The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) is focused on imparting a holistic development of the learner. One of the biggest challenges in the wake of its implementation is inability to reach remote areas, tier 2 cities, tier 3 cities, and rural India. This is mainly due to lack of internet accessibility, skill set, platform for education, and easily digestible content.
NEP and technology are inseparable
To ensure a holistic development of the learner in the higher education space, NEP is suggesting training for faculty and students. India needs students who are equipped in technology, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and cognitive skills and teachers who are experts in their fields.
For this cause, the govt. of India established Institutions Innovation Councils (IIC). IIC aims at training about 5000 faculty members through periodic seminars and workshops. Trained faculty members can then enter mentor-mentee relationship as innovation ambassadors. They are trained by a combined effort of professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs. The mentor pool then encourages young minds in higher education institutions (HEIs) to translate their ideas into prototypes. IIC has impacted more than 1700 HEIs, 1,447,536 faculty, and 9,298,714 students to promote innovations.
NEP to digital transformation of campuses
The implementation of IIC in HEIs requires a campus wide adoption of technology to innovative capabilities and CRM solutions to engage all its participants. Encompassing data-driven technology can deliver a transformative data experience for students, innovation-focused leaders, and others.
Technology advancements is encouraging HEI campuses to collaborate with academia and promote training programs to not only secure internships and job opportunities but also reduce unemployment and stay relevant to job requirements.
An indelible vision of NEP is to achieve gross enrolment ratio (GER) of 50% by 2030-35. At present, India has a GER of 26%. The motivation to double this number in next 15 years needs technology intervention.
The current phase of blended learning (traditional classroom, open, online, and distance learning) has seen a disparity in access to technology among teachers and students from urban and rural areas. Varying capacity of consumer spending on digital devices, owning different model of devices with different configurations can hinder online learning. As a result, HE students need a national digital platform that can run on low-end devices.
Digitalizing the HEI campuses will maintain the continuity of interactions between teachers and students, students and peers, etc. Partnering with service providers will enable campuses to provide access to libraries and learning centers. The flexibility to adopt such a blended approach will increase the number of student enrolments.
Digital divide and cure
Lack of high-speed broadband connectivity and network coverage has created a rural and urban divide. The govt. of India is making every effort to reach villages at every level with high-speed internet connectivity through initiative such as digital India campaign and funding national optical fiber network.
Non-standardization of educational content and the language in which this content is available is another major hindrance why students in rural areas fail to consume content. Standardizing content delivery among universities and colleges will not only improve content consumption but also help rural transfer students to adjust better in urban colleges who join via scholarships. This is made possible when educational institutions partner with EdTech leaders to adopt campus wide technology to deliver standardized and seamless content for its students.
NEP has recommended the development of advanced technologies such as AI proctored examinations and assessments and AI assisted intelligent tutoring systems. EdTech leaders are enthusiastic in creating best solutions for the skill development of students. Since the official launch of NEP, many HEIs have started working on the implementation of NEP by partnering with EdTech leaders. NEP has a broad spectrum of recommendations that can be enjoyed by HEIs only by upgrading and adopting technology. Right now, is a good time to realize this need to digitalize campuses to comply with NEP recommendations.