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Education 4.0 has become a reality: Dr Anil Kumar, Amity School of Engg & Tech

Lockdown has had a very profound impact on Educational Institutions in terms of adopting technological tools for teaching-learning and evaluation.

National Education Policy (NEP) for India has been revised and approved on 29 July 2020. It signifies a huge milestone for India’s Education system, which will certainly make India an attractive destination for higher education worldwide.

2020 was a challenging year, as the pandemic disrupted life across the entire globe, teachers scrambled to transform their physical classrooms into virtual—or even hybrid—ones, and researchers slowly began to collect insights into what works, and what doesn’t, in online learning environments around the world. In Digital Index Survey 2020, we have talked to many Institutes about how it has been a different year.

We talked to Wg Cdr (Dr) Anil Kumar, Director, Amity School of Engg & Tech, he told us many interesting facts. Excerpts:

DQ: When it comes to online learning, do you think engineering can really be taught effectively, virtually?

 Anil Kumar: In certain branches of engineering, especially in Computer science and information technology and to an extent in Electrical and electronics engineering, online learning can be highly effective at the graduation level while in other branches like Mechanical, Civil, Aerospace engineering current efficacy of online learning tools is limited.

Tools like Virtual lab, multimedia training kits, NPTEL lectures can assist in self-learning and accelerated absorption of concept. However, at the current technological level of sophistication, the conduct of on hands practical courses in core engineering branches is limited.

As the technological inroads are made towards augmented reality and virtual reality tools AI-based adaptive digital learning, the scenario will change dramatically in favor of technology-driven learning, in the very near future.

The use of tools like JIO glass, google glass and holographic presentation by faculty assisted by digital tools will create a virtual classroom. These tools in hands of trained expert faculty will create and enhance learning outcomes.

None the less a teacher will still hold an important place in building engineering concepts, resolving doubts, and blended the mode of experiential learning through virtual and real lab experiments.

DQ: How much of an impact is the lockdown had on educational institutions?

Anil Kumar: Lockdown has had a very profound impact on Educational Institutions in terms of adopting technological tools for teaching-learning and evaluation. The institution has been using MS teams, Zoom, Webex, and Google platforms to conduct online classes.

Institutions have also adopted AI-based proctored tools to conduct online examinations and evaluations. NPTEL, Virtual Labs, digital knowledge repository have been used effectively. In fact, time and space have lost their relevance to give place to 24 hrs learning at your own pace anytime anywhere.

Technology induction has been accelerated in the education sector and a distant future has dawned too quickly and rapidly. Education 4.0 has become a reality. Innovation has become the buzz word and it has opened a tremendous opportunity in bringing world-class talent and expertise within an arms reach.

DQ: How have you responded to the lockdown and how might it affect the way engineering is taught in the future?

 Anil Kumar: As a technology-driven future-ready University, we have responded very rapidly and timely to the lockdown. Without wasting any time the University leadership adopted to best technological solution in online learning. All assignments and evaluations were conducted online. Faculty rose to the occasion and absorbed and implemented a technological solution with a high degree of ease and comfort. The higher leadership left no stone unturned in giving the best and resources were optimized developed and appropriated for efficient course delivery.

The experience during lockdown has created a plethora of new experiences that will change engineering education. The power of resources like virtual lab has been demonstrated beyond doubt. Online simulators are likely to become the new norm. As AI-based technology storm, the education sector transformation is going to be revolutionary. With VR and AR tools, 3D animation, holographic projection, and smart evaluation tools

DQ: The post-Covid-19 world will require every organization to transform digitally. Will graduates require fundamentally different competencies?

 Anil Kumar: The post-Covid world will definitely require every organization to transform digitally. The new normal will certainly demand new competencies and new skill sets. Management law human resource development, tourism industry, digital marketing, medical diagnostics, the healthcare industry will be greatly impacted by new and advanced tools. It is estimated a large number of low skill jobs will go to robotics. Self-driving cars, electric vehicles, drone technology AI in healthcare, 3D manufacturing Quantum computing, and legal software are disruptive technologies that will transform human lives and our governance forever.

New competencies and a new skill set to exploit these technologies will become very important. Short-period certification courses to equip one with fast-changing technology will become the norm. Life long learning will be the new mantra.

DQ: How are you providing skills in new areas, such as Deep Technology, AI, ML, robotics, IIoT, etc.?

Anil Kumar: We are providing skills in new areas by collaborating with the industry. Frequently revising our course curriculum to confirm to industrial norms. Leading industrial experts sit on the Board of studies to advise on the best practices.

Faculty are being motivated to upgrade their skill set by clearing industrial-grade courses and advanced technology refreshers through a well-designed faculty development program. The course has been redesigned to be essentially taught by industrial experts.

National and international Guest lectures, sponsored industry projects, MOU with research Labs across the globe strong focus on innovation have helped us to touch new heights.

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