Presenting on BW Education’s Wisdom Wednesday, Dr Prashant Bhalla of Manav Rachana Educational Institutions (MREI) describes how IT has transformed academia during the pandemic year and the future of educational institutions.
After another year online for academia and hybrid education likely in the days to come, the topics on what a student will learn and how they will learn it are steadily evolving. The advent of the New Education Policy (NEP), the shift to online education and the rapid improvement in teaching skills define the structural changes that are here to stay. Diving into the details of proctored exams, nuanced content that can be delivered digitally, online collaboration tools, and curriculum changes that have come in as measures to keep the academic machine running could well shift to never traditional education as we know it.
Speaking on the weekly educational show – Mercredi Sagesse, Dr Prashant Bhalla, President of MREI highlighted the new dynamics governing the education sector in a world altered by the pandemic world. He remembers how campuses had to suddenly close in mid-March 2020 and embrace a new way of working to keep up with the academic calendar. Speaking about his role in the fight against the pandemic in an academic setting, he said: “I feel like an educator, the role was very appreciated and I felt that as institutions of teaching, we had to be the torchbearers and offer support to the whole of society in all endeavors, whether it was mental or psychological support or whether it was connectivity with families. It just wasn’t the students at the time, you could see the challenges parents were facing.
Academic autonomy and the NEP
Reflecting on MREI’s Silver Jubilee, Bhalla tracks the growth of private colleges and the evolution of public acceptance towards them over the past 25 years. He explains how many colleges are affiliated with the state and it hurts their academic ability.
“I think a big challenge in the country is where the affiliate system has been the biggest obstacle to the growth of an educational institution, in terms of how educational institutions are supposed to. act, work and what they should do, ”he said. declared. He went on to explain that “unless and until they (academic institutions) gain academic autonomy or academic freedom, I don’t think they can grow and contribute to the extent that it is desirable. “.
He believes this is where the new NEP guidelines will usher in changes that will establish and fully embrace a new progressive educational movement. “I think I will give credit to the country’s policymakers who are striving to make very futuristic changes in policies and expectations. These policies are very conducive to the growth of an educational institution. Obviously you have to have checks and balances, but I think if you look at the new education policy it says the regulations are going to be very light, but tough. So the language and the purpose of regional language integration and other aspects are also integrated or intertwined to ensure that the delivery is improved, ”Bhalla said. He added that the NEP clearly defines the expectations of the institutes and offers a roadmap for all those who are part of the sector.
Everything about the choice of the student
The content delivered online and the level of pedagogy are further explored in online courses. Parents have the opportunity to sit down with their children and experience the quality of education their children are receiving, making the calling more pressing for Kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers. At the college level, however, online support in conjunction with NEP provides greater flexibility for students who can now learn from multiple sources.
Bhalla explains the concept of credit banking, where students can get their credits from different universities if they want. “I think it’s going to be more driven by the content and knowledge you provide through your courses. The core would be the teacher and the quality of the teacher who teaches (the subject) and the decision would be left to the students to continue. They can stay to complete the degree or not. Or they could just take a credit or two from a college and go to places where they find comfort or are confident about the quality of the delivery.
Subject to these guidelines, we may see a change in the way students study at colleges of the future. They will be able to choose which courses they want and which teacher they want to learn from and this is a concept that was previously absent from the Indian education system.
Teacher training and the role of Edtech
As students have the autonomy to choose the courses they want, the quality of the pedagogy and the provision by the teachers becomes more important. “I think that students are at the heart of the expectations that each institution must have in mind. But the goal and demand for the right teacher for teaching is also at the heart of the concerns, ”says Bhalla. He predicts that investments in educational institutions will no longer be made in campus infrastructure or real estate. Instead, the focus will be on securing the best teachers, and institutions will increasingly be judged on the achievements of their teachers and the students who study there.
Commenting on the rise of Edtech, he observes how Edtech suppliers have gone from partners to institutions to have their own academic structure. He believes coeducation is here to stay, as is Edtech.
Speaking about his learning, Bhalla believes the greatest learning from the pandemic is empathy and compassion and that fuels how educational institutions are expected to evolve as well. And while he and other educators cling to the hope that schools and colleges will reopen soon, the resilience displayed by educational institutions and students shows the fluidity and capacity for gradual change of the academic machinery. which is as innate as human nature.