Need For Digital Ecosystems At Educational Institutes

As India gets familiar with digital currency, it becomes critical such practices percolate to educational institutes as well. Zeta co-founder and CEO, Bhavin Turakhia, discusses why this is important now, more than ever

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma,

It has taken us some time to warm up to the idea of digital currencies. The initial lack of faith in the concept has given way to valuing the ease of one-tap payments, not being dependent on ATMs and not having to carry cash around. Although adoption is not uniform in Tier 1, Tier 2 and 3 cities, at least the youth are onboard with the concept. Our government policies, stressing on demonetization and digital currency, have aided the acceptance too.

The wave of digitization in payments and the financial space has spurred many corporations into acting on encouraging digital transactions among employees. Digitized meal benefit solutions and tax claims solutions are just an example of such changes. Again, most banks exist in a digital ecosystem too. At this juncture, it seems inevitable that digital currencies are going to be an integral part of the future of the Indian financial space.  

Are educational institutes future-ready?

Back in the early 90s, introducing computers to school curriculums was of immense futuristic relevance. Looking back on those times, it seems only fair that educational institutes were planning for this massive change ahead. 

Institutes should always be ahead of their time in ensuring the ones they are educating are well-equipped to live a fulfilling life tomorrow. Rapid changes in technology have placed us face-to-face with many such changes and functioning in a 100% digital ecosystem is just one of them. 

Moreover, changing government policies, pertaining to educational institutes, have also warranted new adjustments in the functioning of such institutes. For example, as of June 2018, the government has directed all universities and higher education institutions across the country to ensure that no fee payments are made in cash from the upcoming academic session.

Familiarising students with the principles of a digital economy and digital currency is of utmost importance today. In fact, we may already be a tad late in formalizing such processes as with the rising popularity of P2P payments several apps and even social media channels, digital disbursement is already popular among the youth. Moreover, such steps are not only important for them to be future-ready, but also important from an environmental standpoint. Elimination of paper-based currencies is definitely a step towards a greener planet.

Some elite institutes are already leading by example in this area. Schools such as the Oberoi International and Ecole Mondiale in Mumbai and colleges such as IIM Lucknow and Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Uttarakhand have already implemented Closed User Group (CUG) system. The fact that several elite institutes are leading with an example, means more and more Indian educational institutes are warming up to the idea of an internal digital ecosystem and having a campus-specific currency for students to use at any time. This not only reduces dependence on ATMs, but also ensures students are not left without money at any point. The increasing penetration of smartphones, amongst the youth, only helps drive implementation of such solutions at campuses as well.    

Parents and guardians - why they’ll appreciate it

Busy schedules of most working parents make it that much more difficult for them to split time effectively between work, home and children. With a digital currency ecosystem in the swing at schools and colleges, it would make it that much more easy for parents as well to constantly monitor the expenses for each child, their spending patterns and financial requirements, all via apps. The efforts towards judicious financial planning for the daily expenses of children would substantially come down with no need for bank work to transfer money, no need of ensuring physical money is present with children and/or the fears of theft of it on campus. Moreover, with the strengthening of encryptions in the flow of digital disbursements, digital payments provide a more secure and private transaction method for both parents and students.

Eyes on the future

It is established that ‘digital’ is the present and the future. And, it is on us to not only take advantage of it, but also ensure our future generations are ready for an all-digital life. Campus-specific digital currencies and a closed group financial ecosystem are key steps towards such a future that is run on tap, click and swipe. 

Such practices are key to ensuring an entire generation is growing up learning every day how to use technology responsibly right from a young age. It is important for them to learn how to handle money and be accountable for it on their own, in a space where they are spending most of their time. It does away with the inconveniences of signing and depositing checks or dealing with cash and induces speed to the process of financial transactions, a move valued immensely by the youth. Most importantly, it keeps parents and guardians more in control of finances, even from a distance and their wards safe from theft or chances of losing money. CUG at educational campuses does make a strong case for the future of our country. The question is, are we ready to give it a try?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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