Coronization of Higher Education: How does the future look like?

Coronization of Higher Education: How does the future look like?

The World has seen paradigm shifts in society and business by unprecedented events and circumstances forced by experimentation around new ideas. It has happened after Spanish flu, World War II, Y2K problem and several such events. This time the entire world is undergoing lockdown due to COVID-19 leading to lockdown of economies, businesses, societies and the way human lived a normal life. The buzz word is ‘New Normal’ for society and business.

The Corona Virus Pandemic is here to stay atleast till the vaccine or cure is found. The World Health Organization recently stated that we have to learn to live with the virus as the cure is no sooner expected.

This has impacted the way Higher Education was provided. Within a month almost all the Universities and Institutions switched to Online Teaching to engage students in lockdown, to cover-up syllabus and ensure that academic calendars are maintained. This happened inspite of teachers not trained for online teaching, no quality guidelines for online delivery and inappropriate IT gazettes and tools both at the end of students and teachers. It had been a bumpy ride but human spirit helped overcome this challenges. After Teaching, conducting examination online came as a second challenge which the HEIs addressed with blended models to reach their ground realities. HEIs, Statutory bodies, Students, Parents and Employers are having their share of experiences to reflect on given a New Normal for Higher Education.

Due to prevailing rules and regulations of lockdown and induced COVID fear , the permanent need for Social Distancing, wearing of mask, regular sanitization and opening and closing of areas turning red zones, HEIs can no sooner expect regular operations as was in Before Corona (BC) era. Hostels will remain deserted and parents preferring the students to remain at safety of home rather than taking risks of infection in transportation, hostels, food areas and classrooms.

HEIs shall have to address following questions:

  • Do Students really need residential experience for completing a Course?
  • What changes in IT infrastructure shall effectively take care of Knowledge, Skills and Aptitude objectives?
  • How the role of Teacher shall change in a Virtual Education scenario?
  • What Statutory changes are needed to enable the new Teaching-Learning-Evaluation environment?
  • How to engage with Employers and gain their confidence?
  • How to effectively handle change in mindset and behavior of Students and Teachers for adoption of new methods and technologies?

And many more related questions….
After 4 months of impact of COVID situation and several deliberations happening at different levels within stakeholder community following transformation seems evident:

  • Students will be learning outside the classroom, armed with different devices and new technologies, listening to a teacher of choice globally.
  • Knowledge and Skills will not be assessed on paper but virtually.
  • Employers shall be recruiting remotely and Work From Home (WFH) becoming New Normal.
  • Small and Micro batches for physical practicals and labs.
  • Education shall continue all days from Monday to Sunday, College visits shall be in small batches on allocated days in a week.
  • Exams shall change completely with Open Book, MCQs, Assignments and likewise becoming new normal.
  • Mentoring and Parenting shall become significantly important and shall be important feature of Teacher Role.
  • Student and Parent Ownership shall increase in effective education.

In the nutshell, Students will have more opportunities to learn at different times in different places. eLearning tools facilitate opportunities for remote, self-paced learning. Classrooms will be flipped, which means the theoretical part is learned outside the classroom, whereas the practical part shall be taught face to face, interactively. The overall experience shall be personalized and shall give birth to New Learners that shall impact Families, Societies and Nations.

Contributor

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Prof.(Dr.) Mahendra Sharma– Chief Executive and Academic Officer of the prestigious Ganpat University (Gujarat, India), is a seasoned Management Academician, Researcher, Administrator and Strategist, and also a prolific writer and an eminent speaker. He is also known for his insightful thoughts and uniquely conceived innovative education programs in Management Discipline for bridging Industry-Academic gaps.

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