Ruth Bataumocho in NEW DELHI, India
THE 13th International Higher Education Global Summit opened here on Thursday, with academics calling for the implementation of futuristic higher education systems that are in line with emerging trends in information and communication technology (ICT).
Officially opening the summit, the chairperson of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Dr Raman Saxena, said a paradigm shift in learning models for students was needed to ensure that their skills remain relevant to the needs and aspirations of modern-day industries.
The summit is being attended by over 2 000 delegates from 50 countries, among them Zimbabwe.
“The Internet and other automation technologies have impacted organisations and societies in an unprecedented manner.
“Automated and artificial intelligence have today shortened the life cycle of jobs and skills. Skills acquired by students in their graduate schools help them only for possibly next three to four years. Higher education institutions and policies cannot remain untouched with these developments,”said Dr Saxena.
“Just as the customer is at the epicentre of business today, it is the student who is at the core. Hence, learning models have to be redefined to enable this digital savvy student to learn in a 24×7 mode from global resources.”
Dr Saxena added that such models will only be achievable once higher education institutions do away with conventional education systems that are mass-based and have no scope for individualisation and experiential learning.
“For the student, the value of conventional education has ceased to exist because it is not equipping him or her for new jobs and skills. Institutions would need to adopt the education 4,0 model, which encourages personalised learning in both physical and virtual learning environment,” he said.
Now in its 13th year, the summit brings together university personnel, the business community, government officials and diplomats from different foreign missions across the globe to deliberate on the role tertiary institutions can play in strengthening collaborations between learning institutions and industry.
During the global summit, which ends tomorrow, participants will deliberate on effective ways of adopting and implementing technology in the teaching and learning processes of the 21st century.
The global summit also provides a forum for international education providers interested in partnering and engaging Indian higher education institutions on a number of areas, among them exchange programmes for both students and teaching staff.
Speaking on the sidelines of the global summit, a Zimbabwean student studying engineering at Chandigarh University in India, Mr Maxima Mutena, said there were vast reservoirs of learning resources in the world that students could also take advantage of and equip themselves with virtual knowledge.
“Global trends on any subject are changing everyday as information communication systems become the integral part of any society. The student will need to focus on integrating these global resources of knowledge,” he said.
India has successfully linked tertiary institutions with the industry.
It has the largest higher education system in the world in terms of the number of institutions and the second largest in terms of higher education students enrolled at its universities and colleges.
More than 20 million tertiary students, 3 000 of them from Zimbabwe, are studying in India’s 677 universities and nearly 40 000 colleges.