Over the past couple of decades, the magnitude of changes experienced by us gives a sneak peek into the future disruptions that will only accelerate with time. What shape the future of education will take is still not fully clear, but most educators and observers agree that the future of learning would be beyond the boundaries of “classrooms”. Modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Virtual Reality and Blockchain aren’t just changing the learning spaces for students, instead, they are also shaking up the very role of educators and remodeling modern classrooms.
Today, it is a reality that rapidly changing technologies in many different fields have changed the way we need to measure some aspects of creating “new global citizens” who will have to learn the art of living with Sophia. Last year when the advanced lifelike humanoid robot ‘Sophia’ was named a citizen of Saudi Arabia, she became the world’s first robot citizen. Tesla’s new $5 billion Gigafactory will be almost 100% automated with very limited interventions. So once confined to the pages of futuristic dystopian fictions, new-age technologies promise to be the most profoundly disruptive shift since the industrial revolution and our educational institutions need to adopt modern systems of teaching and learning to keep pace.
If we simply go by numbers, by 2030, the number of school going children in India in the age bracket of 4-17 years is estimated to be 300 million, while 140 million of youth population in the age group of 18-23 years will be enrolled in colleges and universities representing an estimated Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 50%. All the new-age disruptive innovations will reflect upon the potential impact on the quality and reach of our Education system offerings. Ignoring them is not an option, nor is a wait-and-see approach.
So, the government’s various initiatives are directed towards developing a conducive environment for “futuristic education”. Setting up of Atal Tinkering Labs and Atal Innovation Centres are aimed at inculcating a culture of scientific innovation into the young learners. Impacting Research, Innovation, and Technology (IMRINT) has been started to boost social innovation. Expansion of Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM) is aimed towards including more students in online learning.
Quality and Credible private sector institutions are also working towards knowledge creation through integrating modern learning pedagogies and tools. Modern classrooms are developed that include new-age technologies and collaborative tools to create an “intelligent learning” environment. Their focus has been on developing key skills like Critical thinking, Problem-solving, Collaboration, and Creativity.
Further, to realize the dream of India becoming a global skilled human resource hub, our education system needs to effectively integrate the following:
Personalized learning: Personalised learning should be encouraged which involves extending the educational concepts of differentiation and individualization to connect to the learner’s interest and experiences and meet his/her needs, abilities and interests.
Effective e-learning environment: The advent of digitally-enabled classrooms, cloud-based content, e-books and online assessments, among others, should be integrated to create a “global learning environment”.
Adaptive Learning through modern technologies: Adaptive learning systems and technologies like- AI, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Blockchain – can help in personalized learning. Machine learning, along with natural processing and speech recognition technologies can also facilitate in developing conversational programs like chatbots.
Promoting Research & Innovation: Innovation through research and technology integration could be a main driving force for increased productivity, economic growth, social transformation and for reshaping and redefining every sphere of our social and economic structure.
Increased Global Visibility: Enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of Indian Education System is a key to truly make it global. The government’s initiative of “Study in India” has the potential of developing India as a strong brand to ensure we remain competitive in attracting students, faculty and international partners.
To create a globally competitive education system, we need a partnership between a student – a learner, the teacher- a facilitator and the government agency – an enabler.