Digital Transformation Revolutionizing Traditional Education

Vishal Sinha, President & CIO, TranzLease Holdings (I) | Wednesday, 03 August 2016, 09:11 IST

Time has witnessed change best, be it other geographies or civilization or educational reforms.  There was a time when a student’s notebook and blackboard were sufficient tools for study in a classroom. The change has not only changed the definition of literacy but has brought a paradigm shift in the way education was perceived two decades back. The reason for this change is also the change in demanding education reforms globally, exchange educational programs, aggressive behavior of changing employment rate and knowledge transfer, changing patterns of both technical and non-technical courses and its subsequent demand in job market, emergence of new business lines, sectors that requires specialized knowledge, and emerging specializations, career oriented approach of people in today’s world - has forced us to think how Digital education can help us make the educational system more available to larger Indian audience. Attaining literacy is not the objective rather necessity for us and so going digital is not just a technological advancement but an attempt to reach larger masses- and connect the remotest audience in shortest possible time and to equip them with more technology skills to have next generation a literate India in real sense. The entire education model is changing and the digitization era has completely revolutionized the educational delivery with the power of digital communication with quick connectivity, various modes and its giant reach globally.

Digitization and digital initiatives has resulted in innovating something new or creating things that was beyond imagination in the traditional model. However, the only thing that has not changed is the new form of teacher – student relationship and the impact a teacher or instructor can have on the life and learning of a student.

Census data reveals 25 crores young Indians will be added in the list of voters and statistics data by various agency also indicates that more than 250 million additional skilled manpower will be required across the industry and services segments by 2030. We are at cross roads and also sitting on the den of opportunity. However, with the change in the education methods, we need a differentiated system of technologically equipped educational institutions with differing objectives focusing research, career and a strong skills foundation model which can not only train but shape the futuristic skills for generations yet to come and work in the industry. Digital transformation can convert the entire concept of library to e-library with e-content and which is available and affordable to larger audience and can make them employable with its use, from a quality perspective- and this is available only through the Digital initiative and transformation.

Global Acceptance of Digital Education

With the launch of Digital India, state governments and education practitioners have become increasingly interested in the potential of technology to address low learning levels. A smart blend of online & offline teaching methods with digital technologies closing the gaps that a traditional structure throws up is the best way to tackle the impending education crisis within us.

We have adequate university and colleges to support the digital education – the challenge is only how to make it reach the audience and which can get supplemented with capable teachers / pedagogy and adequate funding to prepare the infrastructure to carry out the education model at various levels.

Taking Education to the Next Level

The digital infrastructure should be aimed to enable low cost access to high quality education on mass scale through Massive Open Online Course (MOOC’s) platform through top institution to millions of students across the country. This will not only offer seamless access to high-quality content generated by elite institutions, recorded lectures of renowned faculty, a dispersed and diverse peer group, and certification from reputed universities, global and Indian.

Effective digital higher education program will focus more effort towards increased access to high-quality education through content-sharing as a part of ICT and more support should be given to under-resourced higher education institutions to help them develop the required ICT capacity to benefit from technological initiatives such as National Knowledge Network and National Mission for Education–This will create open-access content repositories from which institutions should have the option of selecting modules they want to use and use other advanced media of connectivity such as Wi -Fi and upcoming Li-Fi, mobile technology without any restriction.

As slow sustainable and progressive initiatives, technology training and skill development, center of excellence, should be given more emphasis by technology providers and innovators like IBM through their IBM CE (Career Education Program) which focuses in taking and bringing the technology to the right hands - promotion and tie-ups/partnerships between higher education institutions, colleges, universities, to launch employment-oriented modules for ITIs, engineering, polytechnics, private vocational training so that the job market is ready with trained resources. This will develop a system of engagement/ partnership between higher education institutions and skill-based training providers. We need to develop a structure to formalize collaborations between higher education and skills training institutions and undertake regulatory reforms to enable collaborations to devise a policy to provide recognized certification to higher education students for the skills training programs they attend.