Friday, July 1, 2011

Education - A Goldmine Sector in India

The education fraternity in India is poised for revolutionary changes as acquiring education is all about
Learn – Assimilate – Apply

The issue of employability vs. the relevance of our present education system, to the needs of the industry has become the national agenda and a topic of intense debate. This calls for the focus on providing robust education and training that empowers our human resources with a strong foundation integrated with industry ready skills, reflecting local flavours yet benchmarked to global standards.

Even though universities are trying to make their students, industry ready, the quality of academics cannot be fortified. This appears to be a greater challenge but at the same time there is a need to continuously work towards bringing about academic reforms to address this. Academic quality and industry are irreconcilable as the industry relies on high academic quality.  Therefore, primary emphasis of education should be to enable young people to learn to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively.

While imparting skills is one aspect, innovating and cutting edge research is another. Moreover, India needs to be conscious of its own unique location, diverse demographic benefit and how that strategically places us on the global map. Research and Skill Based education are the two areas that need immediate attention from the policy makers and other key industry stakeholders. 

While, India is emerging as an economy with a faced paced growth there are challenges that needs to be overcome to sustain its growth momentum. Facts state that the current projected growth implies the need to expand enrolment ratio in tertiary sector by 8.9 million seats by 2016. Considering rich demographic dividend, challenge is to increase our enrolment at the level of tertiary education. The current enrolment ratio is as low as 14% compared to 20% in China, 30% in middle east and 60-70% in developed nations. If enrolment ratio doesn’t get increased our demographic can turn into a demographic deficit.

The world is changing all around us and pressures on the education system are mounting. Education institutions across the globe are moving towards newer methodologies for education delivery for the benefit of all interest groups. At the same time, hiring organisations are clearly aiming something above and beyond pure academics.  New age organisations expect to hire students who are ready for the ‘working arena’ and can seamlessly transition from Classroom into the Workplace

Education is moving into the digital age. Pedagogies have changed to engage the latest digital technologies. The methods of distribution are now a blend of face to face sessions and combinations of virtual interfaces. The 21st century teachers need to leverage on ICT skills to be able to develop a connect with today’s generation, professional environment and emerging education models. Also, ICT can be an enabler for reforming education by overcoming shortage of skilled teachers and providing quality education via virtual classrooms and digitised content. But can online education or distance or virtual learning, replace classrooms ?

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