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Learner’s Park; Shishir Jaipuria of Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group on effect of transformation of India’s education system

Shishir Jaipuria, Chairman of Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions shares his views on opportunities and challenges of the Indian education system with FE Education Online.

What is the best thing about the current education system?

The best thing about today’s education system is its resilience, adaptability and continuous evolution in the face of new technology and pedagogy. Today, educators, academics and researchers around the world are inventing innovative learning systems that aim to make teaching and learning immersive, experiential and collaborative. With hybrid and self-paced learning, education is already moving beyond classrooms. New-age pedagogical practices such as Design Thinking, Computational Thinking, Peer Learning and Differentiated Learning inculcate 21st century skills of creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and problem solving in students. More emphasis is placed on teacher training. Education is evolving from rote learning to holistic student development. The systems thinking approach enables teachers to recognize the relationship and interdependence between different components of a learning ecosystem and to arrive at sustainable solutions and innovations. India has the second largest education system in the world and the Government of India has taken a progressive approach by adopting the National Education Policy 2020 and taking several notable initiatives such as DIKSHA and NROER (National Repository of Open Educational Resources) with nearly 17,500 pieces of learning e-content for students. The government is also coming up with a GIFT city in Gujarat that will attract foreign universities and colleges to operate under a relaxed regulatory framework. With more budget every year, India’s education system could well be on track to be among the best in the world.

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What would you like to change in the education system?

The education system is an organic system with interdependent elements. Achieving lasting change requires sustained and coordinated efforts across multiple action points, allowing a new paradigm to emerge. One particular change I would like to see in our education system is more emphasis on skills development and values-based education. Today, academic excellence is sought in school and college education. Many learners who have a natural aptitude for skills do not find the platform, recognition and encouragement to develop those skills. Skills-based education needs to be given more attention if we are to return around 20 million out-of-school children to mainstream education. It will also boost the growth of the Indian economy through a skilled workforce. At the same time, we should focus on instilling good values ​​in our children. All our ancient writings and epics illustrated the values ​​that individuals and societies should cherish. The current education system should strive for a harmonious mix of knowledge, skills, values ​​and attitudes.

What role has digital technology played in the evolution of the education system?

Digital technology has played a vital role in transforming education in the 21st century. It has changed the profiles of teachers and students. It has changed the learning content and also transformed the learning environments. In today’s digital age, information is abundant and easily accessible. Teachers have evolved into knowledge facilitators who guide students in shaping their learning paths. Students now collaborate to design their learning and have more control through self-paced and blended learning. The prevalence of digital technology across disciplines has transformed the content and methods of learning. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are making learning increasingly experiential, and the emergence of the metaverse will introduce an entirely new educational paradigm.

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What is the disadvantage of digital technology in education?

Like all things, digital technology also has its downsides. Digital was a good stopgap solution to minimize learning losses during the Covid pandemic, but we also saw how digital fell short of providing the physical, social and emotional development that students of all ages need. Digital is not a substitute for face-to-face learning in physical classrooms. In addition, over-reliance on digital can also hinder the full potential for cognitive development. There are serious concerns about screen time and students’ reduced attention spans. Children who overindulge in digital technology tend to be less social and are at risk of cybercrime or access to unfiltered content. The use of digital technology in education must be sensible and smart.

What career advice would you like to give students?

To be successful in a career, one needs to understand how dynamic the industry has become in the current times. According to a World Economic Forum report on Future of Jobs, companies around the world estimate that by 2025, about 40% of workers will require retraining of six months or less. About 94% of business leaders claim they expect employees to learn new skills on the job. Undergraduates, graduates and postgraduates must have practical knowledge and the requisite skills to jump-start their careers and then make it a habit to continuously upskill and upskill to grow and excel in the chosen career. In addition, students must develop resilience/adaptability, reflectiveness, global citizenship skills, innovation and creativity skills, interpersonal skills, and social-emotional skills to thrive in a job. They must develop and maintain good values ​​in order to emerge as ethical leaders.

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