education Transformation Lead, Lenovo. Anil Chopra, VP and Research, Consulting, CyberMedia Research, was the moderator.
Chopra said that institutions have come out stronger in the pandemic. Prof. Dhankar said: Technology in education is required, as that acts as an enabler and a leveller. We can see value-add when we have deployed technology. Students still can’t get to colleges and universities after getting out of school. We are improving their gross involvement ratio. We have done value-add only when we have added technology. We need to train students hands-on for being industry ready. Otherwise, they cannot get good placements.
By establishing the Bloomberg labs at our institute, we got live data of the world’s stock markets and economies. Next year, the placement went up by 20%. We have to move fast enough in higher education. The physical infrastructure is not available enough. NEP and UGC also suggested that we need to have digital universities. We need to have good technology. We can also improve the quality of publications. People now go abroad as there is better environment and structure over there. The differentiating factor is technology.
Chopra agreed that we have to go online with education. Everyone has the same technology and it has become competitive. Bhatia said: We need money for running resources. We also need to keep up with technological advancements. We need to leverage current resources. We can develop skills for students and help them to be innovative.
Bhatia continued: Accops High Labs is designed for higher education. They are able to assess the lab on real-time basis from anywhere, on any device. Japan has taken this program to several of their colleges and universities. You can have curriculum based on real-time, in your own way. Labs can be designed along the way. Students can develop their own time table. Virtualization can help develop new devices. Students need flexibility today, and make best use of their time. Faculty can design their own programs, as needed. You don’t incur too much cost for endpoints. New technology can be easily added, and upgraded.
What are some of the latest innovations that students are using? Srivastava said: There is holistic education where students can provide feedback. They need to know the factors where they will get assessed on. Students can also get deep, practical education. Digital transformation is enabling learning from anywhere.
Finally, what are the new offerings available today for students? Mukherjee said: The education fraternity has changed from what they were not ready for. They have all adapted to change. Technology has done tremendous things to provide education, even to remote learners. Data science, AR/VR, AI/ML, etc., have come up well. In India, we are having discussions with universities for setting up centers of excellence.
Today, education institutes are embracing technology. However, employability remains a problem. Mukherjee said we are having NASSCOM’s employability quotient. Students who flunk generally do not have inter-personal skills. We need to understand perception of the parents. People are only talking about engineering. Somehow, students are crossing the line, but they are not getting good jobs. We need to have a look at training curriculum that is also job-oriented.
Prof. Dhankar noted that we have seen various policies that have tried to make a difference. We were probably not sincere enough to implement them. We did not follow a proper policy. Institutes were not having good infrastructure and faculty. Demand and supply saw the weak closing down. We have a situation where, as the academic, we also failed the country. It is a mixed case now to discuss this. We should not make experiments with education. We have to bring more sincerity and purpose into the system.
We also need to have theoretical-lab ratio of 20:80 or 10:90, as it is done in the USA. That’s why many engineering colleges have closed down. There should be pressure on the students to work 18 hours a day. Companies used to have in-house training programs. They need to invest in training the person. Life spans of businesses are getting shorter. We need to have and build leadership quality and holistic growth.
Srivastava said that we also need to have fairness on assessment and evaluation. We can create, analyze, and process lot of data. Lot of innovation takes place in smaller organizations. It will help gain knowledge of what’s going on in the industry today. Bhatia noted that we also need to have industry exposure. We need to give students that kind of exposure. Technology is evolving, and new things are coming up. We need to encourage students to solve more problems. The students should be exposed to general corporate problems on the ground.
Mukherjee added that technology plays a very important role. Students need to be given real-time knowledge. Virtual labs are coming up. They have to be implemented. There has to be proper plan. Practical knowledge is very important for students. We also need to integrated engineering with humanities for various fields. Students need to understand how they can gel into the corporate environment.