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Home > Blogs > Why Industry 4.0 Must Bring University 2.0.
The industrial revolution 4.0 isn’t anything like we’ve seen before. So far, India’s IT sector has progressed, thanks to an abundance of skilled professionals; something that was unique to our country. What we are facing now, however, is obsolescence of the very skillsets that brought us here. The hiring, training, and deploying of systems that worked before is no longer a match for the new-age technologies that are changing the landscape. The industry is battling rapid disruptions while waiting for an unprecedented scale of transformations to catch-up and help solve this workforce crisis.
Source: Manipal ProLearn NextGen White Paper
In what is being termed as ‘India’s largest HR challenge’, the country’s next daunting task is easier said than done: To right-skill 2 million employees within the next 3 years.
Industry 4.0: Opportunities and Evolution
“A crisis not to be wasted!”
The supply gap appears more like a chasm when we see reports of unemployment at massive scale. At the same time, there are thousands of job vacancies requiring candidates skilled in new-age technologies. This is a great paradox.
Pointing fingers at new digital age technologies as the cause of unemployment is pointless. Disruptive technologies are always going to be a result of necessary evolution and not the cause. It is how we educate emerging workforces and retrain existing workforce that decide whether we continue dominating the IT world or perish.
Educating Emerging Workforces
“The solution to Industry 4.0.”
Skill gaps emerge when universities dust their hands off a new batch of graduates and proceed to the next one. How are we to establish an ecosystem of continuous and futuristic learning that paves the path towards the big Indian IT dream, then?
It is no longer a one-time course/degree that can ensure life-long employment, but a continuous endeavor towards upskilling that can achieve it. The responsibility of universities today is to ensure two things. First, their students should possess hard and soft skills to be ready for their jobs. Second, they must have necessary attitude to become a lifelong learner.
Source: Manipal ProLearn NextGen White Paper
The industry, today, is under significant revenue and margin pressure and has slowed down it's hiring (direct employment is expected to reach 4.3 million by 2020). With this 4th revolution bearing down hard, companies only want candidates who are production ready. This means shifting the onus of right-skilling to where it should be - the job seekers. That brings us to University 2.0.
University 2.0: Self-paced, Credit-based, and On-Demand
“Universities of the Future, Now.”
In our globalized economy, technological disruptions have created the need for evolved forms of brick and mortar universities; ones that can enhance the lifelong learning experience of a student. This can be achieved by universities offering a continuous, comprehensive learning system, which, besides offering program to right skill for start of a career, also provides for re-skilling students while they are on the job.
One key step will be to design and develop course content that allows itself to be used across multiple delivery modes. Such content will enable switching between online, blended, or on-campus courses, that can suit various learning styles and learner preferences. These can then be offered as learning credits – be it for award of a degree, or for shorter certifications.
Another important step will be to shift focus from current approach of “learn and do” to “learn by doing”. Students should be asked to work on industry projects, and they should be supported in the same by learning resources – content, courses and faculty as mentors. Modern techniques such as Machine Learning (ML) can be used for granular assessment of student progress and provide valuable insights into a student’s strengths and weaknesses.
Such self-paced, credit-based, and on-demand education will promote a pool of professionals, eager to invest in learning.
This model can create a viable ground for academia-industries partnership. Preparing learners for jobs of the future can become an ‘evolution’, rather than ‘revolution’ when industries and universities collaborate, co-create, and co-invest in programs.
Technology will not stop advancing. And neither should we. India’s re-skilling challenge can be met through an evolved understanding between the three links of this chain: the industry, the jobseekers and the universities. With the right learning environment, professionals in this country will always find themselves equipped enough to handle the jobs of the future.
This article has originally been published in India Today.