For universities, B-schools and engineering colleges, to remain relevant in the next decade, it is important that they embrace the digital transformation, says Dr Ramakrishnan Raman
When we hear the word ‘industry’, many of us may think of factories or tall smokestacks or swanky offices with computers or even the shop floor of manufacturing plants! Even as technology grows in leaps and bounds, and Industry 4.0 is having its impact in the way industries operate, the picture of ‘industry’ remains more or less the same in our mind.
For universities, B Schools, and engineering colleges, to remain relevant in the next decade, it is important that they embrace the digital transformation. Moreover, they will also need to accept everything that this transformation has to offer and instil education, knowledge, and skill set which can create a workforce which his ready to take on the challenges that the industry throws at them. The changes in the curriculum must be made by focusing on the digital transformation trends driving industry 4.0. This will help the graduating students to not just be industry ready, but also industry-leading — which can be of immense value to the society at large.
There is a necessity to revamp systems, processes, and also the curriculum. Students must be provided with opportunities to choose electives across disciplines and must also have access to content on demand. Universities must focus on experiential learning, and the cramming capacity of a student must not be tested at least at the post-graduation level. Educators must use Bloom’s taxonomy — which is used to classify educational learning objectives into levels of complexity and specificity. The three lists cover the learning objectives in cognitive, affective, and sensory domains. The cognitive domain list has been the primary focus of most traditional education and is frequently used to structure curriculum learning objectives, assessments, and activities. In the original version of the taxonomy, the cognitive domain is broken into six levels of objectives, and in the revised version of Bloom’s taxonomy, the levels are slightly different — remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate, and create. Even today, many BSchools curriculum focuses on remember and understand, only a few Indian BSchools have revamped their curriculum to focus on the apply, analyse and evaluate levels.
BSchools are preparing managers who have to face problems that are difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognise. The complexity of problems is not only on the rise but also are constantly evolving. Tomorrow’s managers can’t solve future problems with yesterday’s thinking, obsolete knowledge and skills sets. Hence the curriculum must have subjects which can help them adapt and remain lifelong learners. It must help them become innovative, be strong to face failures and move on. It must also equip them to build a better society to live. They must be trained to remain creative so that they can apply their learning and have the ability to create solutions for the unknown problems of the future.
Some private and deemed universities and their constituent B Schools have revamped their curriculum to meet the future needs and have brought changes which are futuristic and path-breaking. Some of them are still running the rat race with no clue about the changing requirements and challenges. Institutes who consistently ride in this wave of change to innovate and update the curriculum will remain relevant and for others, time will make them defunct.
The writer is Director, Symbiosis Institute of Business, Management, Pune