By Lt. RK Anand
As we ponder back in time, we can remember our teachers assigning us tons of homework, basically, an era that continues to haunt some of us. The burdensome task of carrying our heavy bags to and from our schools simply to understand our fundamental subject concepts was something that agitated us every day.
But now, we are evolving and witnessing a changing dynamic in education. With knowledge not only confined to the library shelves, today, the digital revolution and the internet’s rapid expansion, have led a way for the information that we were supposed to memorize and make notes of, to be now readily available on the world wide web ( www). With the cost of procuring data decreasing by the day and larger bandwidth of data at unfathomable speeds available in seconds, digitization as the name of a new wave can also prove highly instrumental in bringing about radical transformations in the education sector. How we educate our future generations in line with the latest industrial revolution is going to be the ultimate key to revolutionizing the world.
The idea of Industry 4.0 refers to the dawn of a new industrial revolution – one that integrates innovative production techniques combined with the Internet of Things to bring about changes in the way we work, the way we produce; the way we manufacture; and changes that not only communicate, but also self-analyze, and use the information to drive further intelligent actions. But boiling down, what do all these mean, when it comes to educating our future generations?
Ms Sugandh Bahl It’s not a strange or unknown fact that every industry that digitizes, discovers innovative ways to escalate their profits to a superlative degree – by cutting costs and increasing the scale of their revenue. However, let us pause and question the role of digitalization in assisting education to create a generation that can blend in a traditional curriculum with the extant techno-savvy tools and become future-ready for jobs.
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Digitalization has proven to be a reliable and strong ally to our desperate call for up-gradation and has stepped up on every occasion when we have counted on it for potential growth and productive outcomes. With data speeds that are churning information within nano-seconds to the availability of the internet to all masses at a uniform rate across all terrains, life and learning have become more convenient and amusing. The digital movement thus has emerged as a vital part of our society.
However, the digital up-gradation in the educational sector was slow when compared to corporate set-ups, until the pandemic hit. Starting from acquiring information, to taking a computer-based aptitude test, to online subscription of e-books, to the current existence of online universities, COVID-19 played a propelling role in forcing the existence of online classes, and we have seen the rise of e-tuition companies turning into unicorns within a short period. With the cause and effect of both COVID-19 on education and the need to be professionally future-ready, technology enthusiasts and educationalists are now confident that the future of education will indeed be digital. Enabled by the convergence of information across gadgets bolstered by artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and virtual reality, all subjects can now be accessible on any device, on-demand.
We witnessed the role of digitalization in keeping the education system afloat and updated in the aftermath of COVID-19, and also how technology helped businesses get up and running through their severe economic crash. With so many new things to learn, change may not be an immediate measure but an inevitable phenomenon, as digitalization is here to stay.
As newer generations take over the world, their curiosity cannot be stifled by having a traditional education system. Although brick and mortar structures are important to understand the ways of collaborative living, the current traditional education systems will surely have to evolve to survive. Evolution to provide an option of learning in a structured forum versus learning independently and the freedom from adhering to an age-old belief system that rewards students for memorizing rather than learning has become critical. One believes there will be change, and digitization is the trigger for a better prepared tomorrow.
Benefits of education due to industry 4.0
The recent pandemic could have served as a trailer for an upcoming film about the global education system’s digitalization. Many students are now attending classes or taking online courses to get better equipped with knowledge that they previously were unable to acquire. Digitization has not only made impossible tasks possible but also enabled people to get information within minutes without striving for it or physically looking for it.
Digitalization has also been helpful in many ways for the current education system, such as online courses that are created by experts who have unrivaled expertise in their fields. If we compare this to a scenario in a professional working environment, this is exactly the kind of training one gets when they are professionally employed, where experts are deployed to make you job-ready and productive. Let’s take another scenario: Online exams forced by COVID-19 were made possible by adapting digital learning techniques, thus making the examination process more convenient for both teachers and students. Isn’t this a similar scenario to how professionals are currently being managed and evaluated daily on their roles and KRA assigned? This simile that we have drawn explicitly defines how digitization in education in the era of Industry 4.0 should be more about being productive, effective, and efficient.
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Technical/digital education in the era of Industry 4.0 is now the new Meta. Universities and schools around the world are now switching to various new and better ways of educating students. Well-packaged and curated knowledge is now readily available making learning a fun activity rather than a task for students. Digitization in education has also proven to be an effective means of conserving resources and driving sustainability. Online examination platforms have reduced the unnecessary use of paper, thereby limiting the cutting down of trees. In this way, the digitization of the education industry in the twenty-first century benefits our society and will make the student generation future-ready to align with the Industry 4.0 revolution, which is fundamentally led by transformation, digitization, and productivity of resources.
(The author is Director General, Manav Rachna Educational Institutions. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com)