Digitalisation of Education The thrust for greater digitalization of education has been made by the government through several initiatives, such as DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing), online MOOC courses related to NIOS, e-Pathshala web portal, and the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) which provides e-content for students, teachers, educators, and parents. The year 2022 saw the stress on innovations in education delivery through television, radio, and online platforms. Beyond government initiatives, private institutions strengthened their digital infrastructure, trained teachers in ICT, and incorporated blended learning and hybrid learning programmes within the curricula. This digitalisation helped to make education accessible to a large number of learners and is proving to be a step towards meeting SDG goal number 4 for creating a sustainable society.
New-age industry skill-set Education in 2022 focused on nurturing new-age industry skills, such as innovation and creativity skills, technology skills, and interpersonal skills in students. The pedagogy also saw a transformation. Going beyond developing academic excellence in learners, the educators adopted innovative pedagogies that comprised personalized learning, self-paced learning, student-driven learning, and problem-based and collaborative learning aimed at building global citizenship skills. The start-up culture boomed with over 24 new unicorns. Correspondingly, business education tended towards developing entrepreneurial competencies to fuel the aspirations of young graduates dreaming of creating their own unicorns.
Focus on Holistic Education and Mental Health and Well-being of Students Curricula across institutions incorporate learning loss recovery programmes in 2022. The focus shifted toward holistic education with a balanced approach toward knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes. Many institutions adopted the Health Education Curriculum to instill health awareness in learners. Customized programmes to promote the mental health and well-being of students were included.
NEP 2020 implementation The National Education Policy is a visionary document that aims to make education holistic, integrated, immersive, and engaging. Its implementation hit a bump with the onset of Covid-19 but picked pace in 2022. Under the aegis of AICTE, institutes are setting up innovation centres to promote the culture of innovation. Special capacity-building programmes for teachers have been launched in schools and colleges. The setting up of the National Research Foundation (NRF) was put on a fast track.
Thrust On Internationalism Greater avenues were explored for further internationalization of Indian education. Traditionally, Indian students have sought learning opportunities in higher education institutions abroad. The trend, however, seems to be reversing in the last few years. In 2022 as well, there was an increased focus on making India a destination country of choice for international students. All efforts must be made to take these initiatives ahead in 2023 if India is to continue down the road of creating competent human capital to emerge as a developed nation and a knowledge superpower.
Skill development Even after the six years of the formation of a separate ministry for skilling, the Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) continues to be scattered and fragmented. It is being supervised by 17 different ministries in their respective areas without any coordination among them. At present, the 'Skill India' mission is blowing at full steam. India has the responsibility to employ about 104.62 million fresh entrants into the workforce in the coming years.
'AR cloud', a virtual learning Experience with enhanced physical reality, is the future of education in the coming years. Online learning will be more real with the help of metaverse, which involves the concept of Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR & VR). The year 2021 had a large virtual format, almost real, like platforms for hosting school events. With the coming of metaverse events, the online classroom will look more real than ever. One can be both offline and online at the same time, leading to a surreal learning experience.
Blockchain in education for data security The use of blockchain in education is still in its nascent stage, but the future seems to come closer to using blockchain as a tool for data security. Gartner's survey of 2019 reveals that in the next two years almost 20% of higher educational institutes will be using blockchain. It will help streamline the tedious process of verification, transferring records, employee records, students' unique credentials, making the process easier and error-free. Free digitalised teaching and learning materials, to be referred to as open educational resources, would be essential for increasing learning access to global learners. This is in alignment with supporting the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 4, as Blockchain will play a significant role in ensuring inclusiveness and equitable quality education across the globe, for promoting lifelong learning opportunities across all age groups. Technology is being recognised as part of strategic development goals for inclusive education. Blockchain, makes it possible to provide cost-effective information, and makes it available for standardisation of quality educational content internationally. It is evident that adopting innovative technologies such as the blockchain can help in the effective planning of operations and resource utilization in education.
Safe guarding innovations with IPR The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the limitations of countries in handling education. Institutions globally which switched to digitalisation of education with online learning began to examine their long-term strategies. Hence, innovative technologies such as deep learning, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality and blockchain are part of the hybrid blended learning to support learners during this crisis. In particular, all the innovations as blockchain technology have the potential to revolutionise education. The focus on research and innovation will be ongoing with IPR playing a crucial role in securing the product. Due to the sudden pandemic scenario, educational institutions have employed IT teams to come up with many innovative features. There is a higher degree of data leakage, as you approach IPR for the competitiveness that institutions can claim to have an edge over each other. Blockchain is a decentralised technology, which includes impenetrable information infrastructure, transparency, and cryptographic encryption tools.
Technology might take over learning. But, what remains at heart is empathy, kindness and the virtue of giving back to society. The pandemic made children sit at home without a social life. Nevertheless, the year 2022 will open up children to the real world with more kindness as they will understand the value of a lot of many people whom they missed all through their home studies.
Inspired from Dr Rajiv Thakur, Director General, Jaipuri School of Business, Ghaziabad and Dr Silpi Sahoo, Chairperson, Sai International Education Group