Tuesday December 05, 2023

Education reforms

July 24, 2023

Education has revolutionized over time. Many reforms are being put in place to ensure that higher education remains relevant. Online institutions are teaching skills that are relevant in the current market. This is not only about IT courses but all other courses.

Even though some practical lessons are needed, higher education may end up being fully digitized. Students will prefer educating themselves online and upskilling to get the latest skills. Also, education will be made in a way that targets current affairs instead of teaching a specific strict curriculum.

White-collar jobs that required people to sit in offices are slowly being taken over by remote jobs. People also prefer being freelancers and offering their services from their comfort. With most people preferring to do things remotely, what about online learning for students? Some students may even prefer to do multiple courses from different online institutions rather than old school units that do not have more to offer.

Higher education schools need to focus on how best to keep up with the current trends. If it is estimated that these jobs will have come up by a specific time, students need to be taught skills that will be used then. For example, virtual reality and augmented reality are slowly being integrated in healthcare institutions. If higher education faculty members based their teaching on these concepts, they will remain more relevant.

Also, higher education facilities can be facilitating students into getting specific professional certificates as an add-on to their diplomas or degrees. Whether done online or physically at school, the certification badges one gets are essential to getting a job in the future. Recruiters tend to consider that as a big plus.

Education benefits both learners and society as they get to know how to solve real-world problems. Students will be well-equipped with information they can use in their day-to-day lives. The future of higher education will allow everyone to get a chance to get skills they prefer from different recognized universities. Therefore, people can only specialize in what they prefer instead of taking many courses that won’t help them.

Due to ease of accessibility, more students will be able to learn without the excuse that education is expensive for them. They can balance work, school and family as well. Therefore, even the working class will not have to leave work to go study, instead they can study at their convenience. People will be more empowered, and this will boost the learning culture.

The future of higher education will expose learners to a wide range of learning modes. People will be more flexible. The Covid-19 pandemic led to many reforms in the education and work sectors as people realized collaborations could also be done online. Virtual classes and virtual exams were being partaken smoothly.

Online meetings were also being done swiftly without any issues. Therefore, the education sector needs to know how to modify the structure to keep more students in physical classes rather than opting for only online classes.

Students have the opportunity to select elective courses that will instil the right skills. Therefore, professors need to upskill or also leave room for those who have specialized in certain fields to provide students with up-to-date information. New content producers will continue to emerge and if the current higher education system does not upgrade, they might be overlapped.

If they offer better education, students will prefer them over old-school learning. Also, there should be forums that allow students to give out their views on changes that should be made to improve universities. According to a Harvard University professor, in the next 10–15 years there might be bankruptcy in 50 per cent of higher education schools in the US.

Also, intelligence will not just be measured by grades but will be diverse in what students are best at. Judging students based on grades limits what they can do with their intelligence. The current generation has high expectations, and institutions need to consider that. Therefore, institutions will need to make the right collaborations to satisfy student needs.

There should be an increase in co-curricular activities that students can carry out. They can make good use of their talents which can help them realize their future career dreams.

Higher-education institutions also need to think overboard apart from just relying on fees to run the institutions. What will happen if the student count decreases? What will happen if diversification needs to be done? Therefore, trying to be diversified with online learning and teaching can help them stay on top to reduce the chances of closure.

Higher-education institutions also need to be more digitized to be on the same page as learners. Universities also need to stop teaching students about courses that will not exist after a few years and instead teach them careers that are yet to exist. This will prepare them for the future. Moreover, on-demand skills need to be taught.

Integrated online and on-campus learning environments will play a huge role in the prosperity of higher education. However, even with all the reforms, research should be done to learn more about what students want. This way higher-education institutions can change so that they can satisfy students’ wants and attract more professionals to take up their courses. The future of higher education is bright but with a different pedagogy.

The writer is the author of ‘Digital Pakistan’. He tweets @imranbatada and can be reached at: