What 2022 Brings For Higher Education And Indian Publishing
Nitasha Devasar, Managing Director, Taylor & Francis India, Vice President & Commercial Lead, India, South Asia & Africa, shares her views on the upcoming trends in higher education and Indian publishing.
When I was asked to write this piece on innovations in Higher Education in 2021, sadly, my first, involuntary, thought was, what innovation? Giving myself a mental shake, I started again and the usual overload from social media and the net spilled over, led by technology and its seductive and insidious penetration into all that we do and don’t. There is no doubt that much has happened across e-learning platforms and content, AI driven adaptive learning, immersive learning, gamification and much more. This will grow and continue to impact how we interact with learning and knowledge at both bespoke individual and scaled institutional levels.
The past two pandemic-infused years have, it is said, brought basics to the fore: value and purpose, outcomes and scalability, individual accountability and social sustainability, geography and economics. While technology will continue its march in education and by extension in Indian publishing, it is these basics that will define where we will take it, what we prioritise and how we put it to use. For me, these basics form the foremost trends of the times:
- Anytime and anywhere education is here to stay and brings with it the requirement of bespoke and tailored content.
- So is, continuous learning, the constant need for reskilling, upskilling and the enabling digital fluency that will support employability and entrepreneurship.
- The currency of learning is about Services as it once was about Products. And services are about value, experiences and outcomes for their consumers, be they students, researchers or professionals. This is a call to arms for those providing learning services: governments, corporates, tech companies or private institutions and trusts.
- Access has always been a factor in education in India but now it means more than prices and costs. Formats, languages, choices, digital literacy, and physical availability will all drive innovations in education in 2022. Both inclusion and equity will matter.
- Finally, because education is increasingly, bespoke, continual, experiential and access is core to making it so, learning and teaching models and cultures will be reshaped and revamped if their institutional structures are to survive. This is an opportunity that is already bringing in private and corporate players and entrepreneurs into the sector.
However, because we are talking about the Indian environment, proudly complex, notoriously opaque and largely government funded (though the latter has seen some change), we will still need to keep in mind some constants:
- Blended learning like balanced work, will enable or elude based on geography & economics.
- Physical and digital piracy fuelled by gaps in awareness and lax enforcement will sadly continue to impact quality and sustainability of both publishing and higher education.
- Quantity still trumps: Quality in choices of educational resources (and research). Hopefully, however, with individual employability and institutional ranking increasingly at stake, this trend will begin to fade, at least in pockets in the year(s) to come.
- The Indian spirit of finding creative solutions and prevailing against odds will sustain, tempered by Generation Z’s social consciousness and proactive approach. But for this our educational institutions must be open and functional.
All said, I enter 2022 with caution and confidence in equal measure.The insights gained and hard lessons learnt will, hopefully, help our higher education institutions and the key players and participants, look forward to face the perils, and grasp the possibilities for our collective, sustainable future.
LGF supports girls education
Learners Girls’ Foundation (LGF) started in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic in 2020 due to the closure of schools and the girls finding it difficult to access the various e-learning platforms introduced by the government and Ghana Education Service. The organization has however been able to secure funding form African Publishing Innovation Fund (APIF), an initiative of the International Publishers Association sponsored by Dubai Cares and have successfully partnered with other organizations to help provide a proportion of reading books and mentorship to children especially girls from deprived families and communities.
Since 2020, they have created a network of 40 permanent volunteers in northern Ghana, most of whom engage students in learning, and the creation of their first library project in Kassena Nankana West District (KNW).
Since 2020, they have delivered an estimated 1,000 books (many brand-new books, thanks to Madam AkossOfori Mensah (managing director, sub-saharan publishers; member of the council of management of African Books collective, Oxford, UK) and CCEYD (Centre for Communities’ Education and Youth Development) and they look forward to delivering more books in 2022 (many brands new, thanks to Book Aid International, and local textbooks and Adventure series and phonics series etc.). They currently work in the Kassena Nankana West District, Paga in Ghana, where three schools benefit from their education programs and resources.