As per a 2013 report from EY – by 2030, India will be amongst the youngest nations in the world. With nearly 140 million people in the college-going age group, one in every four graduates in the world will be a product of the Indian higher education system.
This is great news for India as we can now use our human capital as a lever for social, economic and political transformation.
However, to be able to lever our human capital to our advantage, we will also have to ensure that quality education is accessible to the millions deserving students in the remotest of areas who today do not have access to a good university or faculty and thus are forced to settle for lower quality alternatives.
As per reports, only 10% of general graduates and 25% of technical graduates coming out of Indian higher education system are employable. Further, 40% of faculty positions are vacant in Indian universities. The present Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education is around 20% with only 24 million students enrolled in higher education out of the potential 120 million students, way below the Global average of 26% GER.
The above figures do not really portray a rosy picture for Indian economy.
If we look at the present Indian higher education system, it broadly faces three challenges – Access, Equity and Excellence.While overcoming these challenges might look like a daunting task, the answer simply lies in technology, which if leveraged correctly, is a great leveler.
For instance, online platforms and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) tools coupled with strong backing from top-tier institutions can be the answer to these challenges. Online platforms can provide access to quality education from top-tier institutes to millions of deserving students in the remotest of areas. Education technology will not only be instrumental addressing the demand-supply gap for quality education, butfundamentally change the nature of several educational processes.
In fact, some good amount of work has already been put into this direction by various stake holders. One such company is Avagmah (www.avagmah.com)– a two-year-old Edu-Tech start up based out of Bangalore which is helping Indian universities leverage technology in a managed services model. Avagmah empowers universities to extend the reach of their traditional distance education to thousands of deserving candidates without diluting quality of education.
Gone are the days when students in distance education had to gather in a contact center only to hear a lecture. Today, lectures are pre-recorded and uploaded on cloud to be accessed by students on their smartphones. Class time is now live-online and is instead used for creating more in-depth learning experiences through group activities, problem solving and interactive learning. And this is exactly what Avagmah helps universities achieve through its patent-pending Avagmah Technology Platform (ATP) – which is collaborative, intuitive and predictive – allowing students to learn at their own pace. Faculty can now get valuable analytics on how and at what pace each student is learning, enabling them to provide personalized support to aid student learning outcomes.
Some of the prestigious central and state universities who have partnered with Avagmah, have already seen great traction in their distance education with ~ 200% growth in student enrollments in a short span of 18 months, just because these universities are now better prepared to meet the needs of ‘todays learner’.
Looking at all the positive changes that technology companies like Avagmah are bringing in education today, it’s very evident that technology will continue to be a great lever for the Indian education system in the decades to come and that it is only through technology that India can address the issues of Access, Equity and Excellence- all at once.