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Education sector at the cusp of a huge transformation enabled by technology

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Technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that students today are more comfortable with smartphones and tablets than textbooks. In the face of increasing digitization, the education sector is undergoing a dramatic transformation – with tablets, virtual classrooms and online courses becoming the norm rather than the exception.

This can also be seen from the rapid adoption of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). India is only second to the US in terms of growth in enrolments. Internally, higher education institutes are automating all their core business processes by using ERP. For example, in some institutions, key processes such as admissions, fee payments, course planning and scheduling, faculty and other teaching resource management, learning material distribution and student information tracking have been automated using technology.

The increased adoption of technology has enabled different institutions to create innovative use cases. For example, at IIM Bangalore, a lecture capture facility allows students to review lectures outside the classroom hours while electives are chosen using an online bidding system. The institution uses digital learning tools to enable anytime, anywhere learning in a global classroom. The impact — the learner base has grown to about 10,00,000 learners from over 190 counties.

The ISBR Group of Institutions has a facility to live stream lectures. This enables students to have access to a particular lecture video at any given point. While students can view videos of a particular subject by a particular faculty at their convenience, the faculty can also use this platform effectively by sharing lecture notes, assignments, and PPTs with the students.

The Manipal Academy of Higher Education has a Virtual Class Room solution that enables the institution in Manipal to connect with its offshore campus at Dubai and Manipal Group Universities at Jaipur and Sikkim and enable the face to face interaction of students and faculty in real time through online live classes between these campuses. The institution also uses ePad (electronic writing pad) for its examinations. Fingerprint scanner and camera allows student identification and monitoring during the exam, while automated secure upload of encrypted digital answer booklets to a cloud is done after completion of exams. Online evaluation of answer scripts, by faculty, on their PCs takes place on the cloud with automated totaling and tabulation of scores

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has a counselling initiative, Skill Saathi, that aims to enable youth to make informed career choices. The progress of this initiative is monitored through an app, which captures data which is time- and geo-stamped, and links this with a centralised registration database.

The potential for technology-enabled transformation is bright. According to a report ’40 Million by 2020: Preparing for a New paradigm in Indian Higher Education’ released by Ernst & Young, the higher education sector in India is expected to witness a growth of 18.0 per cent CAGR till 2020. India’s education sector will also see increased use of technologies such as cloud computing to virtual reality, as the sector shapes up to meet the demands of a digital era.

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