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Disruptive change in the education paradigm

Here’s an insightful piece on how education will change in the new normal


In the shadow of COVID 19 pandemic that has impacted our world far and beyond, it is imperative we develop a stronger and deeper framework for integrated higher education. This needs a strong commitment, a deep understanding to help drive social, cultural and educational developmental goals.   

More than 1.5 billion students from at least 200 nations are moving to online learning. What does this look like? In my opinion, blended learning is the now and the future of education. Pedagogy of international education is slowly shifting to blended mode of content and resequencing of curriculum is the need of the hour. The focus needs to be on flexibility, price, excellence, geographic dispersion, equity and access. 

Students at the Deakin University campus

Redefining international education  

It is indeed a time to redefine the role of the educator and the learner, and unlock technology to deliver solutions for the new world.  

International education supporting innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and resilience at its core will set students apart with a distinctive advantage. Thus, a holistic student experience that is highly personalised inclusive with seamless integration of online and on-campus, delivery and support will be the most important ingredient. Integrated career thinking and employability skills co-designed with employers will help make successful careers.  

Both technological and human factors will blend even more to create a solution. Innovation and transition for both the teacher and learner from a complete face-to-face to a blended version of self-learning, online learning and face-to-face will emerge more strongly across the world stage. To ensure success, students will need to be adaptive. There is a transition and a steep learning curve for both tutor and learner.  Innovative pedagogy will have to be adopted and a lot of self-regulation will be an important parameter for success.  

Adapting to the new normal   

Significant efforts to redesign curriculum and structure to adapt to the new blended learning environment will be essential. Subsidies in purchasing hardware, subsidized high speed data for institutions and students, e-learning centers and augmented reality theatres where students can have an immersive experience of learning what can’t be taught on a blackboard, tinker labs for all ages are likely to become the new normal. 

At Deakin University, we are committed to leading in delivering outstanding digital capabilities, blending it seamlessly with physical campus activities to open up new possibilities in education research and innovation. Education and employability is the focus to ensure the future generation is ready to face the challenges. Deakin University, with an existing online teaching capability, was one of the first universities in Australia to swiftly transfer to a completely –virtual teaching and learning environment, carving a niche for itself and is now successfully structuring a pedagogy of blended learning for its 68,000 plus students addressing the need of the hour.  

To upskill is the key  

Educators need to emphasize on integrating professional training with that of conventional curriculum as most new jobs will require higher skill levels. Reskilling and upskilling in this evolving world are not only a necessity but have definitely now become an economic imperative. Due to automation, economic instability and emerging skills capabilities, online professional training and development with ‘earn and learn’ features will be more attractive.  

Certification not just for academic courses (degree) but is also essential for life skills and leadership qualities – Micro credentials is the future. Students must invest in building skills to ensure they are competitive for jobs of the future. 

Employment trends post-COVID-19 

Statistics from many research outcomes have indicated that post-COVID, the job market will have new requirements and there will be an increased demand for competencies in cybersecurity, Java language skills, digital marketing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality, Internet of Things, and data warehousing. Being multi-skilled and having elements of proficiency in soft skills, business acumen and analytics will provide the competitive edge. Employment is expected to increase in financial sectors, shared services, fintech business, e-commerce or online business.  

We live in a world where norms are constantly evolving, and this pandemic has made us think differently necessitating a shift in perspective. In the education world knowledge blended with skills will be the way to go towards making our students more employable, globally.   

Education delivered in real time, when you want and where you want, that supports students to achieve their aspirations through exploration of ideas that challenge and advance knowledge and skills through innovation ensuring progress is the now and future. 

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Ravneet Pawha
(Deakin University)

Ravneet Pawha is currently the Deputy Vice President – Global and CEO (South Asia) of Deakin University Australia. With over 27 years of experience in the international education sector, Ravneet has been instrumental in establishing global collaborations and strategic partnerships for Deakin University in India.


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