Digital is the core of the publishing enterprise

Post-pandemic, it’s time to harness this disruptive tool–Sanjiv Goswami

The COVID-19 pandemic heralded digital technology-based hybrid learning at every level of teaching and learning. This presents an opportunity for publishers and education technology (Edtech) companies to collaborate and develop the best products and solutions for an ever-evolving higher education sector.

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This has been one of the biggest disruptions in the education sector. It brought to a sudden halt the process of physical learning from a teacher in a traditional classroom/institutional setting, among other things. Words such as online and e-learning became common terminology, used even by toddlers. Practically overnight, the use of digital technology and media became imperative in the new home-based learning mode.

Then came the announcement of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. It could not have been timed better. The stage was now ready for innovation and digital transformation of education. This also opens doors for core elements of creative thinking and a multi-disciplinary approach in higher education.

Sanjiv Goswami is a business consultant representing Sanjiv Goswami and Associates. A veteran publishing professional with nearly 40 years of experience, he was formerly the Managing Director of Springer Nature India which he led for 23 years. He has been the President of Centre for Educational Growth and Research (CEGR) during 2020 and is former President of Association of Publishers in India; Sanjiv also worked in senior positions at Oxford University Press India and McGraw-Hill India.

Higher education in India

There has been tremendous growth in higher education in India. There are now over 1000 universities in various disciplines across the country – a remarkable increase over the years. The NEP provides the platform for each university/institute to re-imagine and innovate education in their respective domain. The opportunities are vast – innovations and curriculum development, hybrid learning and teaching methods, communication skills, soft and social skills, as well as developing entrepreneurial acumen. The institutes can now also expand their reach and set up collaborations with peers within the country as well as abroad.

The speed at which things have changed and evolved in higher education makes it equally important to ensure the support of able faculty. The need of the hour is that lead institutions assume the responsibility of training faculty on all the new development areas on an ongoing basis to ensure that higher education, as a whole, benefits from the competitive developments that we are witnessing. Science Technology Innovation Policy (draft) and Technology Vision 2035 is reshaping the academic and research landscape in the country and gaining momentum for the future developments and vision.

Empowering teaching community

The teaching community perhaps needs to evolve into a superior role of coach in the fast-paced hybrid learning. Emerging disciplines and technologies, including virtual reality and augmented reality, need a focused approach towards upscaling initiatives. Quality and relevance of higher education programmes of our education system is a concern often voiced by the industry at various forums. Collaborations between the research labs of industries and corporations along with academic research activity has the potential to bridge the employability gap.

SDG in education

In the international year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development 2022, it is imperative that higher education institutions adopt the Sustainable Development Growth (SDG) in the relevant areas. The United Nations’ 17 SDG programmes outlining the global challenges humankind faces needs to find solutions for a sustainable future. The NEP recognises and adapts the SDGs in the policy document recommendations. Those institutes working on advanced scientific research areas will have to find solutions to solve the SDG and environmental challenges that the world faces today. Integrating SDGs in basic science learning, especially at the undergraduate level, will provide human resources with a scientific temperament to support the country’s research objectives.

Immense opportunities for publishing community

The publishing industry so accustomed to the pre-pandemic educational needs will have to take note of all these factors and re-engineer its modus operandi in a manner that Digital becomes the core of the enterprise to create and disseminate content suitable for use at the transformed higher education platform. Publishers and authors need to thoughtfully intertwine digital technology with the teaching and learning material and develop a holistic product mix to serve the learning needs in a transformed environment of education. There is an opportunity lurking around the corner for publishers and EdTech companies to collaborate and develop the best products and solutions for the new and evolving higher education sector. Industry 4.0, Education 4.0, Digital India…All doors are open for the experienced publishing industry to grab the opportunity.

 

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