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  • Plans for an excellent higher education system in India

    FICCI Higher Education Summit 2012
    © 2012 Ernst & Young Pvt. Ltd.

    • India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world, with 25.9 million students and more than 45,000 degree and diploma institutions.
    • Enrollment of students has risen by 10.8% in the last decade.
    • Institutions have grown by 9%.
    • Between 2007 and 2012, the Gross Enrollment Ratio in tertiary education rose from 12% to 18%.
    • The challenges in higher education in India are its relatively low GER, inequitable access to higher education by community, gender and geography, and lack of high-quality research and education institutions, resulting in sub-optimal outcomes.

    The national Twelfth Five Year Plan recognizes proposes the following initiatives to address them.

    • Expansion – augmenting capacity in existing institutions
    • Equity- creating targeted schemes for backward and minority communities
    • Excellence - building excellence through research and innovation, faculty development, and internationalization
    • Governance - enhancing institutional autonomy and transparency
    • Funding – increasing public and private funding and linking them to outcomes
    • Implementation and monitoring– improving co-ordination across ministries and agencies

    The Twelfth Plan emphasizes on building “excellence” in India’s higher education system. Institutions are expected to look more comprehensively at the quality imperative and be better aligned to industry and global practices, and be more transparent and inclusive by the end of Twelfth Plan period, provided the Government is able to create an enabling regulatory environment and put in place robust implementation, monitoring and quality assurance mechanisms in the sector.

  • Technologies to Watch

    Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., and Ludgate, H. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

    The NMC Horizon Report has identified six technologies that will enter into mainstream use for teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. They are MOOCs, tablet computing, followed by games and learning analytics in the next 2-3 years. In 4-5 years, 3D printing and wearable technology will be widely adopted.

    Massive open online courses
    MOOCs are expected to grow in number and influence within the next year. One of the most appealing promises of MOOCs is that they offer the possibility for continued, advanced learning at zero cost, allowing students, life-long learners, and professionals to acquire new skills and improve their knowledge and employability. Critics loudly warn that there is a need to examine these new approaches through a critical lens to ensure they are effective and evolve past the traditional lecture-style pedagogies.

    Tablet Computing
    Tablets suit today’s always-connected university students. Affordable tablets equipped with WiFi and cellular network connectivity, high-resolution screens, and with a wealth of mobile apps are proving to be powerful tools for learning inside and outside the classroom. Many universities have already designed software for tablets. As the market matures, students and institutions can expect a rich and growing array of features from these small devices.

    Games and Gamification
    Educational games immerse the student in the game, where content and curricula are delivered or juxtaposed. They aim to engage students, providing them with digitally enhanced scenarios that challenge their understanding of new concepts in their field.
    Gamification aims to incorporate elements of games, such as levels and badges into non-game activities. Students can accumulate points or other rewards by accepting different challenges, and often have more freedom in choosing what kind of assignments they undertake to earn them.

    Learning Analytics
    Learning analytics is the field associated with deciphering trends and patterns from educational data, to further the advancement of a personalized, supportive system of higher education. Information derived from learning analytics can inform instructional practice in real time, as well as aid in the design of course management systems that personalize education.

    3D Printing
    3D printing provides an accessible, less expensive, desktop alternative to industrial forms of rapid prototyping. It now only requires a small financial investment to own a 3D printer. Websites offer source files that anyone can use to print objects without original designs. 3D printers will be increasingly used in the arts, design, manufacturing, and the sciences to create 3D models that illustrate complex concepts or illuminate novel ideas, designs, and even chemical and organic molecules.

    Wearable Technology
    In 4-5 years, there will be greater integration of devices and related electronics into clothing and accessories. It will increase in impact as enabling technologies, such as augmented reality and thin film displays, gain traction in the consumer market. They will be effective tools for research because they use sensors to track data, such as vital signs, in real-time. Bendable OLED displays, glasses that present the wearer with an information-laden view of their surroundings will come into use.

  • Key Trends in the Future of Education

    Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., and Ludgate, H. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

    The NMC Horizon Report identifies the key trends that will shape higher education in the future.

    • Openness —open resources, transparency and easy access to data and information — will become a value.
    • MOOCs will be widely explored as alternatives and supplements to traditional university courses.
    • The workforce will increasingly demand skills from graduates that are more often acquired from informal learning experiences than in universities.
    • New sources of data will be used for personalizing the learning experience and for performance measurement.
    • The role of educators will continue to change due to the vast resources that are accessible to students via the Internet.
    • Education paradigms will shift to include online learning, hybrid learning, and collaborative models.
  • The promise and the problems of MOOCs

    Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., and Ludgate, H. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

    MOOCs will continue to grow in number and influence, according to the 2013 Higher Education Edition of The NMC Horizon Report. The promise of continued, advanced learning at zero cost will make MOOCs accepted by students, even universities and employees. Students, life-long learners and professionals will use MOOCs more to acquire new skills and improve their knowledge and employability.

    Advances in classroom and online learning emphasize personalized learning. So MOOCs will try to scale globally and cater to individual learning styles. The most effective MOOCs will make creative use of a variety of educational strategies, such as the Spanish MOOC provider unX that has integrated badges as a way to reward learners for their participation and concept mastery.

    MOOCs have great promise, but current MOOC models still largely mirror traditional lecture formats. They do not include the notions of openness and connectivism. Ways to improve the structure and effectivity of online courses will be studied. Institutions will also find ways to monetize MOOCs. New, innovative and informal ways for learners to demonstrate their knowledge will be invented. MOOCs will need to strike a balance between automating the assessment process while delivering personalized, authentic learning opportunities.

  • Making the American Dream Affordable

    The American Dream 2.0
    HCM Strategists, January 2013

    HCM Strategists’ report The American Dream 2.0 studies the US college graduation scenario and finds the high cost of education is the major reason for the high rate of drop outs. Almost half of all students who enroll in college drop out with any credential within six years, and the primary reason is affordability.

    • 46% of all college students in the US do not graduate.
    • Total annual student borrowing has more than doubled between2002 and 2012, from roughly $56 billion to $113 billion.
    • Two-thirds of seniors graduating from four-year colleges in 2011 had student loan debt. The average debt for the graduate student is $26,600.
    • By 2018, the country will need 22 million more credentials to fill good jobs—but it will fall short of that number by 3 million.
    • Financial aid can help improve college access, affordability and completion.
    • Smarter, more efficient, and more effective financial aid investments are required.


    • Make aid simpler and more transparent;
    • Spur innovations in higher education that can lower costs and meet the needs of today’s students; and
    • Ask institutions, states, and students to share responsibility for producing more graduates without compromising access and affordability.


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