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The Future 4.0 University

Key points of "University 4.0" as a response to "Industry 4.0".

Key points of "University 4.0" as a response to "Industry 4.0".

“Education needs to be aligned with the fundamental changes in the nature of work and address the issue of employability”, excogitated Albert Einstein.

The concept of what a University ought to be has changed over a period of last 50 decades. Well countries are moving towards the “Knowledge Economy” model of development and the Universities are bound to play a more constructive role and take up a leadership position in globalization and technological advancements. “Knowledge Economy” a term coined by Peter Drucker (1969) in his book,TheAgeofDiscontinuity, discerns four major areas of discontinuity – (1) the impact of the new technology on the industrial structure; (2) the shift from an "international economy," to a "world economy" which as yet lacks policy, theory, or institutions; (3) a new sociopolitical reality, embracing business, government, and other pluralistic institutions, which poses drastic political, philosophical, and spiritual challenges; (4) the rising importance of knowledge and of formal education, with resulting implications for work, life, leisure, and leadership. Knowledge economy includes:


 

Keeping the idea of “Knowledge Economy” in mind, Universities of Future need to align themselves with the changing faces of the industry 4.0, and hence the Education 4.0. The Universities have to adopt the Education 4.0 where learner is at the centre of the education economy. University 4.0 has to remain relevant and in sync with the changing industry requirements. The education system in India has evolved from Education 1.0. (Guru-Shishya method of teaching), Education 2.0 (massification of education with the teacher as the knowledge provider and the student as the passive recipient), Education 3.0 (use of computers and internet in teaching and learning, which helped in increasing access and equity) and Education 4.0 (high-speed internet, mobile technology, social media platforms etc. facilitating personalized learning anytime anywhere and changing the role of teachers to facilitators and mentors) (FICCI, 2017).

Therefore, this will lead to a massive transformation from Education 3.0 to Education 4.0, where the focus will be on student’s learning outcomes. The learning needs changes with each passing generation of students coupled with the change in the educational technologies. Every country is responding to this need of the hour, and has shifted its focus in enhancing the learning outcomes of the students. This transformation is leading to four key areas of focus: Employability, Student Experience, Research Excellence and Society including industry (EY, 2018).

Today’s learner is not bounded by an instructor led educational model but derives his learning from various sources at his own pace. They are not only looking forward to academic excellence, but also want to enhance their employability skills. That is why the Universities are gearing to partner with the Industry in order to develop industry ready students. They vet their curriculums with the industry best practices, and also partner high level of industry interactions for students. Further choice based credit system enables students to choose courses even outside their program. Learning at his own pace, a student is the one who decides on the delivery and content of a program. Many Universities are now adopting the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) – for example “SWAYAM” initiated by the Government of India to provide online teaching and learning resource to all. Academic research, Management Development Programs and Consulting are of paramount importance for the future Universities. 

Universities are not only faced with the employability challenges but also working towards managing the societal challenges. The faculty, industry and students need to constantly work towards finding solutions to the societal problems.  Therefore, University 4.0 has to develop ethical business and technology leaders for future. Universities have to partner with the local community, industry and society at large. The Universities have to gear up and develop a more robust and modular education system. This is required to match the demand of the industry and the employers.

Faculty of the future needs to have a blend of academics and practice. So, merely an academic qualification like PhD or being an all throughout practitioner will not help. The future faculty has to have a blend of both in order to develop their own learning and teaching pedagogy. Education 4.0 is in response to the Industry 4.0 and will define the University of the Future.

Such a transformation isn’t going to be incremental – the mandate is nothing short of a quantum shift in the operative paradigms. Besides being hugely integrated in all dimensions, the dimensions themselves need to be undergo massive soul search and even cataclysmic changes, a la metamorphosis. Mere form or envelope alterations won’t do. After all, industry model is based on sound authentic delivery, no hanky-panky mere lip service. That trueness of intent has to characterize University 4.0 – which is to say, this itself is the ideal, it isn’t an intellectual game wherein a 5.0 or 6.0 are next on the cusp. Governance and politician’s control have to become honest enough, only then looming societal challenges shall face redemption. The wealth of knowledge too has to be not weak or superficial – of late lots of pseudo research and academic manipulation has been occurring. The world needs distills of reliable knowledge, not mountains of unemployable research and casuistry-laden publications. Beauty, after all is truth, and beauty always emanates in simplicity, not cognitive rigmarole.

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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