New Age Education Trends

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When my niece told me she was interested to do a course in Liberal Arts for her graduation, I actually looked up the course to understand it better. Soon I found that apart from this there are a whole lot of new age courses like Spa Management, Rural Studies, Cyber security, Puppetry, Tea/coffee tasting, Public Health Entomology, Habitat Policy and Practice, Wine Taster, Ethical Hacking and Photonics. Education options in India are changing and this is happening to ensure that students have a choice that matches new age businesses.

Do the New

Today, there is greater awareness and acceptance to move out of the regular norm of taking up regular courses or studies. People are appreciating newer courses that are aimed at skilling and pruning one towards a career. With the premise of ‘skilling to make a career’, O2 Skills is an initiative of O2 Spa (Asia’s largest day spa chain and India’s first organized day spa chain) that is primarily conceptualized to help meet the shortage of quality and skilled manpower in the spa and hospitality industry. “O2 Skills was started in 2013 and is today one of the largest skill development center in Asia by virtue of having trained over 3000 students and has thus far maintained a 100% record of job placements. The role of O2 Skills is to ensure Training, Certification and finally Placement into apt jobs,” says Swetha Arikatla, Director, O2 Skills. Likewise, Sports Business Management is a new course in sports and management. As Indian sports industry begins to grow at a faster pace, sports business management courses become essential.  In a fast paced world with constantly changing dynamics and emerging challenges in the work sphere, advancements in robotics and maturing of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been brought recently. “Lifestyle, jobs and skill requirements are also evolving, which necessitated the rise of niche courses such as lifestyle management and work life balance. Also new age courses are becoming increasingly targeted and skill based rather than being knowledge based. Courses like coding, analytics and IoT are the current flavor. These courses helps us deal with the stress and work pressures and also deliver specific skill sets required for doing jobs which are unlikely to be taken over by robotics and AI,” says Monica Malhotra Kandhari, MD, MBD group.

Popular by Choice

The younger generation today has become daring and experimental when it comes to their future. Aditya Malik, MD & CEO, Talentedge explains, “the look-out is for leaps in short term and 4-6 month specialized course interacting with a good faculty is the need of the hour. Professionals are looking for convenience for sure and they are also demanding on the quality being offered. With partnerships with leading institutes of the country and lectures by top minds in the country quality is rest assured. Students are recommending these courses to their friends as they taste success at their jobs.” The executive courses bringing in industry relevant certificates are providing the specialized skill required to excel in job at hand or to get your next promotion or that career change. Sharan Parikh, Director, Pyramid Sports, a sports management company says, “Indian students want to try different fields and not just the regular mainstream courses. Such courses also help students decide on a different career path, since they offer more interactive information, with real life illustrations and experiences, allowing the student community to embrace this better. These courses also allow the students to network with the right demographic / community.” 99yrs Network is E commerce consulting and service provider and have launched “E commerce Business Training “course. The entire e-commerce operations can be divided into three part first Catalogue management which is content and listing, Second Order fulfilment which includes warehousing, Dispatch, Return and Inventory management and third is market place promotion, which includes campaigns on portal and  Digital marketing,” says Vivek Paliwal, Founder & CEO, 99yrs Network Pvt Ltd.

Being Practical

Today, the emphasis has shifted largely towards practicality as compared to theoretical lessons. For instance, O2 Skills follows a 70:30 ratio of Practical:Theory. Most of these educational programs are vocational in nature, in that, they are addressing the immediate needs of the sector. But with a significant surge, these vocational programs may become a mainstream educational field. “We have seen this happen each time there is a rise of a particular industry. The rising importance of internet lead to specializations of Internet based study programs such as web development, multimedia design, and internet marketing. In the last decade, the BPO industry gave birth to many backend management careers. Call centres, financial service companies, insurance marketing, and other such gave rise to educational centres that specialize in voice and accent training, call management, financial services marketing and management, and technical courses on coding, programming, or systems management,” says Vibha Kagzi, Founder, Reachivy.com, a study abroad and career advisory.

Teaching Methodologies

Text book teaching and Text book knowledge is a thing of the past now. More colleges are now looking at mandatory practicals as part of course or exposure trips/ exchange programmes that will aid learning for the students. Focus has shifted from what happens inside the classroom to outside. We are slowly accepting and implementing the fact that learning is 360 degree and not just confined to the classroom.  The Government of India’s vision of Digital India Campaign has enabled schools and universities to bring certain changes in the education system. Open education resources or OERs and massive open online courses or MOOCs are redefining how educational institutions should function. Online learning has brought in a greater cohesive learning ability for the teacher and student alike. Blended learning is fast gaining ground. “This teaching model is different from the traditional teaching model as it innovatively blends online and offline teaching and learning. Multimedia and animations, simulation and augmented reality tools will change how education is imparted. With the help of sophisticated technology, teachers can replace one-dimensional learning from books with concepts that are multi-dimensional,” adds Vibha. With so many changes happening, the Indian Education system is looking up which is great news for students and institutions alike.

This story appeared in Spice Route magazine’s Jan 2018 issue here: Education

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