The Indian education sector has had a more traditional tilt when it comes to imparting academic courses that are not based on the application of skills and market-relevant knowledge. Today’s education industry is at a crossroads. As a result, the Indian professors need to have a refreshed academic outlook towards teaching.

A study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value in cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit, surveyed 289 education leaders across five major roles —academic leadership, senior educator, corporate recruiter, corporate learning executive, and educational innovator. The research talks about the state of higher education globally and how start-ups and skill needs are affecting higher education in India. Indian executives’ responses indicate the higher education sector falls short in meeting the needs of students (52%), industry (37%) and the society (35%), the survey said. By 2020, India will become the youngest nation in the world with only 64% of the population employable. Given this, it broadly hints that Indian academia is a little ill-equipped to address the learning needs of this huge young workforce.

Against this backdrop, reskilling and upskilling has become crucial for the professors. In order to constantly evolve, academic faculty could also make use of various subject related or interdisciplinary courses available on MOOC platforms.

To get started on the journey, it’s important that professors are ready to invest their resources into developing their management and leadership skills. Professors need to understand and accommodate learner's academic preferences and have a hands-on methodology with the material – considering that millennials are more digitally-driven and consume information through apps, blogs, social media, and gamification. Thus, that makes technology adoption for faculty a must.

As far as technology goes, emerging tools and approaches open new opportunities for professors to gather more frequent and more authentic formative assessment data. This, in turn, can help students learn the course material and can help professors to tailor their instruction to meet the needs of their students. If delivering a lecture through presentations or online classrooms, can enhance the student's experience or eliminate physical barriers, then professors can no longer turn a blind eye towards it.

Another way of progressing to the next level in their career is by building a strong academic network. That said, professors should not undermine the value that collaborative research can bring to their skill development. Earlier research was done in silos and involved years. Now research is more about collaboration and making the use of skills and merits of the partnership.

Engaging in upskilling requires a forward-thinking attitude and a desire to grow and learn. Academic faculty should be committed to continual learning, to keep themselves relevant and up-to-date. Developing new skills may add to their work, but in the longer run, it also brings greater job satisfaction and better rewards.

The writer is Kalpesh Banker, managing partner of EduShine Advisory Group 



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